on 31 August 2000
In May this year I worked out that I must now have listened to this album over 10,000 times since I first heard it in 1989. And yet the gently persistent windchimes that introduce this album still make my hair stand on end and as they crash into the wall of sound that is Plainsong, I feel the same thrill I did the first time around. Here at last was the piece of music I'd been waiting for! Plainsong manages to be both huge and overwhelming, whilst having the effect of that one person whispering in your ear while you sleep. This deeply personal and emotional album progresses through Pictures of You - the simplest of patterns but sooo effective, Love Song - a wedding present between bride and groom, and the relief and regret of Last Dance. Lighter moments such as Lullaby and Fascination Street lift the mood without breaking the atmosphere, before falling into the dreamlike Prayers for Rain and Same Deep Water as You.
This work demonstrates an intelligence and sincerity rarely found in most commercial releases, and the layered, almost orchestral sound holds your attention ceaselessly. A classical influence can be heard although The Cure's trademark and individual 'sound' is present throughout. The structures and patterns within the songs are never too little or too much, but sound completely natural and 'right'. I have found that the more I Iisten to this album the more things I hear, and if I could only listen to one CD for the rest of my life it would be this one!
on 2 July 2002
This album was described by a character on anarchic cartoon show South Park as being "the greatest album ever made". Well I happen to think that The Cure's Wish and Bloodflowers are equally as good, so that must mean this is one of the three greatest albums ever made.
The sleeve of this album tells you to "Play This Music Loud" and it's recommended, if only for the shock you get when the windchimes of opening track Plainsong fade and the song kicks in proper !
Despite The Cure's reputation, there are no "heavy" rock songs on here (apart from one song mentioned later), so the shock of Plainsong's introduction is based on it's power rather than the volume of the instruments.
The song is driven heavily by a synth section, which includes the main riff and a "bass" synth part played by bassist Simon Gallup (there is no bass guitar on this song). Like almost every song on Disintegration, Plainsong plays once through the whole of the main section and plays once through the whole of the "change" before going back to the main part where the lyrics begin. This is an excellent opportunity to hear The Cure in an instrumental fashion, and it's testament to the quality of all of the songs present that it's actually really really enjoyable to listen to the songs playing for a good 3 minutes before a single word leaves Robert Smith's mouth.
Pictures Of You is the first of 4 really long songs coming in at 7:27. This, like several of the songs, takes several minutes to build up, with additional guitar or keyboard parts coming in at the end of every few bars until finally going back to the start again. Again as stated, this is enjoyable and actually very trance like. The nice thing about this song is that the bassline changes completely into something else when the vocals begin, while managing to stay in the same key. A nice trick, made all the nicer as it changes again for the end section of the song.
Closedown sees a return to the thunderous tom-tom style of drumming that covers the earlier Pornography album, although this song is all grown up and mature - a far cry from the substance-fuelled psychoticness of Pornography.
Lovesong (a No. 2 hit in the US and most played song on US radio in 1989) and following song Last Dance keep up a feel of maturity, covering the same topic of relationships as the opening two songs. Lovesong has a bit of an "adult rock" feel to it, although the irony is that it actually blows away all that sort of stuff !!! Last Dance for all of it's mature lyrical content has a very gothic feel to it, with it's spooky keyboard line and moody guitar effects.
Lullaby up's the goth quota immensely ! A weird accoustic guitar riff, spiky plucked violins and scary keyboards, topped with haunted-house lyrics about a spider ! Don't play this to your 6 year old before putting him/her to bed ! On second thoughts do, your kid may grow up as weird as their Cure loving parents !!
Fascination Street is the one rock song on here, again very much in the goth style although without the bats and blood nonsense that 99% of goth bands waffle on about. The bassline is the greatest in the world and that's all I need to say.
Prayers For Rain and The Same Deep Water As You go back to Closedown and Last Dance territory all having the same guitar and keyboard sounds. If you're not used to The Cure it might not sound very good to hear that the same sounds are being used throughout an album. With The Cure, and this album in particular, it is very important that a certain mood and theme is achieved and the best way to do this is by having a particular sound running throughout. Believe me it works and sounds great. Each song is so different from the last in terms of structure and what each song actually does but the similar sounds keeps your emotive state at the same level, so that by the end of the album you can truly state that you have just had an awesome listening experience over the last hour.
Title track Disintegration is the fastest song on the album and is placed perfectly towards the end of the album, helping to build toward a nice crescendo. "Looping" the same part throughout songs is the order of the day on this album (I don't mean electronic or sequenced "looping") and Disintegration's repeating phrase is a nagging bass guitar line which commands the whole of the song. Again, moving keyboards come in at key moments building the emotion, the subject matter of this song being about leaving your partner (what lovely topics he chooses!!)
