Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Cure - The Top

Today (April 22nd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of The Top, the fifth studio album from the Cure. Here in the US, it spent four weeks on the Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 180. Around the globe, it did much better; it went to number 55 in Australia, number 31 in Sweden, number 23 in New Zealand, number 12 in the Netherlands and number 10 in the UK.

Side one starts with "Shake Dog Shake", a dark and heavy groove about moving on to something and someone new.

I like the pronounced guitars on the up-beat "Bird Mad Girl". I am not sure, though, just where those lyrics are going.

"Wailing Wall" has an exotic mood as the lyrics reflect upon the landmark of the same in name in Jerusalem.

"Give Me It" is very abrupt and angry, both in the lyrics and the music. The song has a very punk sound to it.

"Dressing Up" shifts gears again, going to a lighter pop genre.

Side two opens with "The Caterpillar". As a single, it went to number 51 in Australia, number 35 in the Netherlands, number 20 in Ireland and number 14 in the UK. I do not recall hearing much of this one back in the day, but it does play a good bit these days on SiriusXM's First Wave channel. The effects with the piano, percussion and other instruments at the beginning really give the impression of a creepy, crawling bug.

Next up is the mid-tempo "Piggy in the Mirror". Here too, I enjoyed the music though the lyrics have me at a total loss.

"The Empty World" is propelled by a military march while the lyrics tell of a female soldier in a war.

"Bananafishbones" has an odd title and an up-tempo funk groove.

The title track "The Top" closes the record. At nearly seven minutes in length, it is the longest track on the release. The slower, plodding rhythm makes it feel every bit of that time.

Except for the single, most of The Top was totally new to me with the listen for this review. I was not really into the Cure back in my early college days when this was released. There is no denying that the guys from the Cure were experimenting with different styles and sounds here, and that keeps things interesting for the listener. There wasn't, however, anything here that urged me to immediately pick it up. I think it is one of those albums that require a few listens to help with that decision point.

No comments: