Friday, September 2, 2011

The Cure-Greatest Hits

Greatest Hits is the Cure’s third full-length best-of compilation release that features many of the Cure’s hit singles. This time around, the tracks are chosen by the band’s leader Robert Smith as he picks sixteen (seventeen for the U.K. release) hits from the band’s more than 20-year career remastered for the compilation plus two new songs. The release also includes an additional disc of the same songs performed acoustically the then-current line-up of Smith, bassist Simon Gallup, guitarist Perry Bamonte, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell, and drummer Jason Cooper plus former drummer Boris Williams on percussions. The result is a superb best-of release from the Cure.

Opening the album is the upbeat Boys Don’t Cry with its bopping rhythms, driving guitars, and melancholic lyrics while a shortened version of A Forest shows the band embracing a dark sound with its ominous keyboards and Simon Gallup’s sturdy bass lines. The next three tracks are the new-wave inspired non-LP singles for the quirky Let’s Go to Bed, the electro-dance of The Walk, and the jazz-inspired The Lovecats which shows the band embracing pop music after moving away from dark, heavy Goth music. The next two singles from 1985’s The Head on the Door with the brimming, new-wave inspired Inbetween Days and the mid-tempo yet rhythmic Close to Me that features wailing horns for its single mix.

From 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me comes two of the band’s popular singles that includes the upbeat, synthesizer-wailing Why Can’t I Be You? and the evocative love song Just Like Heaven with its rich arpeggio guitars, somber synthesizers, and mesmerizing lyrics. The next two tracks from 1989’s Disintegration show the band returning to its darker, Gothic roots such as the creepy yet lush Lullaby and the heart wrenching Lovesong with its rich production and swooning keyboards. The hard-rocking Never Enough shows the band embracing full-on rock while the ethereal High has the Cure meshing their flourishing Goth sound with pop elements. The upbeat Friday I’m In Love has the band going full-on pop as one of the band’s more quirky upbeat songs to the more whimsical Mint Car that is really one of the band’s more underrated singles.

Wrong Number, from the 1997 compilation Galore, has the Cure experimenting with electronic music as it includes a wailing guitar solo from former David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrel. The next two tracks are the new songs the band put for this compilation with the first being Cut Here. The mid-tempo song with pulsating beats, swooning synthesizers, wobbly bass lines, and driving guitars is truly a superb song with Smith’s heart wrenching vocals filled with lyrics of loss and reflection. The second is Just Say Yes is a more electronic-driven track with swirling sitar melodies, flourishing keyboards, and an upbeat yet dance-driven rhythm as it features eerie yet eccentric lyrics as Smith sings through a warbled vocal mix.

The second disc includes all of the songs that appear in the first disc performed acoustically by the band plus former drummer Boris Williams, from the band’s period from 1985 to 1994, providing additional percussions as they perform the songs live in a studio. Many of the songs are given faithful renditions for these acoustic performances with Roger O’Donnell playing a harmonium and piano to maintain the stripped-down approach to the songs. For the electronic-driven stuff like Let’s Go to Bed and The Walk, the use of the harmonium and Williams’ additional percussion add more dimension to these songs. The Lovecats maintains its jazzy vibe while the additional cymbals and clanging percussions that Williams add help bring out the faithfulness of the song.

The acoustic performances are truly inspiring and lively as it allows Smith to be humorous as he talks a bit during the final moments of Close to Me. The overall presentation of these songs really show a wonderful dynamic to the Cure as it’s something fans will enjoy.

Released on November 21, 2001, the album was released in two different versions as the U.K. version included an extra track in The Caterpillar in the set as the release was well-received with fans and critics. Notably for the second disc in its acoustic set which was something Smith feel the fans would love. With rumors about the band disbanding still swirling around the record’s release, the album did mark the end of the Cure’s relationship with Fiction Records after being with the label for more than 20 years.

Greatest Hits is a wonderful best-of collection from the Cure as the acoustic disc gives something for the hardcore fans to enjoy. The record itself serves as a wonderful introduction to audiences new to the band as it provides many hits from the band’s career though previous compilations like Staring at the Sea and Galore cover more ground with the other songs that aren’t in the collection. In the end, Greatest Hits is an excellent best-of collection from the Cure.

© thevoid99 2011

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