The Head on the Door is the sixth studio album from The Cure. The album was released in 1985 following up on the 1984 record The Top.
The Top had mostly been recorded by only Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst with Andy Anderson on drums. During this time (from late 1982-1984) Robert Smith had also toured, written, and recorded with Siouxsie and the Banshees. He is also featured on the live album Nocturne as well along with other albums such as Hyaena. Robert also took part in the project The Glove with drummer Steve Severin while Siouxsie and Budgie worked on their Creatures project.
For the Head on the Door album, Simon Gallup returned to the band on bass guitar. He had previously been with the group for Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography. Porl Thompson joined on guitar as well along with Boris Williams on drums. Lol Tolhurst also continued with the band on keyboards.
This album stands out for me because of its variety in style and its consistency in quality. I feel strongly there is not a bad song among these ten tracks.
From the instantly hooky “In Between Days” to “The Blood” which is played in a flamenco style. Then you’ve got “Six Different Ways” which uses the same piano riff he had written for the Siouxsie and the Banshees song “Swimming Horses.” Other songs such as “Sinking” recall earlier works such as “Faith” or “Seventeen Seconds.”
Lyrically, the album is intriguing with lines such as “I am mesmerized by the blood of Christ,” “I love it when the baby screams,” “I’ve been away too long this time and its got too big to fit this time.”
So, I think after a rather stressful time for Smith, the band returned with a very strong album that pushed them further into the mainstream which led to a surge in popularity, and success into the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s.
For that reason, this album remains my favorite by the band as well as being the first album that made me a fan in the first place.
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