I recently had a very good friend discover the Cure. The catalog is vast and spans I think almost 4 Decades. Here are the albums that resonated with me the most.
I was fortunate to be born in the 70's and my teenage years aligning with the release of Disintegration. I was a fan after Standing on the Beach, but I was official with being hit with Disintegration. I absorbed this album. Front to back. I wrote high school essays on Plain Song. I recorded all the videos on VHS (Love Song, Pictures of You, Fascination Street). I started growing my hair out and dressing more and more 'cooler'.
A few years later WISH dropped. A very guitar-centric album - probably the biggest reason this was my favorite release and incarnation of The Cure. TONS of textured guitar parts with loads of effects. I read everything I could about the making of this album. My favorite is Robert Smith story is how he just went into the studio after dinner, stomped on a bunch of BOSS pedals and ripped off the solo for Edge of a Deep Green Sea in one take.
The lyrics are pretty awesome as well. Smith has always been known for his great poetry but Wish to me was his best work.
Could have been my parting years in high school, but this album really connected with me. Not as dark as Disintegration (which was a relief). It was dark in texture but not in theme. There was a bit of lighter air to this album. The Cure this formation was MY Cure. They just looked like the coolest MFs going. I had a friend who had this awesome t-shirt with the band standing in long wool coats with a snowman. That has always had a huge impact on me. I too had a long wool coat, my hair was now down to my shoulders and I could see myself playing on stage with the Cure.
The Cure was never quite the same for me after that album. Some members changed and the direction had changed. But so did I. Maybe that's why i'm not so keen on the later albums.
Blood Flowers came out a while back and was a re-visitation of Disintegration and Pornography. There was a cool concert they did where they played those 3 albums live back to back to back. What an undertaking. I liked Blood Flowers but it seemed more nostalgic in tone. Nothing would top WISH for me.