After releasing The Top in 1984, a record that’s generally considered a low point in the band’s career, the Cure released The Head on the Door, a record that has a lasting presence. The mixture of gloom and glam was pulled off to a near science and proved to be a powerful hit-maker. The album brought a new, ominous component to modern rock in the ’80s that took people’s attention away from the jubilant elements of mainstream arena glam rock.
The Head on the Door was released in 1985, when people were looking for an outlet that expressed their inner thoughts, not masked them with booze and girls. These ten songs meshed the Cure’s lustrous dark tones with the mainstream production qualities of the time, bringing in a new crowd but not losing touch with their old fans. Unlike contemporary cock rock, Robert Smith wrote of love and despair, creating hits such as “Close to Me,” “A Night Like This” and opener “In Between Days.” The album’s multifaceted arrangements and studio effects (“Kyoto Song” and “Sinking”) helped coax the band’s career in the direction it needed to take.
Nearly twenty years later, the album’s longevity has been proven. This reissue (which accompanies reissues of a host of other Cure releases) includes seventeen additional tracks, including studio and home demos and live cuts. The new tracks don’t add much to the originals, but they do offer some insight into Robert Smith’s creative process.
To many, the Cure’s style of dark-melodic rock offered salvation from hair metal and overdone pop music. The Head on the Door left an impression on audiences much like grunge did in the early ’90s, but it didn’t steer them too far from their comfort zone. This was was an unexpected sensational album.
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