Cure - Disintegration
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Notes / Reviews

Disintegration is the eighth studio album by English alternative rock band The Cure, released on 1 May 1989 by Fiction Records. The record marks a return to the introspective and gloomy gothic rock style the band had established in the early 1980s. As he neared the age of thirty, vocalist and guitarist Robert Smith felt an increased pressure to follow up on the group's pop successes with a more enduring work. This, coupled with a distaste for the group's new-found popularity, caused Smith to lapse back into the use of hallucinogenic drugs, the effects of which had a strong influence on the production of the album. The Cure recorded Disintegration at Hook End Manor Studios in Reading, Berkshire, with co-producer David M. Allen in late 1988 through early 1989. During production, founding member Lol Tolhurst was fired from the band.

In spite of record label fears that the album would be "commercial suicide", Disintegration became the band's commercial peak. It charted at number three in the United Kingdom and at number twelve in the United States, and produced several hit singles including "Lovesong", which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Disintegration remains The Cure's highest selling record to date, with over three million copies sold worldwide. Disintegration was also a critical success, being placed at number 326 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic called it the "culmination of all the musical directions the Cure were pursuing over the course of the '80s."


The Cure's second album Seventeen Seconds (1980) established the group as a prominent gothic rock band characterised by what Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described as "slow, gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance". Three singles were released during 1982 and 1983 that were a significant divergence in style for The Cure; essentially, pop hits. "The Lovecats" became The Cure's first single to infiltrate the top-ten in the United Kingdom, peaking at number seven.Apter, 2005. p. 181 This shift is attributed to Smith's frustration over the band's labelling as a predictable gothic rock band: "My reaction to all those people...was to make a demented and calculated song like 'Let's Go to Bed'."Apter, 2005. p. 176 Following the return of guitarist Porl Thompson and bassist Simon Gallup in 1984 and the addition of drummer Boris Williams in 1985, Smith and keyboardist Lol Tolhurst continued to integrate more pop-oriented themes with the release of the group's sixth studio album The Head on the Door (1985). With the singles "In-Between Days" and "Close to Me", The Cure became a viable commercial force in the United States for the first time.Apter, 2005. pp. 213–216

The band's 1987 double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me resulted in further commercial success, with a sold-out world tour booked in its wake. Despite the success, internal friction became prevalent. Tolhurst began to consume heavy amounts of alcohol, rendering him useless.Apter, 2005. pp. 227–229 Roger O'Donnell was hired as a second keyboardist to pick up the slack. O'Donnell quickly realised Tolhurst was essentially dead weight: "I couldn't see why was in the band. He could have afforded to hire a tutor and have daily lessons, but he wasn't interested in practicing. He just liked being in the group." The rest of the band was equally unimpressed. As Tolhurst's alcohol consumption increased, Smith recalled that his behaviour was similar to that of "some kind of handicapped child being constantly poked with a stick". At the end of the Kissing Tour in support of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Smith became uncomfortable with the side effects of being a pop-star and moved to Maida Vale with fiancée Mary Poole. Regularly taking LSD to cope with his depression, Smith once again felt The Cure was being misunderstood and sought to return to the band's dark side with their next record.Apter, 2005. pp. 230–231

Recording and production

Robert Smith's depression prior to the recording of Disintegration gave way to the realisation on his twenty-ninth birthday that he would turn thirty in one year. This realisation was frightening to him, as he felt all the masterpieces in rock and roll had been completed well before the band members reached such an age.Apter, 2005. p. 233 Smith consequently began to write music without the rest of the band. The material he had written instantly took a dismal, depressing form, which he credited to "the fact that I was gonna be thirty". The Cure convened at Boris Williams' home in the summer of 1988 where Smith showed his band-mates the demos he had recorded. Had they not liked the material, he was prepared to record them as a solo album: "I would have been quite happy to have made these songs on my own. If the group hadn't thought it was right, that would have been fine." His band-mates liked the demos and began playing along. The group recorded thirty-two songs at Williams' house with a 16-track recorder by the end of the summer.

When the band entered Hook End Manor Studios in Reading, their attitude had turned sour towards Tolhurst's escalating alcohol abuse, although Smith insisted that his displeasure was caused by a meltdown in the face of recording The Cure's career-defining album and reaching thirty. Displeased with the swollen ego he believed his band mates possessed, Smith entered what he considered to be "one of my non-talking modes" deciding "I would be monk-like and not talk to anyone. It was a bit pretentious really, looking back, but I actually wanted an environment that was slightly unpleasant". He sought to abandon the mood present on Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and the pop singles they had released, and rather recreate the vibes on the band's fourth album Pornography (1982). Suicide was another topic Smith thought about on several occasions.Apter, 2005. pp. 236–238 Shortly before the band started recording Disintegration, two teenagers committed suicide in a nearby town. It was revealed that the pair played The Cure's early albums during the act. Smith kept a newspaper clipping of the incident pinned to the wall in the studio: "I know it's tragic, but at the same time it's grimly funny because it obviously had nothing to do with us. We are just singled out."

Tolhurst, meanwhile, was becoming a nuisance. The band found him impossible to work with, and he spent most of the recording process drunk and watching MTV. The members of the band, save for Smith, would taunt and physically abuse Tolhurst simply to get a reaction. Smith recalls that Tolhurst turned into someone he did not recognise: "I didn't know who he was any more and he didn't know who he was either. I used to despair and scream at the others because it was fucking insane the way we were treating him." At that point, Smith was allowing Tolhurst to remain in The Cure simply because he felt an obligation as an old friend. The other band members, finally, threatened to quit if Tolhurst was not fired before the end of the recording session. When Tolhurst arrived to the mixing of the album excessively drunk, a shouting match ensued and he left the building furious; this effectively terminated his tenure with The Cure. Although Tolhurst claims differently, Smith and the rest of the group confirm he contributed nothing to the record.Apter, 2005. pp. 230–240 Thereafter, O'Donnell became an integral member of The Cure, instead of simply a touring musician.Apter, 2005. pp. 241–244 Despite Tolhurst's ejection from the group, Smith told NME in April 1989, "He'll probably be back by Christmas. He's getting married, maybe that's his comeback."Brown, James. "Ten Years in Lipstick and Powder". NME. 8 April 1989. Tolhurst did not return.


