I’ve been sitting here for probably about fifteen minutes trying to write the opening of this review, and the best I can come up with is a paraphrase of Derek Alexander:
“This is the toughest review I’ve ever had to write because…I don’t want to write about it, I just wanna listen to Disintegration! I just wanna listen to it!”
Yeah, that works.
So, The Cure! Right…uh…okay, I’m gonna level with you guys, I still have no idea how to write about this thing. I can tell you it’s amazing, and I love it, and it’s probably in my all-time favorites list, and if you haven’t heard it I heartily recommend you do…but I’m not sure I’m up to explaining why.
Disintegration is, in the broadest possible terms, a suite. It’s essentially one big song dragged out over twelve tracks, clocking in at an hour in sixteen minutes (though it sure feels a lot shorter), with little if any variation in overall sound. Emotional nuance finds its way between tracks occasionally, but essentially this is just a big tribute to romantic melancholy. Thick sheets of synth and dreamy distortion hang as backdrops for ethereal vocals and drowsy guitar, all hung on a skeleton of gorgeous melodies. There, I just described every song on the album. Review over!
Okay, that’s not exactly true. “Plainsong” is a fantastic opener, building in a way that’s common on the album but almost never as immaculately and powerfully realized. “Pictures of You” works with one of the best emotional ideas on the album, mixing creepy desperation with painful relatability. The hilariously badly named “Lovesong” is…well, one of the most effective self-deprecating love songs I’ve ever heard, with a cool snappy drum-and-organ part to make it feel surprisingly distinct among its company. “Fascination Street” goes so far as to legitimately rock, with a brilliantly handled menacing tone. “The Same Deep Water As You” is a full-blown atmospheric epic, with all the tragedy you could want from a song in that vein.
If I had to make an arbitrary call for the best song on this incredibly even album, I’d go for the incredibly powerful “Prayers for Rain”, whose desperation and anger pulses at an increasing rate throughout its length. It also features an amazing string riff that manages to be motivational, epic, and crushingly sad all at the same time.
I really do feel stupid for not having that much to say about this album, especially since I really do love it a lot. It’s emotionally vibrant, musically engrossing, and never gets boring for all its uniformity. It’s a gorgeous, sad, cathartic ride. Unfortunately that ride is a bit too samey to break down in the pieces necessary for the type of review I usually write. Honestly, Disintegration isn’t the type of album to read reviews about anyway. It’s a mood piece with a very specific part to play, and can be incredibly moving when you’re in the mood for it.
Well, that was underwhelming. I need something crazy and diverse. What’s next?
OOOOOHH A CAPTAIN BEEFHEART ALBUM! PERFECT!
Thematic Content: 5/5
Diversity: 2/5 It should probably be a 1/5 honestly, but +1 for not boring me.
Experience: Staring into a well located on the top of a remote mountain, talking to your reflection about whatever the approaching storm clouds lead you to.
10+/10. Best Song: Prayers for Rain