The Cure: Robert Smith (vocals, guitar); Lol Tolhurst (various instruments); Porl Thompson (guitar); Simon Gallup (keyboards, bass); Roger O'Donnell (keyboards); Boris Williams (drums).
Recorded at Outside Studios, Berkshire, England.
Expanding the latent arena rock sensibilities that peppered Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by slowing them down and stretching them to the breaking point, the Cure reached the peak of their popularity with the crawling, darkly seductive Disintegration. It's a hypnotic, mesmerizing record, comprised almost entirely of epics like the soaring, icy "Pictures of You." The handful of pop songs, like the concise and utterly charming "Love Song," don't alleviate the doom-laden atmosphere. The Cure's gloomy soundscapes have rarely sounded so alluring, however, and the songs -- from the pulsating, ominous "Fascination Street" to the eerie, string-laced "Lullaby" -- have rarely been so well-constructed and memorable. It's fitting that Disintegration was their commercial breakthrough, since, in many ways, the album is the culmination of all the musical directions the Cure were pursuing over the course of the '80s. [Disintegration was released on CD in 2010.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone (p.84) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he album's tension between masochistic experiment and big pop still blazes."
Entertainment Weekly (p.117) - "[T]his album of ultra-romantic synth dirges broke goths' cold hearts and became the Cure's biggest record." -- Grade: A
CMJ (1/6/03, p.15) - Included in CMJ's list of "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time"
CMJ (1/5/04, p.26) - Ranked #1 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1989"
Billboard (p.33) - "The nuances that Robert Smith and David M. Allen lent the final production -- warm tones, balanced tempos, cascading guitars -- saved the album's comforting gloom from becoming innocuous."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.110) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] work of tragic, ineffable beauty....[With] a sound of frosty, slo-mo grandeur, constructed around boomy drumming, flanged guitar and magisterial synths."
Paste (magazine) - "DISINTEGRATION is less a collection of epically needy songs and more the distillation of a specific feeling..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "It's a single, grand, dense, continual, epic trip into core stuff the Cure did well."