Disintegration was Robert Smith's thematic return to a dark and gloomy aesthetic that The Cure had explored in the early 1980s. Smith deliberately sought to record an album that was depressing, as it was a reflection of the despondency he felt at the time. The sound of the album was a shock to the band's American label Elektra Records; the label requested Smith shift the release date back several months, telling him they believed the record was commercial suicide. Smith recalled "they thought I was being 'wilfully obscure', which was an actual quote from the letter . Ever since then I realised that record companies don't have a fucking clue what The Cure does and what The Cure means."Apter, 2005. p. 244 Despite rumours that Smith was one of the only contributors to the record, he confirmed that more than half of the dozen tracks on Disintegration had substantial musical input from the rest of the band.

Disintegration is epitomised by a significant usage of synthesizers and keyboards, slow, "droning" guitar progressions and Smith's introspective vocals. "Plainsong", the album's opener, "set the mood for Disintegration perfectly," according to journalist Jeff Apter, by "unravelling ever so slowly in a shower of synths and guitars, before Smith steps up to the mic, uttering snatches of lyrics ('I'm so cold') as if he were reading from something as sacred as the Dead Sea Scroll."Apter, 2005. pp. 242–243 Smith felt the song was a perfect opener for the record, describing it as "very lush, very orchestral". The album's third track, "Closedown", contains layers of keyboard texture complemented with a slow, gloomy guitar line. The track was written by Smith as a means to list his physical and artistic shortcomings. Despite the dark mood present throughout Disintegration, "Lovesong" was an upbeat track that became a hit in the United States. Ned Raggett of Allmusic noted the difference from other songs: "the Simon Gallup/ Boris Williams rhythm section create a tight, serviceable dance groove, while Smith and Porl Thompson add further guitar fills and filigrees as well, adding just enough extra bite to the song. Smith himself delivers the lyric softly, with gentle passion."

Much of the album made use of a considerable amount of guitar effects. "Prayers for Rain", a depressing track (Raggett noted: "the phrase 'savage torpor' probably couldn't better be applied anywhere else than to this song") sees Thompson and Smith "treating their work to heavy duty flanging, delay, backwards-run tapes and more to set the slow, moody crawl of the track." Others, like the title track, are notable for "Smith's commanding lead guitar lines scaled to epic heights while at the same time buried in the mix, almost as if they're trying to burst from behind the upfront rhythm assault. Roger O'Donnell's keyboards add both extra shade and melody, while Smith's singing is intentionally delivered in a combination of cutting clarity and low resignation, at times further distorted with extra vocal treatments."

While Disintegration mainly consists of sombre tracks, "Lovesong", "Pictures of You" and "Lullaby" were equally popular for their accessibility. Smith wanted to create a balance on the album by including songs that would act as an equilibrium with those that were unpleasant. Smith wrote "Lovesong" as a wedding present for Mary Poole. The lyrics had a noticeably different mood than the rest of the record, but Smith felt it was an integral component of Disintegration: "It's an open show of emotion. It's not trying to be clever. It's taken me ten years to reach the point where I feel comfortable singing a very straightforward love song."Apter, 2005. pp. 234–235 The lyrics were a notable shift in his ability to reveal affection. In the past, Smith felt it necessary to disguise or mask such a statement. He noted that without "Lovesong", Disintegration would have been radically different: "That one song, I think, makes many people think twice. If that song wasn't on the record, it would be very easy to dismiss the album as having a certain mood. But throwing that one in sort of upsets people a bit because they think, 'That doesn't fit'." "Pictures of You", while upbeat, contained poignant lyrics ("screamed at the make-believe/screamed at the sky/you finally found all your courage to let it all go") with a "two-chord cascade of synthesizer slabs, interweaving guitar and bass lines, passionate singing and romantic lyrics." "Lullaby" is composed of what Apter calls "sharp stabs" of rhythmic guitar chords with Smith whispering the words. The premise for the song came to Smith after remembering lullabies his father would sing him when he could not sleep: " would always make them up. There was always a horrible ending. They would be something like 'sleep now, pretty baby or you won't wake up at all.'"

Release and reception

Disintegration was released in May 1989 and peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart, the highest position the band had placed on the chart at that point. In the UK, the lead single "Lullaby" became The Cure's highest charting hit in their home country when it reached number five. In the US, due to its appearance in the film Lost Angels, the band's American label Elektra Records released "Fascination Street" as the first single.Apter, 2005. p 246 The international follow-up single to "Lullaby", "Lovesong", became The Cure's highest charting hit in the United States, when it reached number two on the Billboard charts. The success of Disintegration was such that the March 1990 final single "Pictures of You" reached number 24 on the British charts, despite the fact that the album had been released a year prior.Apter, 2005. p 249 Disintegration was certified gold (100,000 copies shipped) in the United Kingdom, and by 1992 sold over three million copies worldwide.Collins, Andrew. "The Mansion Family". NME. 18 April 1992.

