Pitchfork recently reviewed the reissue of The Cure’s Disintegration, and — surprise, surprise — gave it a perfect 10 (and bestowed upon it “best new reissue” status). This particular portion of the review jumped out at me (emphasis mine):
This is the thing: The album has a reputation as some huge, dark, crushingly depressive experience. It’s not entirely unearned. If you want to be crushingly depressed with Disintegration, or frustrated, or self-loathing, it’ll embrace you right back. But it’ll embrace other things, too. A whole lot of this album’s appeal is that it’s comforting, practically womblike — big, warm, slow, full of beauty and melody and even joy. The trick, I think, is how well it serves as a soundtrack to that feeling that everything around you is meaningful, whether it’s beautiful or horrible or sublime: This is an album for capital-R Romantics, not sulkers. It’s muscular (like on the title track), wistful (“Pictures of You”), ghostly (“Closedown”), seething (“Fascination Street”), and yeah, morose, but what’s striking is how each of those qualities can reach really, really far into your gut. It’s not a record for the dead-inside: Get far enough into this album, and I will almost guarantee you will feel some shit.
I think that phrase sums up quite nicely what I enjoy about The Cure’s music, and why I’ve kept listening to them long after the heady days of high school. Sure, there are many instances where Robert Smith and Co. have over-emoted themselves into absurdity, but the sheer melodramatic big-ness of their music also means that there are just as many sublime moments within their music, if not more.
It also explains why there are countless bands who have obviously been inspired by The Cure, and even aped their sound, but why no-one else still, to this day, really sounds like The Cure.