photo & text by nacrowe
i should start by saying there are a whole slew of great CURE albums. THE HEAD ON THE DOOR (FICTION, 1985), JAPANESE WHISPERS (FICTION, 1983), PORNOGRAPHY (FICTION, 1982), WISH (FICTION, 1992), THE TOP (FICTION, 1984) KISS ME KISS ME KISS ME (FICTION, 1987) all come immediately to mind. im confident that if you talk to five different CURE fans you will be met with five different favorite albums.
of course for most fans that learned about them after the fact (like me), DISINTEGRATION (FICTION, 1989) is the obvious entry point with many crowdpleasers like "FASCINATION STREET," "LULLABY," "PLAINSONG," "PICTURES OF YOU," and "LOVE SONG." growing up an indoctrinated SMITHS fan from birth, my introduction to THE CURE was surprisingly late. i discovered them in earnest in late high school at the same time i got into other similar bands like LOVE AND ROCKETS. which in a sense makes sense as both ROBERT SMITH (THE CURE) and DANIEL ASH (BAUHAUS, LOVE AND ROCKETS, TONES ON TAIL) have a similar expressionistic approach to their guitar playing which is less about technique and more about layering and emotive use of delays and chorus effects. to that extent SMITH Is the poster child for a certain type of POST PUNK sound that directly influenced other great players like TRENT REZNOR (NINE INCH NAILS) and DAVE NAVARRO (JANE'S ADDICTION) who likewise searched out unorthodox delicate soundscapes as much as classic riffs a la JIMMY PAGE (LED ZEPPELIN).
aside from being renowned for his guitar-playing, for me what makes THE CURE special and especially the DISINTEGRATION album in particular is the alchemy of his voice and lyrics within that unique emotive sonic bed. THE CURE offer a world into themselves. it is almost cinematic. i remember being a teenager away from family living with a relative in CALIFORNIA and DISINTEGRATION was like a cloak i could wear to separate me from the outside world. there is a real sense of interiority with this album and it really got me through me tough times. i remember seeing THE CURE play at their namesake CURIOSA FESTIVAL in 2004 at RANDALL's ISLAND and it being an odd experience. namely the idea of being in a group event for a band that had such a commanding hold over my emotional inner dialogue was a little unnerving and uncomfortable if that makes any sense. havent had that experience before or since but seems a testament to the power of the band and the unique songwriting abilities of ROBERT SMITH.
special album by a very special band that is dear to my heart. well worth rediscovering.