Rolling Stone gave Disintegration a rating of three and a half stars out of five. Reviewer Michael Azerrad felt that "while Disintegration doesn't break new ground for the band, it successfully refines what the Cure does best". He concluded, "Despite the title, Disintegration hangs together beautifully, creating and sustaining a mood of thoroughly self-absorbed gloom. If, as Smith has hinted, the Cure itself is about to disintegrate, this is a worthy summation." Melody Maker reviewer Chris Roberts dismissed the claims that Disintegration was not a miserable record and, noting the tone of the album and its lack of melody ("You'll be lucky to find a tune on here. Or a gag"), he commented that "The Cure have almost invisibly stopped making pop records". Roberts summarised the album as "challenging and claustrophobic, often poignant, often tedious. It's nearly surprising."Roberts, Chris. Disintegration album review. Melody Maker. 6 May 1989. Music reviewer Robert Christgau gave the album a grade of C+, citing most of his displeasure as a result of Robert Smith's depressing nature: "by pumping his bad faith and bad relationship into depressing moderato play-loud keyb anthems far more tedious than his endless vamps, Robert Smith does actually confront a life contradiction." "As with so many stars," Christgau continued, "even 'private' ones who make a big deal of their 'integrity,' Smith's demon lover is his audience, now somehow swollen well beyond his ability to comprehend, much less control. Hence the huge scale of these gothic cliches." Retrospectively, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the record a four and a half star rating out of five, and applauded the band by saying, "The Cure's gloomy soundscapes have rarely sounded so alluring the songs – from the pulsating, ominous 'Fascination Street' to the eerie, string-laced 'Lullaby' – have rarely been so well-constructed and memorable." Erlewine went on to praise Disintegration for being "darkly seductive", and "a hypnotic, mesmerizing record". Pitchfork Media praised the record, admitting "Disintegration stands unquestionably as Robert Smith's magnum opus." The review noted that "scant few albums released in the 1980s can boast an opener as grand as 'Plainsong', the most breathtaking, shimmering anthem the band ever recorded."

Disintegration has been included in numerous "Best Of" lists. Rolling Stone placed the record at number 326 on its 2003 compilation of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". The magazine's German counterpart placed Disintegration at number 184 on the same list. The album was considered to be the best album of 1989 by Melody Maker, 17th on Q magazine's "40 Best Albums of the 80s","The 40 Best Albums of the 80s." Q. August 2006. and 38th on Pitchfork's "Best Albums of the 80s". The album placed at number 14 in Entertainment Weeklys "New Classics: The 100 Best Albums from 1983 to 2008."

The Prayer Tour and aftermath

PrayerTour89.jpgright225pxthumbRobert Smith performing with The Cure during the 1989 Prayer Tour

Following completion of Disintegration, Smith noted that The Cure had "despite my best efforts, actually become everything that I didn't want us to become: a stadium rock band." Furthermore, Smith claimed the album's title was the most appropriate one he could think of: "Most of the relationship with the band outside of the band fell apart. Calling it Disintegration was kind of tempting fate, and fate retaliated. The family idea of the group really fell apart too after Disintegration. It was the end of a golden period."

The Prayer Tour began in Europe shortly after the release of the album. The band performed numerous high-profile concerts, including shows in front of over 40,000 fans over two nights in Paris, the 1989 Roskilde Festival, and a sold-out show at London's Wembley Arena. Following the European leg, the band elected to arrive in North America for their upcoming US leg by boat, instead of plane. Smith and Gallup shared a fear of flight, and ultimately lamented the upcoming dates, wishing to reduce the number of concerts they booked. The record label and tour promoters strongly disagreed, and even proposed to add several new shows to the itinerary because of the success of Disintegration in the US. The first concert in the United States was at New Jersey's Giants Stadium, where 44,000 people attended. 30,000 tickets had been purchased on the first day alone. The band were extremely displeased with the massive turnout; according to Roger O'Donnell: "We had been at sea for five days. The stadium was too big for us to take it all in. We've decided that we don't like playing stadiums that large." Smith recalls that "it was never our intention to become as big as this".Apter, 2005. pp. 245–250

During the West Coast leg of the group's American tour, The Cure added Pixies, Shelleyan Orphan and Love and Rockets as opening acts. The band's show at Dodger Stadium attracted roughly 50,000 attendees, grossing over US$1.5 million. The band's notably larger popularity in the United States—virtually every concert in the leg was sold out—caused Smith to break down, and threatened the band's future: "It's reached a stage where I personally can't cope with it," he said, "so I've decided this is the last time we're gonna tour." Backstage, there were ongoing feuds between band members due to the strife onset by Smith. He recalled that towards the end of the tour "I was tearing my hair out It was just a difficult tour." Cocaine use was prevalent, and only ended up distancing Smith from his fellow band members.

Upon returning to the United Kingdom in early October, Smith wanted nothing more to do with recording, promoting and touring for an album. In 1990 "Lullaby" won "Best Music Video of 1989" at the BRIT Awards. The Cure also released a live album titled Entreat (1991), which compiled songs entirely off Disintegration from their performance at Wembley Arena, and despite claims that The Cure would never tour again, Smith accepted an invitation to headline the Glastonbury Festival. O'Donnell, after two years with the group, left to pursue a solo career, and was replaced by the band's guitar technician Perry Bamonte. Smith, who was influenced by the acid house movement that had exploded in London that summer, released a predominantly electronic remix album, Mixed Up, in 1990.


*Robert Smith – vocals, guitars, keyboards, 6-string bass, production, engineering

*Simon Gallup – bass guitar, keyboards

*Porl Thompson – guitars

*Boris Williams – drums

*Roger O'Donnell – keyboards

*Lol Tolhurst – credited for "other instruments", but later revealed to have had no involvement.

*David M. Allen – production, engineering

*Richard Sullivan – engineering

*Roy Spong – engineering

Chart positions






Category:The Cure albums

Category:Fiction Records albums

Category:1989 albums

Category:Universal Deluxe Editions

Category:English-language albums












This text has been derived from Disintegration (The Cure album) on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Artist/Band Information

The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with frontman, vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith—known for his iconic wild hair, pale complexion, smudged lipstick and frequently gloomy and introspective lyrics being the only constant member. The Cure first began releasing music in the late 1970s with their debut album Three Imaginary Boys (1979); this, along with several early singles, placed the band as part of the post-punk and new wave music that had sprung up in the wake of the punk revolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the band's increasingly dark and tormented music helped form the gothic rock genre.