Homesick sees a piano and guitar playing in tandem, often crossing over into the same notes making them almost sound as one. This keeps up the same mood of the album, but it's actually got quite a late-night piano-bar feel to it, the piano and Smith's voice getting quite funky at moments, almost threatening to break out of the confines of the album.
Finally Homesick sees a bit of a happy ending for the album, at least in terms of the music - as the lyrics stick to the same gloomy territory (which is a good thing). A nice accordion plays on this track and there's some quite jangly guitar on there. Even the way the gloomy lyrics are sung is quite happy. It leaves the album feeling complete and goes out on a high note after the trauma of the last hour.
If you are into alternative rock music, this is the absolute essential must have album and is rated as an influence by the majority of alternative music acts.
on 25 November 2000
Looking back at this album ten years on, it is in my opinion the Cure's finest moment. Never again did they scale the hights of beauty and sorrow so masterfully over the course of a whole album. Subsequent albums had their moments (eg. Trust on the Wish album), but none could match the sustained feeling of this masterpiece. From the opening crash of the incredibly breathtaking 'Plainsong' to the final funereal notes of 'Untitled', the only discordant note is the single 'Lullaby' which I tend to skip anyway. This is an album to be listened to right through, dim the lights, open a bottle of wine and succumb to some of the most beautiful melodies ever recorded by a 'pop' band. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.
on 22 February 2012
Disintegration rightfully takes its place as one of the very finest albums ever made. Robert Smith has poured his heart and deepest thoughts into this classic disc and it shows. The dreamy, trippy chiming intro to "Plainsong" has been many an opener for a Cure concert and unfolds in a glorious, sweeping epic track (albeit with very few lyrics) which sets that seal for an immortal album. The charming "Lovesong", a dedication to Robert's wife, shows where his heart is, and is accompanied by paranoic nightmarish visions about spiders, paralysis and coldness in the catchy but creepy "Lullaby". The beautiful but tragic "The Same Deep Water As You" shows a majestic poetry that few artists can match.
This album really needs no vast wordage. The proof of the album is in the listening. Even if you aren't a Cure fan, this is a very interestingly dark, deep work with haunting, despairing and also uplifting themes running wild in its content. To anyone who honestly hasn't heard this before, take some time out and listen to this one deeply with no distractions. It shows just how brilliant The Cure really are. Is it worth it? Every single penny.
on 1 August 2004
Disintegration is by far the best Cure album. The first three songs, Plainsong, Pictures Of You and Closedown, are so emotional I can't listen to them without crying. Lovesong is a really gorgeous song written by Robert Smith as a wedding present for his wife. Last Dance is very mysterious, as is Lullaby. Fascination Street is one of the darker songs on the album, and Prayers For Rain and The Same Deep Water As You both have a sort of quiet and subtle desperation, whereas Disintegration is a much more obvious, tearing desperation. Homesick and Untitled are quite gentle songs that round off the album perfectly. If you are a Cure fan and you don't have this, what are you doing without it?! I'd recommend it to any Cure fan.
on 27 February 2011
Rated as one of the best albums ever by the kids from Southpark!
dark and moody, one album that has stood the test of time.
the remastering has moved it up a notch to an all time classic.
on 16 June 2010
Ok so if you're into the Cure, you were always going to add this to the collection. However I have found other groups are keen to fleece the fans by making one or two subtle changes to material you already have umpteen times, and stung you for plenty of money in the process. Not so with the Cure, this stands up along side the previous Deluxe Releases, and at the price I paid via Amazon, represents even better value than ever before.
The Album and Entreat are of course familiar to most of us, but the real treat for me was a little gem hidden amongst the 20 demos and outakes also included here in a 3 disc set (which also has the tastefully done plastic packaging and extended sleeve notes with unseen pics).
The gem I refer to is titled Pirate Ships, a solo effort by Lancashire's finest, Mr.R.Smith.
The track simply blew me away, had it made the album and a single I'm sure it would have been another classic. I played it to the wife, who despite not seeing them since the 80's, still likes to listen to them, and she was in full agreement - The best unheard Cure track we've certainly come across. Buy it while you can, there is something for everyone on these three discs. Enjoy!!!!
on 2 May 2002
From the first wind-chimed seconds of Plainsong, a sense of intense beauty is established. By the time the first minute is up, Robert Smith and co. will have completely swallowed you up with exquisite organ and skeletal guitar lines. Quite how an album of such beauty could have been created from such devastatingly sad lyrics will always remain a mystery, but it is definitely to the listeners benefit. The best songs are the afore-mentioned opener, the mesmerising Closedown, and the desperate ode to lost love The Same Deep Water As You. Should you decide to buy this album it may well become a much relied on part of your life. It is an excellent record to listen to in winter, where the atmospherics on record generally suit the atmospherics outside your window. With superb artwork too, this is a near flawless album.
