"Inconsistent" is the right word for Head on the Door. That makes sense - Robert Smith and his homies had just tired of their horribly scary goth posturing (Faith, Pornography) and were searching for a new style. Head on the Door is a very strange venture into dance-pop.
It's certainly something, and there's no other Cure album quite like it. The first track takes on New Order at their own game (and beats them), another ("The Blood") has a distinctly Spanish sound (the song is about a Spanish wine), and so forth. Every song is different. In some cases, we already begin to see the development of The Cure's future trappings - "Push" and some others have the same otherworldly guitars that would later become the band's signature style, "Close to Me" has a synth lead very much like the later "Lovesong," and so on. While the music is almost always great, however, Smith's voice occasionally is not up to par - it may be just under-rehearsal (most of the tracks here went on the album after the first take).
Anyways, the best moments are decidedly "Push," "A Night Like This" and "Sinking." The worst are "Close To Me" and "Screw," the latter probably being the most embarrassing Cure song ever. The rest are good while they're playing, but ultimately forgettable. When the album hits its high points, though, make no mistake - it shines very brightly. It closes with "Sinking," making a wonderful parting impression that serves to erase the bewilderment (as in "um...why is this on here?") brought on by, say, "Screw." I recommend it for Cure fans who are interested in tracking the band's musical development (or for Cure fans, period) - it's really not a very accurate introduction to the Cure for those who know nothing about them. Get Wish, and if you like it, by all means get this CD. If not, well, you probably shouldn't.