After the release of Pornography (1982), the band's future was uncertain and Smith was keen to move past the gloomy reputation his band had acquired. With the 1982 single "Let's Go to Bed" Smith began to inject more of a pop sensibility into the band's music (as well as a stage persona of big hair and smudged makeup). The Cure's popularity increased as the decade wore on, especially in the United States where the songs "Just Like Heaven", "Lovesong" and "Friday I'm in Love" entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. By the start of the 1990s, The Cure were one of the most popular alternative rock bands in the world. Since 1979 the band is estimated to have sold more than 30 million albums worlwide, according to a biography published in 2010. Thierry Desaules, The Cure : Les Symphonies névrotiques, Éditions Alphée, 2010 The Cure have released thirteen studio albums and over thirty singles during the course of their career. As of February 2011, the band are in the studio recording a fourteenth album."". Retrieved on 27 February 2011.


Formation and early years (1973–1979)

The first incarnation of what became The Cure was The Obelisk, a band formed by students at Notre Dame Middle School in Crawley, Sussex. The band made their public debut in a one-off performance in April 1973, and featured Robert Smith (piano), Michael "Mick" Dempsey (guitar), Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst (percussion), Marc Ceccagno (lead guitar) and Alan Hill (bass guitar).Apter, pg. 26 The first real incarnation though came in January 1976 when Ceccagno formed Malice with Smith and Dempsey along with two other classmates from St. Wilfrid's Catholic Comprehensive School, with Ceccagno on lead, Smith now also on guitar and Dempsey switching to bass. Ceccagno soon left, however, to form a jazz-rock fusion band called Amulet. Increasingly influenced by the emergence of punk rock, Malice's remaining members became known as Easy Cure in January 1977.Apter, pg. 38 By this time, Smith and Dempsey had been joined by Lol Tolhurst from The Obelisk on drums, and new lead guitarist Porl Thompson. Both Malice and Easy Cure also trialed several unsuccessful vocalists before Smith finally assumed the role of Easy Cure's frontman in September 1977.Apter, pg. 46

That year, Easy Cure won a talent competition with German label Hansa Records, and received a recording contract. Although the band recorded tracks for the company, none were ever released.Frost, Deborah. "Taking The Cure With Robert". Creem. 1 October 1987. Following disagreements in March 1978 over the direction the band should take, the contract with Hansa was dissolved. Smith later recalled, "We were very young. They just thought they could turn us into a teen group. They actually wanted us to do cover versions and we always refused." Thompson was dropped from the band in May, and the remaining trio (Smith/Tolhurst/Dempsey) were soon renamed The Cure by Smith.Apter, pg. 56–57 Later that month the band recorded their first sessions as a trio at Chestnut Studios in Sussex, which were distributed as a demo tape to a dozen major record labels.Apter, pg. 62 The demo found its way to Polydor Records scout Chris Parry, who signed The Cure to his newly formed Fiction label—distributed by Polydor—in September 1978.Apter, pg. 68 However, as a stopgap while Fiction finalised distribution arrangements with Polydor, in December 1978 The Cure released their debut single "Killing an Arab" on the Small Wonder label. "Killing an Arab" garnered both acclaim and controversy: while the single's provocative title led to accusations of racism, the song is actually based on French absurdist Albert Camus' novel The Stranger.Hull, Robot A. "The Cure: ...Happily Ever After". Creem. January 1982. The band placed a sticker label that denied the racist connotations on the single's 1979 reissue on Fiction. An early NME article on the band wrote that The Cure "are like a breath of fresh suburban air on the capital's smog-ridden pub and club circuit" and noted "With a John Peel session and more extensive London gigging on their immediate agenda, it remains to be seen whether or not The Cure can retain their refreshing joie de vivre."Thrills, Adrian. "Ain't No Blues for the Summertime Cure". NME. 16 December 1978.

The Cure released their debut album Three Imaginary Boys in May 1979. Due to the band's inexperience in the studio, Parry and engineer Mike Hedges took control of the recording.Apter, pg. 84 The band, particularly Smith, were unhappy with their debut; in a 1987 interview, he admitted, "a lot of it was very superficial – I didn't even like it at the time. There were criticisms made that it was very lightweight, and I thought they were justified. Even when we'd made it, I wanted to do something that I thought had more substance to it".Sweeting, Adam. "The Cure - Curiouser and Curiouser". Spin. July 1987. The band's second single "Boys Don't Cry" was released in June. The Cure then embarked as the support band for Siouxsie & The Banshees' Join Hands promotional tour of England, Northern Ireland and Wales between August and October. The tour saw Smith pull double duty each night by performing with The Cure and as the guitarist with The Banshees when John McKay quit the group.Apter, pg. 105 That musical experience had a strong impact on him: "On stage that first night with the Banshees, I was blown away by how powerful I felt playing that kind of music. It was so different to what we were doing with The Cure. Before that, I'd wanted us to be like The Buzzcocks or Elvis Costello, the punk Beatles. Being a Banshee really changed my attitude to what I was doing."Interview of Robert Smith made by Alexis Petridis in 2003. The Siouxsie & The Banshees authorised biography, Mark Paytress, Sanctuary 2003, page 96

The Cure's third single "Jumping Someone Else's Train" was released in early October 1979. Soon afterwards, Dempsey was sacked from the band due to his cool reception to material Smith had written for the upcoming album.Apter, pg. 106 Dempsey joined the Associates, while Simon Gallup (bass) and Matthieu Hartley (keyboards) from The Magspies joined The Cure. The Associates toured as support band for The Cure and The Passions on the Future Pastimes Tour of England between November and December—all three bands were on the Fiction Records roster—with the new Cure line-up already performing a number of new songs for the projected second album.Apter, pg. 112 Meanwhile, a spin-off band comprising Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey, Gallup, Hartley and Thompson, with backing vocals from assorted family and friends, and lead vocals provided by their local postman Frankie Bell released a 7-inch single in December under the assumed name of Cult Hero.Apter, pg. 100–101

