In 1989, the Cure’s eighth album, ‘Disintegration,’ made them stars. Its 1992 follow-up, ‘Wish,’ debuted at No. 2, their highest-showing ever. They were modern-rock heroes and gods as alt-nation conquered the mainstream. And then in 1996 they made ‘Wild Mood Swings,’ one of the messiest, laziest and all-around tedious albums of their long career. By the time 2000 rolled around, they were about ready to either tear it all down and rebuild or call it quits altogether. They chose the former.

‘Bloodflowers,’ which celebrates its 13th anniversary today, was hailed as a comeback for the Cure, who had lost some longtime members and inspiration during their most commercially successful decade. Leader Robert Smith wrote a set of songs that stylistically recalled the gloomier, keyboard-driven records the Cure made before they became modern-rock icons. And he’s said it’s one of three albums that best define the band. (The other two are ‘Disintegration’ and 1982’s ‘Pornography.’)

Still, the album takes some getting used to. The longer songs (half of its 10 tracks clock in at more than six minutes, with one dragging out for more than 11) build mood, but they require patience. And the LP’s two most accessible tracks, ‘Out of This World’ and ‘Maybe Someday,’ are more ‘Fascination Street’ moody than ‘Friday I’m in Love’ giddy.

Casual listeners immediately picked up on this. ‘Bloodflowers’ didn’t make it any higher than No. 16, and ‘Maybe Someday,’ the only song to receive airplay, stalled at No. 10 on the modern-rock chart. Four years later, Smith tried reinventing the band again with a self-titled album that emphasized noisy guitars over slinking synths, a trait continued on the Cure’s most recent record, 2008’s '4:13 Dream.' Neither did much to return the band to their 1992 peak. As it stands, 'Bloodflowers' could end up their final hurrah.

Listen to the Cure's 'Maybe Someday'

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