Classics Revisited: All Breakups Are Excruciating

thecure-disintegrationThe year was 2003. I had just been dumped by my high school girlfriend. Sure, we were all set to go to different colleges in just a few months, but we were supposed to have an amazing summer together. Evidently, she had other ideas. I was about as distraught as an 18-year old could be. After all, this was true love, and my world was literally falling apart. Of course, looking back, it wasn’t and it wasn’t. All former teenagers (so, everyone that didn’t die when they were a teenager) have a long list of behaviors they wish they could erase or situations that they would redo. It’s part of stumbling through adolescence as a disgusting and ungainly creature that is unfit for decent human society. The moment that always stuck out for me, (and the one that I remember vividly almost 14 years later) was the moment that, while driving my car to meet my mother and aunt, I suddenly began hysterically sobbing so much that I had to pull over. At the very least, this incredibly embarrassing thing happened to me when I was alone. I wouldn’t call myself an “easy crier,” but the moment was significantly helped along by the very first album I put on (and the first album I always put on after a break-up), The Cure‘s 1989 classic Disintegration. 

I can even remember the specific song that was playing when I started crying. We were about a minute into “Pictures of You.” It’s amazing that album opener “Plainsong” didn’t do it, given the cinematic quality of the track.

Disintegration is not a backyard barbecue record. It’s filled with emotional and dramatic songs chronicling the end of a relationship from every conceivable angle. Basically, the album presents a bunch of different shades of sadness. Some of them lean more toward toward yearning (“Love Song”), while some display a more bitter, world-weary sentiment (“Fascination Street.”)

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In my personal life, no matter who initiated the breakup or what the circumstances were,  Disintegration is always the first record to go on. It explores the ties between people and how those ties break, and it does this so thoroughly that the album works as kind of palate cleanser for me. I get all the dark stuff out of my system and eventually go back out into the cruel and weird outside world. Plus, the album is incredibly well-produced and performed; it sounds clear and crisp more than 25 years later.

Robert Smith knows what it’s like out there, andhe was able to spin real human despair into some deep and layered classics that still provoke intense emotion to this day.

Check it out, right?

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