Gothic phase (1980–1982)

Wary, due to the band's lack of creative control on the first album, Smith exerted a greater influence on the recording of The Cure's second album Seventeen Seconds, which he co-produced with Mike Hedges.Apter, pg. 114 The album was released in 1980 and reached number 20 on the UK charts. A single from the album, "A Forest", became the band's first UK hit single, reaching number 31 on the singles chart.Roberts, David (ed.). British Hit Singles & Albums. Nineteenth edition. HIT Entertainment, date=2006. Pg. 130. ISBN 1-904994-10-5 The album was a departure from The Cure's sound up to that point, with Hedges describing it as "morose, atmospheric, very different to Three Imaginary Boys."Apter, pg. 117 In its review of Seventeen Seconds the NME said, "For a group as young as The Cure, it seems amazing that they have covered so much territory in such a brief time."Kent, Nick. Seventeen Seconds review. NME. 26 April 1980. At the same time, Smith was pressed concerning the concept of an alleged "anti-image".Gosse, Van. "The Cure Play It Pure". The Village Voice. 21 April 1980. Smith told the press he was fed up with the anti-image association that some considered to be "elaborately disguising their plainness", stating, "We had to get away from that anti-image thing, which we didn't even create in the first place. And it seemed like we were trying to be more obscure. We just didn't like the standard rock thing. The whole thing really got out of hand."Morley, Paul. "Days of Wine and Poses". NME. 12 July 1980. That same year Three Imaginary Boys was repackaged for the American market as Boys Don't Cry, with new artwork and a modified tracklist. The Cure set out on their first world tour to promote both releases. At the end of the tour, Matthieu Hartley left the band. Hartley said, "I realised that the group was heading towards suicidal, sombre music—the sort of thing that didn't interest me at all."Apter, pg. 126

The band reconvened with Hedges to produce their third album Faith (1981), which furthered the mood of misery present on Seventeen Seconds.Apter, pg. 132 The album peaked at number 14 on the UK charts. Included with cassette copies of Faith was an instrumental soundtrack for Carnage Visors, an animated film shown in place of an opening act for the band's 1981 Picture Tour.Apter, pg. 136 In late 1981, The Cure released the non-album single "Charlotte Sometimes". By this point, the sombre mood of the music was having a profound effect on the attitude of the band. The band would refuse requests for older songs in concert, and sometimes Smith would be so absorbed by the persona he projected onstage he would leave at the end in tears.Apter, pg. 141

In 1982, The Cure recorded and released Pornography, the third and final album of an "oppressively dispirited" trio that cemented the Cure's stature as purveyors of the emerging gothic rock genre.Reynolds, Simon. Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. Penguin, 2005. Pg. 358. ISBN 0-14-303672-6 Smith has said that during the recording of Pornography he was "undergoing a lot of mental stress. But it had nothing to do with the group, it just had to do with what I was like, my age and things. I think I got to my worst round about Pornography. Looking back and getting other people's opinions of what went on, I was a pretty monstrous sort of person at that time". Gallup described the album by saying, "Nihilism took over We sang 'It doesn't matter if we all die' and that is exactly what we thought at the time."Apter, pg. 161 Parry was concerned that the album did not have a hit song for radio play and instructed Smith and producer Phil Thornalley to polish the track "The Hanging Garden" for release as a single.Apter, pg. 158–59 Despite the concerns about the album's uncommercial sound, Pornography became the band's first UK Top 10 album, charting at number eight. The release of Pornography was followed by the Fourteen Explicit Moments tour, where the band finally dropped the anti-image angle and first adopted their signature look of big, towering hair and smeared lipstick on their faces.Apter, pg. 166–67 The tour also saw a series of incidents that prompted Simon Gallup to leave The Cure at the tour's conclusion. Gallup and Smith did not talk to each other for eighteen months following his departure.Apter, pg. 171

Increasing commercial success (1983–1988)

With Gallup's departure from The Cure and with Smith's work with Siouxsie & the Banshees, rumours spread that The Cure had broken up. In December 1982, Smith remarked to Melody Maker, "Do The Cure really exist any more? I've been pondering that question myself it has got to a point where I don't fancy working in that format again." He added, "Whatever happens, it won't be me, Laurence, and Simon together any more. I know that."Sutherland, Steve. "The Incurables". Melody Maker. 18 December 1982.

Parry was concerned at the state of his label's top band, and became convinced that the solution was for The Cure to reinvent its musical style. Parry managed to convince Smith and Tolhurst of the idea; Parry said, "It appealed to Robert because he wanted to destroy The Cure anyway."Apter, pg. 174 With Tolhurst now playing keyboards instead of drums, the duo released the single "Let's Go to Bed" in late 1982. While Smith wrote the single off as a throwaway, "stupid" pop song to the press,Apter, pg. 176 it became a minor hit in the UK, reaching number 44 on the singles chart. It was followed in 1983 by two more successful songs: the synthesizer-based "The Walk" (number 12), and the jazz-influenced "The Lovecats", which became the band's first British Top 10 hit, reaching number seven. The group released these studio singles and their B-sides as the compilation album Japanese Whispers, designed by Smith for the Japanese market only, but released worldwide on the decision of the record company. The same year, Smith also recorded and toured with Siouxsie & the Banshees, contributing as guitarist on their Nocturne live video and their Hyaena studio album. Meanwhile, he recorded the Blue Sunshine album with Banshees bassist Steven Severin as The Glove, while Lol Tolhurst produced the first two singles and debut album of the English band And Also The Trees.

