Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Albums2010 #17: Disintegration

I have to amend myself with this one: if you're in your mid-40s and suffer a bad break-up, then Fleetwood Mac's Rumors would probably be your 'wallowing' music of choice. If you have an unattainable love for George Harrison's wife, then check out Derek and the Dominos. And if you're 17, wear a lot of black clothing and think eyeliner is pretty cool, then The Cure's Disintegration is the perfect 'I'm bummed out and life is dark' mood music for you.

Unlike a lot of the albums I've been listening too, I know exactly why I purchased this album. South Park. No really, its all down to South Park. You know the episode I mean? The one where Barbara Streisand shows up and turns into some kind of crazy, metallic, town destroying monster and the kids have to summon Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure (voiced by himself, amazingly enough) to save the town. He turns into some kind of bad-ass moth/butterfly and defeats her- and as he heads for the horizon, one of the kids (Stan, I think) yells Disintegration is the best album EVER!'

And, like so many other things, South Park gets it right. 'Love Song' and 'Pictures of You' are the two songs your average Joe is gonna recognize from this album. (Thanks to that HP Commercial and a cover song done by 311, I believe that pops up occasionally on Top40 Radio these days.) But it's the rest of the album that makes the grade and carries the singles to greatness. The song that stuck out for me: 'Prayers For Rain.' Consider the lyrics: 'you fracture me/your hands on me/a touch so plain so stale it kills/you strangle me, entangle me/in hopelessness/and prayers for rain.' Pretty dark, huh?

To be totally fair, the album's title should be fair warning to the average listener: I mean, it is called Disintegration, so what would anyone expect? A happy, pop album? Of course not. This is The Cure, we're talking about and save for the occasional song that must have been written when Robert Smith popped a valium or something, you're going to get an excellent dose of melancholy, dark and broody- and this album more than hits that mark.

So why do I like The Cure? Well, to be frank, it fit my mood once upon a time- and occasionally, when I'm trying to write something dark and raw, you need mood music to put yourself in that frame of mind and The Cure works. There's always a period in everyone's life- especially for people of my generation, I think where people feel adrift, alone and a little helpless. And The Cure works as a soundtrack to those days when you don't want to get out of bed, those days when life seems to want to kick you in the balls or even when your skatergirl, all black wearing, teeny bopper, neo-goth girlfriend dumps you for a jock when you're in high school. Their stock in trade are anthems for the melancholy and pensive and with Disintegration they are at the peak of their powers.

Overall: South Park gets it right. The perfect album for the melancholy, pensive and depressed, Disintegration is darkness perfected.

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