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Music / Disintegration (Album)

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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

Disintegration is the eighth studio album by The Cure, released in 1989 through Fiction Records in the UK and Elektra Records in the US.

The title was aptly chosen as around the time of its creation, 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. He officially left after a verbal fight, and although he actually had very little to do with the recording of Disintegration, he was still credited in the liner notes.

Frontman Robert Smith was also suffering from depression at the time over their commercial success with more accessible songs over the previous two albums and the fact that he, at age 29, believed that he still hadn't made a Cure record that could be considered their masterpiece. To attempt to remedy this, they returned 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, 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.

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


  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)

*Omitted on the original LP release.


  • 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:

  • 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.
  • Eaten Alive: "Lullaby", both the lyrics and the accompanying video. Hardly surprising, considering that the song was inspired by Robert Smith's father telling him creepy bedtime stories, leading to him having a recurring nightmare about being eaten alive by a giant spider.
  • 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." "Closedown," "Lovesong" and "Last Dance" are the only tracks shorter than five minutes.
  • Face on the Cover: Robert Smith's face is seen in the collage.
  • Four More Measures: "Fascination Street."
  • Giant Spider: "Lullaby:"
    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 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 or turn on the light
    The spiderman is having you for dinner tonight"
  • Goth Rock: One of the classics.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: The track "Lovesong" has been spelled as "Love Song" on some later Cure compilation albums.
  • 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).
  • One-Man Song: "Lullaby" mentions a cannibalistic "spiderman" at several points.
  • One-Word Title:
    • The album name "Disintegration"
    • The individual tracks, some of which are also Portmantitle:
      • The Title Track
      • "Plainsong,"
      • "Closedown,"
      • "Lovesong,"
      • "Lullaby,"
      • "Homesick,"
      • "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.
  • Re-Cut: Original LP copies of the album omitted "Last Dance" and "Homesick" due to space constraints. The band's previous album was already a double-album on vinyl, and by 1989, the music industry had shifted focus towards cassettes and CDs, exemplified by the full album's nearly 72-minute runtime.
  • 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"
    • "Lovesong".
  • Stock Sound Effects: "Prayers for Rain" ends with the sound effect of pouring rain.
  • Title Track: "Disintegration."
  • "Untitled" Title: "Untitled."