The Cure – The head on the door (1985)

Eyeliner and mascara

I started to really listen to The Cure in 1985, and the path to my cure was through the head on the door.

At the time, back home in Skövde, I had started to hang with a new crowd. Boys and girls with eyeliner, mascara and hair standing up, helped by regular soap bars. Some brands of soap, with the exact right amount of water, could be used to get the long hair to stand right up and up into the night. The crowd listened to Joy Division, The Cure and The Beatles. I joined, bringing a love for David Bowie. The meetings were fruitful in multiple ways.

Today, “The head on the door” is a true classic filled to the brim with one great song after the other. Back then it was a step in the evolution of Robert Smith’s music. The grim feeling of the trio of bleak “depp rock” albums from the early eighties had been replaced by a mix of happier pop songs with some more melancholic tunes.

“In between days” is a perfect up-tempo song to open the album. “Six different ways” remind me about the feeling of “The Top”. “Push” is maybe a sign of things to come on the following album “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me”, even though “Push” is a little happier in tone. “The baby screams” is more of a basic rock song and one of the songs that feels most at home for The Cure in 1985.

“In between days” may be the most famous song from the album, but the song people remember most from the videos should be “Close to me”. It had the fantastic music video with the whole band bunched up together inside a smallish closet that is pushed over the edge down in the roaring ocean. This was the era when bands really made an effort with the music videos. I love the added brass section, a trumpet!

The two songs that I always had a little problem with when I was younger was the unwelcoming “The blood” and “Screw”. I like these songs much more nowadays. They are maybe a little more mature? Anyway, I like the sheer brutality of “Screw” and the strangeness of “The Blood”. Are we at the circus?

The three songs I loved the most are the mellow melancholic ones. “Kyoto song” is like a sister of “Siamese twins” from “Pornography”. It gives me the shivers, nightmarish, a very sad and lonely feeling. Robert’s lyrics are sometimes hard to understand. As many of my favourite bands the songs are hard to unlock. “A night like this” is another one that seems sad to me. It also has a unique feeling and this production could only have been released in the mid-eighties. It is a live favourite. The last song of the album may be the best. “Sinking” is a fantastic song about the fears of getting old and fade away. The drums, bass, guitar and synth all join in a perfect union. Robert’s voice is soft, but the words are full of dread and it speaks to me, adding to my own fears. Quite lovely really.

My rating: 8.5/10

Side A:

  1. In between days
  2. Kyoto song
  3. The blood
  4. Six different ways
  5. Push

Side B:

  1. The baby screams
  2. Close to me
  3. A night like this
  4. Screw
  5. Sinking

Best songs: “Sinking”, “A night like this”, “Kyoto song”, “In between days”

Produced by: Robert Smith and David M. Allen

Media: Remastered 180 gram vinyl reissued, Europe, 2008. Series “Back to black”

Released: August 13, 1985

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