In 1984, The Cure released The Top, a generally psychedelic album on which Smith played all the instruments except the drums—played by Andy Anderson—and the saxophone—played by returnee Porl Thompson. The album was a Top 10 hit in the UK, and was their first studio album to break the Billboard 200 in the U.S., reaching number 180. Melody Maker praised the album as "psychedelia that can't be dated", while pondering, "I've yet to meet anyone who can tell me why The Cure are having hits now of all times."Kent, Nick. The Top review. Melody Maker. 5 May 1984. The Cure then embarked on their worldwide "Top Tour" with Thompson, Anderson, and producer-turned-bassist Phil Thornalley on board. Released in late 1984, The Cure's first live album, Concert consisted of performances from this tour. Near the tour's end, Anderson was fired for destroying a hotel room and was replaced by Boris Williams.Apter, pg. 205 Thornalley also left due to the rigors of the road.Apter, pg. 207 However, the bassist slot was not vacant long, for a Cure roadie named Gary Biddles had brokered a reunion between Smith and former bassist Simon Gallup, who in the meantime had been playing in the band Fools Dance. Soon after reconciling, Smith asked Gallup to rejoin the band.Apter, pg. 208 Smith was ecstatic about Gallup's return and declared to Melody Maker, "It's a group again."Sutherland, Steve. "A Suitable Case for Treatment". Melody Maker. 17 August 1985.

In 1985, the new line-up of Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup, Thompson, and Williams released The Head on the Door, an album which managed to bind together the optimistic and pessimistic aspects of the band's music that they had previously shifted between.Apter, pg. 209-10 The Head on the Door reached number seven in the UK and was the band's first entry into American Top 75 at number 59, a success partly due to the international impact of the LP's two singles, "In Between Days" and "Close to Me". Following the album and further world tour, the band released the singles compilation Standing on a Beach in three formats (each with a different track listing and a specific name) in 1986. This compilation made the US Top 50, and saw the re-issue of three previous singles: "Boys Don't Cry" (in a new form), "Let's Go To Bed" and later "Charlotte Sometimes". This release was accompanied by a VHS or LaserDisc called Staring at the Sea, which featured videos for each track on the compilation. The Cure toured to support the compilation and released a live concert VHS of the show, filmed in the south of France called The Cure in Orange. During this time, The Cure became a very popular band in Europe (particularly in France, Germany and the Benelux countries) and increasingly popular in the U.S.Apter, pg. xii-xiii

In 1987, The Cure released the double LP Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, which reached number six in the UK and number 35 in the U.S. (where it was certified platinum), Note: User needs to enter "The Cure" as a search term for the Artist. due to the combination of the band's rising popularity and the success of lead single, "Why Can't I Be You?". The album's third single, "Just Like Heaven" was the band's most successful single to date in the US, being their first to enter the Billboard Top 40. After the album's release, the band embarked on the successful Kissing Tour. During the European leg of the tour, Lol Tolhurst's alcohol consumption was interfering with his ability to perform so The Psychedelic Furs keyboardist Roger O'Donnell was frequently called upon to stand in for him.Apter, pg. 229

Disintegration and worldwide success (1989–2002)

In 1989, The Cure released the album Disintegration, which saw a return to the gothic atmospheres of earlier releases like Faith and Pornography.Witter, Simon. "The Cure: The Art of Falling Apart". Sky. June 1989. It became their highest charting album in the UK to date, entering at number three and featuring three Top 30 singles in the UK and Germany ("Lullaby", "Lovesong" and "Pictures of You"). Disintegration also reached number twelve on the US charts. The first single stateside, "Fascination Street", reached number one on the American Modern Rock chart, but was quickly overshadowed when its third US single, "Lovesong", reached number two on the American pop charts (the only Cure single to reach the US Top 10). By 1992, Disintegration had sold over three million copies worldwide.

During the Disintegration sessions, the band gave Smith an ultimatum that either Tolhurst would have to leave the band or they would.Apter, pg. 238 In February 1989, Tolhurst's exit was made official and announced to the press;Apter, pg. 240 this resulted in Roger O'Donnell becoming a full-fledged member of the band and left Smith as The Cure's only remaining founding member. Smith attributed Tolhurst's dismissal to an inability to exert himself and issues with alcohol, concluding, "He was out of step with everything. It had just become detrimental to everything we'd do."Brown, James. "Ten Years in Lipstick and Powder". NME. 8 April 1989 Because Tolhurst was still on the payroll during the recording of Disintegration, he was credited in the album's liner notes as playing "other instrument", however it has since been revealed that he contributed nothing to the album in either performance or song writing. The Cure then embarked on the Prayer Tour, which saw the band playing stadiums in America.

In May 1990, Roger O'Donnell quit and was replaced with the band's guitar technician Perry Bamonte. That November, The Cure released a collection of remixes called Mixed Up. The album was not well received and quickly slid down the charts.Apter, pg. 252 The one new song on the collection, "Never Enough", was released as a single. In 1991 The Cure were awarded the BRIT Award for Best British Band. That same year Tolhurst filed a lawsuit against Smith and Fiction Records in 1991 over royalties payments, and claimed joint ownership of the name "The Cure" with Smith; the verdict was handed out in September 1994 in favour of Smith. In respite from the lawsuit, the band returned to the studio to record their next album.Apter, pg. 255 Wish reached number one in the UK and number two in the US and yielded the international hits "High" and "Friday I'm in Love". The Cure also embarked on the "Wish Tour" with Cranes, and released the live albums Show (September 1993) and Paris (October 1993). As a promotional exercise with the Our Price music chain in the UK, a limited edition EP was released consisting of instrumental outtakes from the Wish sessions. Entitled Lost Wishes, the proceeds from the four-track cassette tape went to charity.