"Disintegration" is long known, and held, by almost everyone as The Cure's absolute apex. Pure, perhaps, and the most focused, successful achievement they made. In 1989, when this record was released, I was a mere slip of 15. And therefore, the first Cure song I was ever conscious of hearing was the alien, weird, "Lullaby" : quite unlike anything else I had ever heard.
I was first drawn to movie soundtracks through a love of the alternate world of the flickering screen : the sounds within these made the other world, the better world. I've always been drawn to the cinematic in music - music with drama, power, and a sweeping vision (lyrically or musically) that expands boundaries : and "Disintegration" is a soundtrack to the most emotionally devasting film never made.
It may only be a record, a collection of sounds, but these songs were gateways to a different world. For me, the album always worked as a mood-enhancer ; a musical E - if you were happy, it enhanced the mood. If you were depressed, down, or feeling the dusk of reality, this record gave me a sense of optimism. Yes, it was and is, a consistently maudlin collection of music. But it was, in a way, a lifesaver. Many a morning and afternoon were spent lost in this record. Sunny afternoons as a teenager were spent on the white bedspread, windows opening, letting a world that wasn't my world pass away.
Now, 21 years after it's release, "Disintegration" is the best record The Cure ever made - and ever will. In fact, it's certainly in the top two or three albums ever made by anyone, anywhere, anytime. From the opening, huge "Plainsong" - lavished in strings from Roger O'Donnell and a delicate, measured percussion from Boris Williams - to the final, repetitive, and exhausted "Untitled", the record is a vast journey through the many different colours of a reality that often falls short of our ideals.
On the lavish three disc set, the album lives and breathes again : the remastering is sympathetic, vibrant, and warm. The music was meant to be played loud - and it works best as an immersive experience. Swimming in music, not drowning.
The second disc, as with all previous Cure reissues, is a selection of home and band demos, alternate mixes and variants, and some undeservedly unreleased material from the time - oddities and curios, including the first ever Robert Smith solo recording - a cover of "Pirate Ships" which was intended for the never recorded Smith solo record. The home demos, largely authored by Robert Smith at home, are glimpses of the way the band worked, building on a skeletal idea from a member, alongside alternate mixes and arrangements, rehearsals and unreleased material : all of these represent every song on the record, and whilst they are clearly works-in-progress, are easily a fascinating, but occasionally testing, glimpse into the bands music making process.
The third disc is sumptious : at this time, The Cure (rightfully) earnt a reputation as one of the finest live acts of all time - and only did so through hard work of intense, long shows delivered with a furious commitment and a mysterious alchemy that meant you were alone even in a crowded football stadium. "Entreat" was the only official record of this tour, and for a long while, was only available at stores in France if you bought two records from the Cure back catalogue, before a limited release a year later. Restored to feature the complete album represented live (Hence the "Plus"), it is a dense, excellent, vibrant presentation of the album made during the band's legendary, and most focused period. At the time it was subject to numerous petitions for it's release - and now, here it is.
Overall, this version of "Disintegration" is the definitive issue. Whilst there is a banquet of material from the period not on this (and available on the "Join The Dots" compilation and the bands website), this release is a comprehensive compendium of The Cure at their creative, and commercial, apex. Not to be missed.
on 14 July 2010
It always grates on me when all a person has to do is see the word "remastered" and they immediately spew out the blind praise that it "sounds amazing". In most cases, that's a very incorrect statement. The two recent Duran Duran reissues are some of the worst I've heard, (and notice the difference between reviews of those CD's on Amazon's UK site compared to here). "Disintegration" is no exception in the world of bad remasters.
On the plus side, the CD had not been brickwalled and compressed to the point that the dynamics are squashed out. However, it's the re-equalizing that's been done that destroyed it for me. The bass has been WAY too enhanced. My headphones were distorting and thumping, and I've never heard these powerful headphone respond this way. "Plainsong" also displays very obvious distortion during the crashing sounds if you view the wave file in a program that displays a spectral view. After I listened to three songs from this lousy "remaster", I sold it on eBay and will stick to the original CD I purchased 21 years ago.
So all of you can praise this release for the supposed improved sound, but as a long time audiophile I can tell you that this CD had not been improved..., unless you consider distorted bass and increased volume an improvement.