Title - 'Disintegration (Deluxe Edition)' (3CD)
Artist - The Cure
By 1989, I had turned my back on The Cure. They were yesterday's news. At the time if you had asked me "Who is The Cure?" I would say the Cure was a post-punk British rock band that should best be remembered for three great studio albums recorded as 3 member band in the early 1980s (Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography) and an interesting live record in 1984 (Concert) recorded with a 5 member band.
Other than that, most of what the Cure had been making in the mid-1980s was "Bubble Gum Goth" - silly teenage new wave pop music in another package. It was frivolous music. But it made a lot of money for Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, et al. It was a product that could really be sold to American teenagers in a way that "Pornography" just couldn't. After Kiss Me x3, I dismissed the Cure.
Then along came Disintegration. Granted, Disintegration doesn't represent a major break from the mid-1980s The Cure. It is a record recorded with the 5 member line up that had become standard for the Cure's mid-1980s work. It was a record rich in keyboards and synthesizers, unlike the original trilogy of great The Cure records I mention above, which had been mostly guitar, bass and drums (with a little bit of keyboard as an afterthought).
So what makes Disintegration stand out as a good record, distinct from The Head on the Door, The Top, Japanese Whispers or Kiss Me x3? In my opinion, it is because they came full circle. They went back to the sound that they had on records like Faith and Pornography, and found a way to synthesize that early, dark sound with the full resources of the 5 member band.
It isn't a perfect album, mind you. Looking back 20 years later, I never listen to "Fascination Street" or "Love Song". Those are more of the mid-1980s The Cure that I would just as soon forget. But songs like "Prayers for Rain" and "Same Deep Water as You" are powerfully good tracks, even today.
This isn't the greatest The Cure record (I still give that to Pornography. What can I say? I am old school). But it is definitely in my short list of the top 3 records by the Cure. And it marked a new trajectory for them as artists - less frivolous, more serious, but with the big, full, lush sound they developed in the mid-1980s.
Indeed, Disintegration quickly became the groups most successful album. Spurred by those two aforementioned Top 10 hits, "Lullaby" and "Lovesong," album sales topped more than 3 million as the band sold out stadiums and arenas around the world during its 1989 tour.
And therein lies the TRUE proof - the concerts. I saw the Cure several times in the mid-1980s. I remember on the Kiss Me 3x tour, almost all of the material they played was from the mid-1980s, except for an obligatory performance of Forest. But by the time they recorded Paris (but not "Show"!), they apparently had found a way to integrate songs from their 3 great records into their play list again. This was a much needed re-adjustment of a band that had drifted way too far from the sound that made them great to begin with.
Anyway, and in closing, this new 3-disc reissue is remastered from the original, is perfect in every way, and even contains a disc of unreleased outtakes and demos - PLUS a third disc that contains a live performance of the entire album recorded in 1989 at Wembley Arena, London. And, if that isn't enough, this wonderful, truly wonderful Deluxe Edition comes with a 20-page booklet containing previously unseen pictures and art; as well as lyrics and an in-depth overview of the period by The Cure's founder Robert Smith.
Oh, and with regard that third/final disc, Smith has remixed and expands 'Entreat,' a live album recorded in 1989 at Wembley Arena during The Cure's sold-out Prayer Tour. 'Entreat Plus' combines the original's eight tracks, remixed with the four 'missing' songs to create a complete contemporary live version of Disintegration.