In the years between the release of Wish and the start of sessions for The Cure's next album, the band's line-up shifted again. Thompson left the band once more during 1993 to play with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, and Bamonte took over as lead guitarist. Boris Williams also left the band, and was replaced by Jason Cooper (formerly of My Life Story). The album sessions began in 1994 with only Smith and Bamonte present; the pair were later joined by Gallup (who was recovering from physical problems), and Roger O'Donnell, who had been asked to rejoin the band at the end of 1994.Apter, pg. 270 Wild Mood Swings, finally released in 1996, was poorly received compared with previous albums and marked the end of the band's commercial peak.Apter, pg. 275 Early in 1996, the Cure played festivals in South America, followed by a world tour in support of the album. Galore. Galore contained all of the Cure's singles released between 1987 and 1997, as well as the new single "Wrong Number", which featured longtime David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels. Gabrels also accompanied the Cure on a brief American radio festival tour as an onstage guest guitarist for "Wrong Number". In 1994, the Cure contributed the song "Burn" to The Crow Sountrack and in 1998 they also contributed to the soundtrack album for The X-Files feature film as well as the Depeche Mode tribute album For the Masses, with their cover of "World in My Eyes".

The Cure also made Dredd Song, the theme song of the 1995 movie Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone. It was not released on a Cure album until 2004 on Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities 1978–2001 (The Fiction Years).

With only one album left in their record contract and with commercial response to Wild Mood Swings and the Galore compilation lacklustre, Smith once again considered that the end of The Cure might be near and thus wanted to make an album that reflected the more serious side of the band.Apter, pg. 281, 284 The Grammy-nominated album Bloodflowers was released in 2000 after being delayed since 1998.Apter, pg. 284 The album was, according to Smith, the third of a trilogy along with Pornography and Disintegration. The band also embarked on the nine-month Dream Tour, attended by over one million people worldwide. In 2001, The Cure left Fiction and released their Greatest Hits album and DVD, which featured the music videos for a number of classic Cure songs. In 2002, the band headlined twelve major summer music festivals, and played three extended concerts (one in Brussels, two in Berlin) in which they performed the albums Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers in their respective entireties each night. The Berlin performances were released on DVD as The Cure: Trilogy in 2003.

Recent years (2003–present)

In 2003, The Cure signed with Geffen Records. In 2004, they released a new four-disc boxed set on Fiction Records titled Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities, 1978-2001 (The Fiction Years). The compilation includes seventy Cure songs, some previously unreleased, and a 76-page full-colour book of photographs, history and quotes, packaged in a hard cover. The album peaked at number 106 on the Billboard 200 album charts. The band released their twelfth album The Cure on Geffen in 2004, which was produced by Ross Robinson. It made a top ten debut on both sides of the Atlantic in July 2004 and debuted in the top 30 in Australia. To promote the album, the band headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that May. From 24 July to 29 August, The Cure headlined the Curiosa concert tour of North America. While attendances were lower than expected, Curiosa was still one of the more successful American summer festivals of 2004.Apter, pg. 295 The same year the band was honoured with an MTV Icon television special.

The Cure live 2004.jpgleft250pxthumbThe Cure in concert in 2004. From left to right: Robert Smith, Jason Cooper, and Simon Gallup

In May 2005, Roger O'Donnell and Perry Bamonte were fired from the band. O'Donnell claims Smith informed him he was reducing the band to a three-piece. Previously O'Donnell had only found out about the band's upcoming tour dates via a fan site and added, "It was sad to find out after nearly 20 years the way I did but then I should have expected no less or more." The remaining members of the band—Smith, Gallup and Cooper—made several appearances as a trio before it was announced in June that Porl Thompson would be returning for the band's 2005 Festival summer shows, as well as their set at Live 8 in Paris on 2 July. Later that year, the band recorded a cover of John Lennon's "Love" for Amnesty International's charity album Make Some Noise. It is available for download on the Amnesty website, while the album was released on CD in 2006. On 1 April 2006, The Cure appeared at the Royal Albert Hall on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was their only show through to the end the year. In December a live DVD, entitled The Cure: Festival 2005 including 30 songs of their 2005 Festival tour was released.

The Cure began writing and recording material for their thirteenth album in 2006. Smith initially stated it would be a double album. The Cure announced a last-minute postponement of their autumn 2007 North American 4Tour in August in order to continue working on the album, rescheduling the dates for spring 2008. Titled 4:13 Dream, the album was released in October 2008. The group released four singles and an EP—"The Only One", "Freakshow", "Sleep When I'm Dead", "The Perfect Boy" and Hypnagogic States respectively—on or near to the 13th of each month, in the months leading up to the album's release. In February 2009, The Cure received the 2009 Shockwaves NME Award for Godlike Genius."". NME. Retrieved on 14 April 2009.

On January 13, 2010, Smith announced on The Cure's website that they were working on a fourteenth studio album and an iTunes exclusive release. He explains, "There is an 'exclusive' iTunes Cure album still in the works... and part two of the Dream sessions is slowly taking shape.""". Retrieved on 16 February 2011. As of February 2011, according to bassist Simon Gallup's son Eden, The Cure are back in the studio recording the new album.

They have also been announced as headliners at the 2011 Bestival music festival held on the Isle of Wight. It is said that this is to be their only festival commitment in 2011.

Musical style

The Cure are often identified with the gothic rock subgenre of alternative rock, and are viewed as one of the form's definitive bands. However, the band has routinely rejected classification, particularly as a gothic rock band. Robert Smith said in 2006, "It's so pitiful when 'goth' is still tagged onto the name The Cure", and added, "We're not categorisable. I suppose we were post-punk when we came out, but in total it's impossible I just play Cure music, whatever that is." Smith has also expressed his distaste for gothic rock, describing it as "incredibly dull and monotonous. A dirge really."Sandall, Robert. "The Cure: Caught In The Act". Q. May 1989. While typically viewed as producers of dark and gloomy music, The Cure have also yielded a number of upbeat songs. Spin has said "The Cure have always been an either/or sort of band: either Robert Smith is wallowing in gothic sadness or he's licking sticky-sweet cotton-candy pop off his lipstick-stained fingers."Greenwald, Andy. "The Cure - The Head on the Door". Spin. July 2005.

