Mournful classic holds up
Disintegration is less a collection of epically needy songs and more the distillation of a specific feeling, namely the one in which you lay around sobbing into your pillow, scrawling wretched poetry into a Composition Notebook and maybe wearing a cape, depending on how awesome your mall was in 1989.
This spiffy 20th-anniversary edition is a reminder of the album’s delicate, droopy perfection—removed from The Cure’s late ’80s goth-takeover phase, it seems more approachable, even to people who now dress in color. That said, it’s odd to recall how little actually happens in these songs; for all their exquisite sweep, iconic tracks like “Pictures of You” and “Closedown” sure do go on with themselves. But who hasn’t suffered the pure, grand, exhausting-your-friends pain of “Plainsong,” or swooned desperately like Robert Smith in “Lovesong”? The frontman himself cleaned up the 12-track original for this reissue and the three-disc set includes a 20-track grab-bag of mostly-instrumental demos, rehearsals and scraps. Obsessives will be greatly rewarded; casual fans will enjoy the nostalgia, and almost everyone will Facebook some exes.