The Head on the Door

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The Head on the Door
The Cure - The Head on the Door.jpg
Studio album by The Cure
Released 26 August 1985
Recorded 1985 at Angel Studios in London, England
Genre
Length 37:46
Label
Producer
The Cure chronology
The Top
(1984)
The Head on the Door
(1985)
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
(1987)
Singles from The Head on the Door
  1. "In Between Days"
    Released: 15 July 1985
  2. "Close to Me"
    Released: 9 September 1985

The Head on the Door is the sixth studio album by English rock band The Cure, released in August 1985 on record label Polydor. Preceded by the single "In Between Days" which had reached number 15 on the UK singles chart,[3] The Head on the Door was described by Melody Maker as "a collection of pop songs".[4] With its variety of styles, it allowed the group to reach a wider audience in both Europe and North America. In the United Kingdom, it quickly became their most successful album to date, climbing to number seven on the albums chart.[3]

The album is the first to feature drummer Boris Williams. Bassist Simon Gallup, who had previously worked on three major Cure albums of the early 80's, was called back before the recording. In 1985, the band became a quintet with instrumentalist Porl Thompson as fifth official member. The Head on the Door is the first Cure album where all the songs are composed by singer and guitarist Robert Smith only.

History and music[edit]

This album marks the return of Simon Gallup in the group; he had performed and composed with Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst on the dark trilogy Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography. Guitarist Porl Thompson, who had played guitar during the very early days of the band, and also played keyboards and saxophone during The Top tour, became an official member. Drummer Boris Williams, who had previously worked with Thompson Twins, finally joined the formation after playing with the band during the US leg of the 1984's tour.

During the promotion, Smith stated that the record was inspired by the albums Kaleidoscope by Siouxsie and the Banshees and Dare by The Human League. He wanted the album to be eclectic with different styles and moods: "It reminds me of the Kaleidoscope album, the idea of having lots of different sounding things, different colours."[5] "Kyoto Song" contains an oriental hook while "The Blood" is played in a flamenco style.[6] The piano tune of "Six Different Ways" was previously used by Smith during his tenure with Siouxsie and the Banshees, for the single "Swimming Horses".[7] The last song of the album, "Sinking", was reminiscent of Faith-era while "Close to Me" was described as a "disco thing" by critics.[4] The opening track and first single, "In Between Days", was compared to New Order's material.[8] On "A Night Like This", there is a saxophone solo by Ron Howe from Fools Dance. The title of the album comes from a line in the chorus from the second and final single, "Close to Me".

Release, reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[9]
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[10]
Blender 4/5 stars[11]
Christgau's Record Guide B[12]
NME (1985) favourable[13]
Pitchfork Media 8.7/10[2]
Q 4/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[15]
Sounds 4/5 stars[8]
Spin 4/5 stars[16]

Released on 26 August 1985, The Head on the Door was the real first big international success for the band, entering notably the Top 75 in the US and reaching the Top 20 in numerous other countries.[17] This album is certified Gold in US, UK and France.

Upon its release, The Head on the Door was well received by the British press. In a very favourable review, Melody Maker hailed the "liberty" that Smith took to conceive a multifaceted record.[4] Chris Roberts of Sounds said that it "makes you wish more pop stars were hip enough to stay in bed all day".[8] Record Mirror reviewer Andy Strickland wrote that The Head on the Door "may lack the swirls of chorused guitar that many adore, but there's a wider more mature musical approach".[7] NME wrote: "it's quite pop" and "tunes abound".[13] In December 1985, The Head on the Door was named the best album of the year by Melody Maker.[18]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic noted that The Head on the Door marked a new musical direction for The Cure, with Smith managing to make the band's trademark "gloom and doom" style both "danceable and popular", while also noting that its inventive arrangements "give the album a musical depth previous efforts lacked".[9] Tom Doyle of Q wrote that the album found Smith "bridging the brooding of yore with their recent pop highs".[14] Pitchfork said: it is the band's "most focused pop album" and "a tight, terrific package."[2]

The album was namechecked by Billy Corgan. "A Night Like This" was covered by Corgan's band The Smashing Pumpkins with James Iha on vocals, and released on their 1995 "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" single.

