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Whenever I'm alone you make me feel as if I am whole again.

Disintegration is the best album ever!
Kyle Broflovski in the South Park episode Mecha Streisand.

When I'm walking off and Stan's saying: "Disintegration is the best album ever," it's one of my greatest moments in life.
Robert Smith, misattributing the quote while reflecting on that South Park episode in an interview with Pete Wentz, November 28, 2006.
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Disintegration is the eighth studio album by The Cure, released in 1989.

The title was aptly chosen as longtime member Lol Tolhurst was thrown out of the band because of his alcoholism problem, and because the others felt he was becoming an albatross around their neck. After a verbal fight he left, and actually had very little to do with the recording of Disintegration, yet he was still credited in the liner notes. Robert Smith himself also suffered from depression over their commercial success and the fact that he, at age 29, still hadn't made a record that could be considered their masterpiece. So they returned back to their roots, and made a gloomy album in the Goth Rock style they originated in. Still it remained a Troubled Production with producers fearing that it would flop, Robert Smith deciding not to talk to any of the other band members for a prolonged period, and a house fire almost stopping the record from ever being completed.

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Despite all odds it was a massive critical and commercial success. "Lullaby," "Fascination Street," "Pictures of You," and "Lovesong" became big international hits.

It ended on #326 in Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The entry even cites the quote above.


Tracklist:

  1. "Plainsong" (5:12)
  2. "Pictures of You" (7:24)
  3. "Closedown" (4:16)
  4. "Lovesong" (3:29)
  5. "Last Dance" (4:42)
  6. "Lullaby" (4:08)
  7. "Fascination Street" (5:16)
  8. "Prayers for Rain" (6:05)
  9. "The Same Deep Water as You" (9:19)
  10. "Disintegration" (8:18)
  11. "Homesick" (7:06)
  12. "Untitled" (6:30)

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Personnel:

  • Robert Smith: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, 6-String bass
  • Simon Gallup: Bass guitar, keyboards
  • Porl Thompson: Guitars
  • Boris Williams: Drums, percussion
  • Roger O'Donnell: Keyboards, piano
  • Lol Tolhurst: "Other instruments," according to the liner notes. note 

The Same Deep Troper as You:

  • Absentee Musician: Despite not being present during the recordings Lol Tolhurst is still credited in the liner notes, but for the very vaguely described "other instruments."
  • Creepy Monotone: The lyrics of "Lullaby" are whispered and address rather creepy visuals.
  • Darker and Edgier: The band returned to a less upbeat sound after almost a decade.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "Plainsong:"
    "I think I'm old and I'm in pain," you said
    "And it's all running out like it's the end of the world," you said
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Fascination Street" opens with an instrumental section that runs over two minutes.
    • Pretty much almost every song is this, the most extreme case being "Homesick", where vocals don't start until 3:15 mark. The only two songs that manage to avert this are "Lovesong", where vocals start in less than half a minute and "Lullaby", which has a whispered part early into the start (not counting that, the actual vocals start at a minute mark, which is still earlier than other songs.)
  • Epic Rocking: The 7:24 "Pictures of You", the 6:05 "Prayers for Rain," the 9:19 "The Same Deep Water as You," the 8:18 "Disintegration," the 7:06 "Homesick," and the 6:30 "Untitled."
  • Face on the Cover: Robert Smith's face is seen in the collage.
  • Four More Measures: "Fascination Street."
  • Giant Spider: "Lullaby:"
    And there is nothing I can do when I realize with freight
    That the spiderman is having me for dinner tonight
    Quietly he laughs and shaking his head creeps
    Closer now closer to the foot of the bed
    And softer than shadow and quicker than flies
    His arms are all around me and his tongue in my eyes
    Be still be calm be quiet now my precious
    Boy, don't struggle like that or I will only love you more
    For it's much too late to get away
    Turn on the light the spiderman is having you for dinner tonight
  • Goth Rock: One of the classics.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: A camera commercial from Hewlett-Packard features "Pictures of You" by The Cure, a song about missed opportunities and the sadness of having nothing at all left except the pictures.
  • Lesser Star: Literally. Lol Tolhurst's alcohol abuse reached a peak during the recording sessions, and despite being credited for "other instruments," the band said he played absolutely nothing on the album, preferring to sit around, get drunk and watch MTV while the rest of the band bullied him (except Smith, who said his behaviour was like "some kind of handicapped child being constantly poked with a stick"). He was fired after a shouting match over arriving excessively drunk to the album's mixing.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Lullaby" has a lovely, soothing string arrangement, but the lyrics are horrifying for people who suffer from arachnophobia.
    • “Lovesong” has a morose and haunting tune, but lyrically it’s a very straightforward and sweet love song.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Lullaby" and "Lovesong" (although you can consider the titles of both describe the content of the song).
  • No Title: "Untitled."
  • One-Man Song: "Lullaby" mentions a cannibalistic "spiderman" at several points.
  • One-Word Title: "Disintegration" and the individual tracks: "Plainsong," "Closedown," "Lovesong," "Lullaby," "Homesick," and "Untitled."
  • The Power of Love: "Lovesong:"
    Whenever I'm alone with you
    You make me feel like I am home again
    Whenever I'm alone with you
    You make me feel like I am whole again
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Pictures of You" was inspired by a house fire in Robert Smith's home. When he went through the remains he discovered that his wallet, with pictures of his wife, had survived the fire. He used the pictures as the cover of the single for "Pictures of You."
  • Record Producer: David M. Allen and Robert Smith.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The album returned to their gloomy roots and was feared to be commercial suicide by the producers. But it turned out to be quite the opposite.
  • The Something Song: "Plainsong" and "Lovesong."
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The track "Lovesong" has been spelled as "Love Song" on some later Cure compilation albums.
  • Stock Sound Effects: "Prayers for Rain" ends with the sound effect of pouring rain.
  • Title Track: "Disintegration."

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