Why ‘Disintegration’ Is the Cure’s Greatest Album of All Time

The 1980s were a great time for The Cure. The band managed to find the right balance between their goth rock leanings and a more pop-focused sound. However, frontman Robert Smith wasn’t particularly happy with the situation. With an existential crisis looming over his past discography and a newfound interest in taking LSD regularly, Smith decided to push the band backward, rather than forward. One would think this might lead to the band’s downfall. In a way, it did. In 1989, The Cure produced the greatest album of their career, Disintegration.

Videos by American Songwriter

‘Disintegration’ Is Proof That Reversing May Be What a Band Needs To Thrive

Disintegration was the brainchild of Robert Smith and producer David M. Allen. Smith was determined to move away from the pop sound that made them so popular in the late 1980s, and the result was still (unfortunately?) quite popular. At that point in their career, Disintegration had become their highest-charting record. It hit no. 3 on the UK Albums chart as well as no. 12 on the Billboard US 200. The track “Lovesong” was the biggest hit from the album at hit no. 2 on the Hot 100.

Today, Disintegration is still the band’s highest-selling record. More than four million copies have been sold around the world, and critics praised the record for its intelligence and musical direction.

Naturally, Smith wasn’t entirely thrilled about it. “Despite my best efforts, [The Cure] became everything that I didn’t want us to become: a stadium rock band,” he said at the time.

Despite his feelings about the now massive popularity of the band, The Cure embarked on the 1989 Prayer Tour to promote the album.

An Incredible Album and the Downfall of an Incredible Band

According to Smith, touring to promote the album caused the band to (ironically) disintegrate.

“Most of the relationship with the band outside of the band fell apart,” he said. “Calling it ‘Disintegration’ was kind of tempting fate, and fate retaliated. The family idea of the group really fell apart too after ‘Disintegration’. It was the end of a golden period.”

The massiveness of the tour eventually caused a bit of a breakdown for Smith, which caused  him to him threaten the band’s future and also caused bitter feuds between the band members. The cocaine use didn’t help, either. Once the tour was up, the band didn’t release another official studio album until 1992. And quite a few members had been replaced.

Disintegration might be The Cure’s best album, but was it worth the band imploding and the end of a “golden period”? That’s up to the fans to decide.

Photo by Vinnie Zuffante

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Leave a Reply

Singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn performs on stage during the CMA 2016 Country Christmas on November 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

3 Controversial Country Songs That Shook Up the Genre

Photo of Dennis Wilson

4 Underrated Rock Musicians Who Only Released One Album