Reissue[edit]

In 2006, the album was re-released by Universal on their Fiction Records/Polydor Records labels, digitally remastered with various demos and live tracks from the era. Included are demos of the four B-sides from the era ("The Exploding Boy", "A Few Hours After This", "A Man Inside My Mouth" and "Stop Dead") and four songs that were never released. The remaining tracks are demos or live versions of all 10 songs from the first disc. It was released 8 August in the U.S. (where the album was instead released by Rhino Entertainment/Elektra Records) and 14 August in the UK. One of the four new songs, "Mansolidgone" is similar both musically and lyrically to another demo, "A Hand Inside My Mouth" (not to be confused with "A Man Inside My Mouth") which appeared on The Top Deluxe Edition. The lyrics to both songs, and the uncovered demo "Lime Time", have lyrics which would be later used in the songs "In Between Days" and "Six Different Ways."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Robert Smith.

No. Title Length
1. "In Between Days"   2:57
2. "Kyoto Song"   4:16
3. "The Blood"   3:43
4. "Six Different Ways"   3:18
5. "Push"   4:31
6. "The Baby Screams"   3:44
7. "Close to Me"   3:23
8. "A Night Like This"   4:16
9. "Screw"   2:38
10. "Sinking"   4:57

Personnel[edit]


  • Ron Howe – saxophone on "A Night Like This"
  • David M. Allen – production
  • Howard Gray – production on "Kyoto Song"

Charts[edit]

Chart (1985–86) Peak
position
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[19] 3
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[20] 15
Italian Albums (FIMI)[21] 96
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[22] 11
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 24
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 14
UK Albums (OCC)[3] 7
US Billboard 200[24] 59

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[25] 2× Gold 200,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lipkin, Gregg (23 April 2010). "Masters of the Form: The Cure, 1985 – The Head on the Door". PopMatters. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Abebe, Nitsuh (25 August 2006). "The Cure / Robert Smith: The Top / The Head on the Door / Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me / Blue Sunshine". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Cure | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Sutherland, Steve (31 August 1985). "Head Case". Melody Maker. 
  5. ^ Sutherland, Steve (17 August 1985). "A Suitable Case for Treatment". Melody Maker. 
  6. ^ "Cure". Trouser Press. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Strickland, Andy (31 August 1985). "The Cure: The Head on the Door". Record Mirror. 
  8. ^ a b c Roberts, Chris (31 August 1985). "Sox Appeal". Sounds. 
  9. ^ a b Sendra, Tim. "The Head on the Door – The Cure". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Gray, Christopher (25 August 2006). "Speak & Spell, Music for the Masses, Violator, The Top, The Head on the Door, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Psychocandy, Darklands, Automatic, Honey's Dead, Stoned & Dethroned". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Wolk, Douglas (20 September 2005). "The Cure: The Head on the Door". Blender. Archived from the original on 23 November 2005. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Cure: The Head on the Door". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Snow, Mat (31 August 1985), "Our Man 'Still Awake' Shock", NME 
  14. ^ a b Doyle, Tom (September 2006). "Born Again". Q (242): 118. 
  15. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 205–06. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  16. ^ Dolan, Jon (September 2006). "Reissues". Spin. 22 (9): 107. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – The Cure – The Head on the Door". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Albums of the year". Melody Maker. 21 December 1985. 
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Cure – The Head on the Door" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Cure – The Head on the Door" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Italiancharts.com – The Cure – The Head on the Door". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Cure – The Head on the Door". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Cure – The Head on the Door". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  24. ^ "The Cure – Chart history" Billboard 200 for The Cure. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  25. ^ "French album certifications – The Cure – The Head on the Door" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 16 June 2016.  Select THE CURE and click OK
  26. ^ "British album certifications – Cure". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 June 2016.  Enter Cure in the field Search. Select Artist in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  27. ^ "American album certifications – The Cure – The Head on the Door". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 16 June 2016.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]