Blowing past individual song styles and titles I'm going to concentrate on a simple concept; that being, living up to your capabilities.
In the reviews I read a couple people felt "they could do better" and that the "album lacks cohesion" and I agree to both statements although I like the outcome vastly more than these other reviewers.
Here's why; the album is fun to listen to and although the word cohesive means a lot of things to different people, let's use it as this - cohesion means having a core theme or elements to the music. And while I think both can be good, I don't particularly care that the album "The Cure" is all over the place. In fact, that's part of the reason I like the CD, because it is all over the place, and if anything, is a step towards "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me" as opposed to "Disintegration", which was so thematically cohesive and made a statement as to what music essentially would be for a large segment of the rock scene to this day.
But "Disintegration", much as I like it, also brought about the 77 minute album that starts to be same sounding at 30 minutes. Honestly, but for format, I think the album could have been trimmed and still been absolutely fine.
Which was why I brought up Kiss Me. It gets a lot of "lacking coherence" comments and yet, it was the album that got me interested in the Cure again, so for me, bring on the new stuff.
I mentioned both as they were back to back releases and, I think, typical of how Robert Smith and Co operate. The last release I could tolerate was Bloodflowers, and only because I liked the ideas the Cure tried for. If anything was learnt, it was you can't rewrite a masterpiece, though the video of the album trio Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers shows there is more than a little planning and thematic disposition between the three albums, all written about a decade apart.
I heard "The Cure" and my first thought was, must be a film song, then I heard more, and I heard something I haven't heard for a long, long time; chances being taken and risks being made.
For me this instantly put "The Cure" as one of their better efforts. Instead of trying to meld their music together with whatever goes for popular music, see "Wild Mood Swings" they've created an album that sounds at times bold, at times traditionally weary and unconventionally weary. There is a lot of a stiff middle finger to critics and a "this is what we like" feel to the album that I find it infectious even though, to my embarrassment, I throw the tracks on a mp3 player and listen to it along with modern bands, some that sound a little too much like this new album than I find comfortable.
One might ask, what came first, the Cure or the hordes of bands that borrow heavily from their book of music? I'm not sure I care, but I'll say this; as a Cure fan, I'm so happy to hear them play with some kind of intensity, real intensity, not the faux, pouted lip, sneering that goes for intensity in most bands today. In a sense, music is now officially for a good number of people, a visual medium.
So to hear the Cure having some intensity and trying new ideas, and succeeding, is a true pleasure. Where before, they sounded like tourists in other musical landscapes, the Cure sound at home, even if occasionally the music is a bit like the real band doing a tribute gig, they seem to be enjoying themselves which comes through loud and clear on "The Cure" and is why I strongly recommend it.
Past fans, have a listen, you may find yourself remembering what it was that made you like the Cure, and rabid fans, give this album a chance.
So many Cure fans seem set on how the band should be and how they should make music. Sorry, but that's all you can do, suggest, and perhaps the band listened to fans a bit too much. I know the album was not greated in a mannor it deserves.
Lots of people will be rewriting their thoughts about this album. I'm saying right now, this is one of the better albums the Cure has done in a long time and fits well as the successor album to Disintegration in terms of musical progression and coming to terms with who the Cure are.