The Cure's primary musical traits have been listed as "dominant, melodic bass lines; whiny, strangulated vocals; and a lyric obsession with existential, almost literary despair."Blackwell, Mark; Greer, Jim. "Taking the Cure". Spin. June 1992. Most Cure songs start with Smith and Gallup writing the drum parts and bass lines. Both record demos at home and then bring them into the studio for fine-tuning.Gore, Joe. "The Cure: Confessions of a Pop Mastermind". Guitar Player. September 1992. Smith said in 1992, "I think when people talk about the 'Cure sound,' they mean songs based on 6-string bass, acoustic guitar, and my voice, plus the string sound from the Solina." On top of this foundation is laid "towering layers of guitars and synthesizers". Keyboards have been a component of the band's sound since Seventeen Seconds, and their importance increased with the instrument's extensive use on Disintegration.Apter, pg. 241

Music videos

The band's early music videos have been described as "dreadful affairs" and have been maligned for their poor quality, particularly by the band itself. Lol Tolhurst said, "Those videos were unmitigated disasters; we weren't actors and our personalities weren't coming across."Apter, pg. 177–78 It was with the video for "Let's Go to Bed", their first collaboration with director Tim Pope, that The Cure would become noted for their videos. Pope added a playful element to the band's videos; the director insisted in a 1987 Spin interview, "I think that side of them was always there, but was never brought out." Pope would go on to direct the majority of The Cure's videos, and his videos, which became synonymous with the band, helped expand The Cure's audience during the 1980s. Pope explained the appeal of working with The Cure by saying, "The Cure is the ultimate band for a filmmaker to work with because Robert Smith really understands the camera. His songs are so cinematic. I mean on one level there's this stupidity and humour, right, but beneath that there are all psychological obsessions and claustrophobia."


The Cure were one of the first alternative bands to have chart and commercial success in an era before alternative rock had broken into the mainstream. In 1992 the NME declared The Cure had during the 1980s become "a goth hit machine (19 to date), an international phenomenon and, yep, the most successful alternative band that ever shuffled disconsolately about the earth".Collins, Andrew. "The Mansion Family". NME. 18 April 1992. Smith has noted he looks at Cure-influenced bands Interpol and My Chemical Romance with affection, adding, "I also think Carlos D.'s obsession with Simon Gallup is sweet."Spitz, Marc. "Robert Smith". Spin. November 2005.

Several references to The Cure and their music have been made in popular culture. A number of films have used the title of a Cure song as the film's title, including Boys Don't Cry (1999) and Just Like Heaven (2005). The Cure's gloomy image has been the subject of parody at times. In series two of The Mighty Boosh, The Moon sings 'The Lovecats' over the credits. In the same episode, a powerful gothic hairspray, Goth Juice, is said to be "The most powerful hairspray known to man. Made from the tears of Robert Smith." The Mary Whitehouse Experience often featured brief clips of the stars of the show performing comical songs and nursery rhymes as The Cure in a morose style. Robert Smith appeared in the final episode of The Mary Whitehouse Experience, punching the character Ray (played by Robert Newman) whilst uttering Ray's catch phrase "Oh no what a personal disaster". Robert Smith was also portrayed on an episode of South Park where he transforms into the form of Mothra and battles Mecha-Streisand to save the day and Kyle shouts "Disintegration is the best album ever!" In Craig Thompsons graphic novel Blankets the chapter seven is called "Just Like Heaven". The same chapter shows Raina singing some lyrics from this song to Craig. The song Just Like Heaven appears in the video game Rock Band 3.


* Three Imaginary Boys (1979)

* Seventeen Seconds (1980)

* Faith (1981)

* Pornography (1982)

* The Top (1984)

* The Head on the Door (1985)

* Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

* Disintegration (1989)

* Wish (1992)

* Wild Mood Swings (1996)

* Bloodflowers (2000)

* The Cure (2004)

* 4:13 Dream (2008)


* Robert Smith – lead vocals, guitars, keyboards (1976–present)

* Porl Thompson – guitars, keyboards (1976–1978, 1983–1993, 2005–present)

* Simon Gallup – bass guitar, keyboards (1979–1982, 1985–present)

* Jason Cooper – drums, percussion (1995–present)

;Past members

* Michael Dempsey – bass, vocals (1976–1979)

* Matthieu Hartley – keyboards (1979–1980)

* Phil Thornalley – bass (1983–1984)

* Andy Anderson – drums, percussion (1983–1984)

* Lol Tolhurst – drums, percussion, keyboards, drum machine (1976–1989)

* Boris Williams – drums, percussion (1984–1994)

* Roger O'Donnell – keyboards, percussion (1987–1990, 1995–2005)

* Perry Bamonte – keyboards, guitar, six-string bass (1990–2005)



*Apter, Jeff. (2006). Never Enough: The Story of the Cure. Omnibus Press. ISBN 1-84449-827-1

Further reading

*Ten Imaginary Years, by L. Barbarian, Steve Sutherland and Robert Smith (1988) Zomba Books ISBN 0-946391-87-4

*The Cure: A Visual Documentary, by Dave Thompson and Jo-Ann Greene(1988) Omnibus Press ISBN 0-7119-1387-0

*The Cure: Songwords 1978–1989 S. Hopkins, Robert Smith and T. Foo (1989) Omnibus Press ISBN 0-7119-1951-8

*In Between Days: An Armchair Guide To The Cure by Dave Thompson, Helter Skelter Publishing (October 2005) ISBN 1-905139-00-4

*The Cure - Greatest Hits (songbook containing 20 of their best, transcribed note-for-note with tab, chord symbols and complete lyrics), Hal Leonard Corporation (May 2002) ISBN 0-634-04667-5

*Robert Smith: "The Cure" and Wishful Thinking by Richard Carman (2005) Independent Music Press (UK) ISBN 9-78095-497041-3

*Jeremy Wulc : My dream comes true : Carnet de route avec The Cure. (2009) Editions : Camion Blanc

This text has been derived from The Cure on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

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