The Head On the Door
The Cure’s Robert Smith lucked out with perfect timing. Just as “alternative rock” was establishing itself as a market, due in part to a growing college radio network that could handle the quirks that terrified commercial, mainstream radio, Robert Smith was writing the most accessible material of his career. Here was a man who had been growing darker by the day, when he suddenly found his lighter side with a series of singles (“The Love Cats,” “Let’s Go to Bed”). But Smith had yet to find a way to bring it to the album format until 1985’s The Head on the Door solved that by subduing Smith’s excesses towards ornate instrumentation and over-emotive vocals with quick, concise pop tunes that still managed a terrifying clamour. “In Between Days,” “A Night Like This” and “Close to Me” virtually define the sweet and sour romance of Smith’s synth-laden, guitar-propelled Goth-pop and the teen angst he mirrored. “Kyoto Song” and “Sinking” serve as epics in miniature, employing the lessons of previous Cure albums but in more economical terms. Pure pop for Goth people.