The Cure – The top (1984)

Please come back, all of you

Back in 1984 whilst in high school, I found new friends. It brought happier times and life long friends, but also an inflow of new musical influences. The Cure was one of the bands I discovered via Per and Anders and the other guys in the pack I started to run with.

I immediately fell in love with The Cure and hastily checked out their back catalogue. The new album was “The top”. It was not my favourite. After the stellar debut album they followed it up with three dark and really depressing albums, it was glorious, it was depp-rock. I still love that trio; “Seventeen seconds”, “Faith” and “Pornography”. After an off year that only produced a mini-album heavily influenced by New Order they came out with this bridge album before another impressive run of four albums beginning with “The head on the door”.

It’s not that “The top” doesn’t have any great tracks, it’s more that the album don’t give me a sense of completeness. It is too uneven. “Shake dog shake” is a great first track and a song that have kick-started many concerts. “Bird mad girl” is a nice an peculiar little song. “Wailing wall” is like a left-over from “Pornography”, dark, slow, threatening and wailing. 

Then we get to “Give me it”. This song starts a trend where Robert include at least one angry post-punk track on each album. I am divided. I generally don’t like them on the albums as they tend to break the flow and overall feeling. But they can also be great in concerts and on their own.  “Give me it” is an angry, hate-sex song. Suck harder, suck harder. It actually sort of “cock blocks” the last song on the first side, one of the albums best tracks – “Dressing up”. That is a pity. The order of songs could maybe have been improved!

The second side is jump started with “The caterpillar” girl. A quirky song that gives hints on the direction Robert was moving in at the time, that is towards “The head on the door”. It is clear that he was evolving his song writing.  Also “Piggy in the mirror” gives a completely new feeling. This album is very interesting! I may have been too quick to deem it “only” a bridge album. It is quite complex and demanding, and I like it much more than I expected.

“The empty world” has always been a favourite from the album. This song reminds me of one of the best from Pornography “Siamese twins”. Can you hear it? Here we get militaristic drums over a simple tune played on the synthesiser and Roberts sad voice.

“Bananafishbones” is another song that is much better now than what I remembered. It may have to do with the stellar sound quality of the vinyl I am playing. I got the 2016 reissue on 180 grams remastered by the man himself, Robert Smith. A lovely clear and defined sound picture.

As he did on all the first five albums the last song on the record is the title track. Those songs use to be challenging but very good. It is the same here. A heavy atmosphere, Robert’s voice filled with dread. Slow and melancholic. All the things I love with The Cure. Best to be played in the middle of the night.

Clearly much better than I  remembered!

My rating: 8/10

Side A:

  1. Shake dog shake
  2. Bird mad girl
  3. Wailing wall
  4. Give me it
  5. Dressing up

Side B:

  1. The caterpillar
  2. Piggy in the mirror
  3. The empty world
  4. Bananafishbones 
  5. The top

Best songs: “Dressing up”, “The empty world”, The caterpillar” and “Shake dog shake”

Released on May 22nd, 1984

Media:Vinyl, Reissue 2016, Remastered, 180g

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