Disintegration (1989) :: The Cure
1989 was a pretty big year in my life full of changes, risks, adventures, love, loss, heartache and a heap load of personal evolution. I was fighting hard to break the mold that was half self-created and half foisted upon me, a personality gleaned from being good at school, painfully shy, withdrawn due to insecurities and an abusive homelife, and the mark of being a girl who preferred to stay home listening to records, dyeing her hair and losing herself in books. That girl was lonely though, overlooked and neglected, and hungry for living and experiencing as someone else.
The road to experience and change was not always one of good choices, or forethought, and often I found myself overwhelmed in a wave of consequences and reactions, but most of the time I persisted and embraced who I was turning into. There were days though when my heart took quite a beating, and the naive girl in me who was doing so many things haphazardly and without past expertise, would fall hard and be so very wrong about things, and people, and who she should give herself to.
On one particular heartache of a day I lay on my bed listening to Disintegration, over and over and over again. I lay there crying most of the time, with the telephone in close proximity, waiting for it to ring, but knowing that it would not. I had trusted a boy who I was wrong about, and the things he promised me, well, I sat there with proof that they were lies hitting me head, or maybe heart, first. It is an age old story, girl being stood up, girl never hearing from the boy again, girl feeling stupid and heartbroken and alone, but no matter how many girls, and boys (because they get stood up and broken hearted and lied to, too) , have gone through it, that first time it happens, well, it feels like it may kill you.
On that day this album was both my codependent partner in pain and the comfort to let it all out and let it go. I have many other memories and moments with this album, my personal favorite of The Cure’s, but this is the strongest memory, and the first that always and ever comes to mind when I listen to the album in its entirety. Following are my three sentence reflections on each song, some associated with the girl who was stood up story, and some from other times and places, and remembers. I hope you sit back, push play, and feel something with each song, like I do.
There was a boy who used to come and go from my existence, impossible to define completely, impossible to pin down for very long. But, when he would land in my proximity he brought with him an energy and a glow, and this electricity, that was rare and nearly indescribable. He had the most unforgettable smile, and an earth shattering way of kissing that felt as if it would steal away my breath, and life, everytime our lips collided.
Pictures of You
There is a box of photographs that I have tucked away in an oversized shoebox from a pair of suede boots I had back when I was in my very early twenties. The box is up in the highest of high shelves, shoved towards the back, in the cold in the Winter months and miserably hot in the Summertime garage. It still hurts to look at pictures of us, of you, of me, together, and you still very much alive, lost yes, always lost, but still living in this world.
That day I wrote about above, this song would choke me up everytime it got to the part lyrically that sang “if only I could fill my heart with love.” I was longing for a remarkable, breathtaking, hear-stopping, hopelessly falling for you kind of love and instead I had messed around with a boy who spouted out lyrics and love words without meaning any of them. This would be a life-lesson, a trip and fall kind of learning, and I would get up again and try again and fall again, of course, but that day I felt nothing but broken, sad, and empty hearted.
It was a few years later and this song had hit overplayed on the radio, turning a sweet with a side of longing kind of love song into something that started to feel terribly overwraught and contrived. But that day at the beach, with you and a guitar, singing this song to me, it felt beautiful and meaningful, real and true and as if I was hearing it for the very first time. Funny what love can do to a lovesong/love song.
I never thought we would speak again, cross each other’s path again, or know each other to any extent, again. For so long you had been a memory that somewhere along the line turned into a fantasy, wrapped up in the ever elusive one that got away regret. For a moment it stopped me, gave me pause, made me think on all those what if’s that I had carried around for so very long, but then I rubbed my eyes, I looked around at my life, and I realized that I was a girl then, and you were just a boy that I never truly got to know, and it could never, ever be anything like what I remembered, and later imagined, us to be.
This song feels like a nightmare, or a kind of psychological break that can divide what seems real, and what actually is reality, into some kind of a fractured haze. I have seen this kind of split happened, have held someone’s hand through it and watched the collapse, the confusion and the way it sometimes seemed they were being devoured by it all right there, next to me. This song is sometimes feels frightening to me, and other times it just is very, very sad for me to hear.
The year was spent running around at night, in the streets of Hollywood, staying up well into the next day, many days in a row. I somehow managed school and a full-time job, as well, though I am well aware how my education suffered because of it. I was ever so tired of the valedictorian I had once been, and should have probably put off college for a year, or two.
Prayers for Rain
I stood outside in the cold, the rain drenching my clothes, soaking through them straight to my pale skin. Everyone else was still inside dancing and laughing and enjoying the evening. You had left me on the curb, left me there a different girl than I had been merely an hour before, and I stood there shivering, silently deciding to myself in the cold rain that I would never tell anyone what you had done, to me.
The Same Deep Water As You
I used to block out the sounds of the house, and of his presence in it, with music turned up loudly, headphones covering each ear, my eyes closed so tightly that tears began to form at the corners. Some nights I would fall asleep like that, albeit briefly, with my arms crossing over my body, trying to shield myself from harm. Some nights later, long after he was gone from us, he still haunted my dreams, keeping me sleepless and shaking, music the only thing that would soothe me, at all.
Someday I want to write about songs that share title’s with albums, and what significance, if any, they hold. But for now I will note that this song reminds me of endings, of break-ups, and of the various emotions and thoughts and conflictions that one goes through when one is ending something that was once significant, and beautiful. The song itself feels cathartic and chaotic, a whirlwind of so much emotion.
One of those songs that will always make me cry. We had hopes and a home, and something to hold on to, something real and tangible, something we had both craved for our entire lives. Maybe we were always far too broken to keep it together, maybe we were both too broken to ever fix.
Arguably one of the best last songs on an album ever, and most certainly one of my all-time favorites. This song has become my favorite on the album over the years, as well. It reminds me of a memory, of a boy, of a kiss by a pool, of a moment, of a fantasy, and of what might have been, but never was.