i hadn’t heard it in quite awhile, but last night while doing some thumbnails i popped in the cure’s “disintegration” album. last year i bought a sweet set of sony dj-headphones: big fat leaky headphones with great range. i bought them in china so i’m sure they probably aren’t even sony, but they still sound great. so i decided to get reacquainted with the album on the new ‘phones.
i had a big ol' poster of the full album cover art in my bedroom. wish i'd kept it, i could earn a mint on ebay, probably. their album art took a decidedly downward turn from here.
disintegration was released in early 1989. i was 14 still and in my sophomore year of high school. i had just finished my first attempt at painting, ever, in acrylics. while i remember it as being sort of the soundtrack to all of highschool, in reality it played a very prominent role for about a year (a year of highschool does feel like a lifetime, though). it’s still one of my favorite albums, even if it doesn’t see play all that much as other bands and albums have crowded my playlist.
so i’m sitting there listening to the overpowering rumble of “plainsong” the album’s opening track, at high volume (the only way to hear that track, really) when i almost fell out of my chair….disintegration is 17 years old. 17…years…old. i remember the day i bought the album, on cassette. i was newly into the cure, really, and mainly familiar with their singles collection, “staring at the sea” i wasn’t overly familiar with their newer stuff and certainly not a lot of their darker stuff. i went for a walk to the corner store with it in my walkman. i remember hearing plainsong for the first time and after growing up on 80’s pop i recall just not getting it. it didn’t make musical sense to me. it didn’t take long for it to click, however, and the rest is history.
but really, 17 years? indeed. it was one of those moments when you realize what year it is again, and how old you really are. it’s hard to feel old when you’re only 31, but i definitely felt like i’d crossed a generational chasm. i mean, kids that were born on that fateful day in may when i bought the album are now juniors and seniors in high school. wow, just…wow.
i still didn’t really get the meaning of this gap. so i tried to imagine being 14 again, in 1989, and what i felt and thought about music done 17 years before—music that came out in 1972. before i was born, no less! in 1972, david bowie’s ziggy stardust, and the eagle’s debut album were released…. now, considering that late 70’s music already sounded dated to me at the time, (not to mention how the eagles already sounded!) i can only imagine what disintegration would sound like, today, to a 14 or 17 year old growing up with kaiser chiefs.
i’ve lived in a musical continuum from then through now, still keeping in touch with new music as best i can, so when i listened to it it didn’t seem dated or whatever, although it could use a remastering. but i’m sure that if you took out the 90’s from your musical knowledge and compared it to stuff being done today it’d be quite a departure.
the concert for that tour was amazing. another band i came to greatly like but who were short-lived, shelleyan orphan, opened. plainsong was the first song of the set and i recall it rumbling in my chest, back before the shoreline amphitheater started regulating sound levels. my wife was out there in the audience too, but we weren’t to formally meet for another couple of weeks yet.