Monday, August 29, 2011

The Cure-Galore: The Singles 1987-1997

1997’s Galore: The Singles 1987-1997 is the Cure’s second full-length best-of compilation that preceded 1986’s Standing on a Beach/Staring at the Sea compilation that focused on the singles from 1979 to 1985. In Galore, the compilation focuses on the singles the Cure released from 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me to 1996’s Wild Mood Swings plus a brand new song written by the band’s leader Robert Smith entitled Wrong Number specifically made for the compilation. The result is a fantastic yet thrilling best-of album from the Cure.

The first four tracks are from 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me that had the band delving into their own style of Goth-pop as it’s one of their most accessible albums. Kicking the album off is the song Why Can’t I Be You? with its upbeat, new-wave style led by spurting guitars, bopping dance beats, and wailing synthesizers to play up Robert Smith’s wailing vocals. The ballad Catch with its soft yet hypnotic tone led by a soothing string and Porl Thompson’s arpeggio-laden guitar is one of the band’s key ballads. The upbeat love song Just Like Heaven is among one of the record’s highlights with its swooning synthesizers, flourishing guitars, and Smith’s evocative vocals. The single mix of Hot Hot Hot!!! with its swanky guitars, thumping rhythms, driving string arrangements, and Smith’s snarling vocals.

The next four tracks come from the band’s 1989 masterpiece Disintegration that harkens back to the band’s more darker sound of the early 1980s with a much broader sound in terms of guitar and keyboard textures. The ballad Lullaby kicks things off from that record with its slow, steady rhythm that is followed by plucking strings, fluid synthesizer swoons, and Smith’s whispering vocals to the song’s nightmarish lyrics. The single mix for Fascination Street with Simon Gallup’s intense bass playing, swirling guitars, pummeling beats and decaying lyrics provides one of the band’s key moments. Lovesong, which is the band’s biggest hit, is a soothing, mid-tempo track with heart wrenching lyrics about love that includes a soothing keyboard track. Pictures of You with its flourishing guitar arpeggios, somber keyboards, thumping rhythms, and Smith’s despaired vocals is another of the band’s highlights making it one of their key singles.

The next two tracks come from the 1990 remix album Mixed Up that includes a single mix of the hard-rocking Never Enough with its charging guitars, pummeling beats, and Smith’s angry lyrics as he sings with a great snarl. Next is an edited version of the Close to Me (Closest Mix) with a slower rhythm, soothing keyboards, and more horns in the track to play up its original, jazzy style. The next three tracks come from the band’s 1992 album Wish as the band balances the darkness of Disintegration with more simpler, pop elements that starts off with the single High with its arpeggio guitar and six-string bass melodies, bopping rhythms, and Smith’s evocative vocals. Friday I’m In Love with its melodic pianos, mid-tempo rhythms, driving guitars, and quirky lyrics is among one of the band’s most popular singles. The ballad A Letter to Elise with Smith’s despaired vocals, down-tempo rhythms, and clanging keyboard melodies is another of the band’s big hits proving they still can put out the ballads.

The next four tracks are from the 1996 album Wild Mood Swings where the band takes on a stylistic departure that includes the mariachi-laden The 13th that includes a swooning brass section, slow Latin rhythms, and Smith’s eccentric vocals. Mint Car, which is one of the band’s most underrated singles, is a song that has Smith singing very happy lyrics to its playful, upbeat style with melodic guitars and bopping beats. The mid-tempo dance of Strange Attraction with its clanging beats, sitar flourishes, and hypnotic dance rhythms is one of the band’s strangest tracks filled with weird lyrics. Gone! is another mid-tempo track that features a wailing brass section as well as slower rhythm along with Roger O’Donnell’s flourishing keyboards and Smith’s wailing vocals. The last track on the compilation is the new song Wrong Number that includes Jason Cooper’s pulsating beats with driving bass and guitars and flourishing keyboards that is followed by the charging guitars of Reeves Gabrels as Smith sings dark, humorous lyrics with his snarling vocals.

Released on October 28, 1997, the album was considered to be a great sequel to 1986’s Staring at the Sea/Standing on a Beach due to the hits it provided while Wrong Number was a hit in the U.S. Modern Rock charts. The album was also released with video collection for VHS at the time as it helped maintain the Cure’s popularity following the disappointing reaction towards Wild Mood Swings.

Galore is a superb best-of album from the Cure that features many of the band’s great singles from their most commercial period from 1987 to 1997. The compilation does serve as a great introduction to new fans while it’s best that it’s paired up with the 1986 album Standing on a Beach to get a more comprehensive collection of the Cure. Yet, the 2001 Greatest Hits collection does provide both periods though doesn’t feature as many singles that fans love. In the end, Galore is a thrilling compilation from the Cure.

© thevoid99 2011

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