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4.6 out of 5 stars
Staring At The Sea - The Singles
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2001
"Staring at the Sea" is a collection of singles from the band's albums from "Three Imaginary Boys" (released in America as "Boys Don't Cry," with a few variations) in 1979 up through "Head on the Door" in 1985. This album provides a fine panorama of the Cure's progression from a power (punk) trio (Killing an Arab, Boys Don't Cry), through the heavily synthesized sounds of Faith (Other Voices), the gothic, drum machine of Pornography (The Hanging Garden), to the Cure's most complex (and commercially successful) arrangements in Head on the Door (Inbetween Days, Close to Me). New fans will instantly fall in love with Boys Don't Cry, Love Cats, Caterpillar, Inbetween Days and Close to Me. "Killing an Arab" was the band's first single, and despite its name, is merely an adaptation of Albert Camus' "The Stranger," not a reflection of any racial animosity. "Charlotte Sometimes" is a gem on this album. It was never released on a full-length album, yet it is a favorite of many Cure fans; the studio version is a bit sluggish, though, and fans will find that songs like "Let's Go to Bed," "The Walk," and "Charlotte" (though cleverly appealing as mid-80s antiquities) are literally transformed by the performances of these songs in the live CDs "Show" and "Paris." This compilation is outstanding, though. New fans are encouraged to check out "Galore," which is a collection of more recent singles that most people are more familiar with, but when you are ready to fall in love with the Cure, and you will, this album should immediately become part of your CD collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2011
Staring At The Sea was the first Best Of ever released by The Cure and is a perfect compilation if the early years of this unique, highly talented band. It ranges from 1979 to 1985 and begins with the melodic post-punk jangle of Boys Don't Cry and Jumping Someone Else's Train. Into the early 80s, a darker, less immediate art-rock sound develops as epitomised by the brilliant A Forest and Primary. Fortunately for main-man Robert Smith, the gloom lifted slightly as the decade progressed with the highly original and inventive Goth-pop of The Lovecats and Caterpillar taking over as the band's over-riding sound by the middle of the decade.

Already several classics mentioned though there are plenty more present from the still frenetic strumalong pop of In Between Days to the eerie though accessible claustrophobia of Close To Me via the haunting Charlotte Sometimes and mutant disco of The Walk. All of these songs are just about held together by Smith's highly distinctive vocal phrasing and supreme pop-based musical imagination.

Like many people of my age, Staring At The Sea was the first Cure album I bought. I purchased the cassette version though the (then very new) CD album included four extra tracks, the best of which is probably the adolescent angst of 10:15 Saturday Night. Whichever version you have, it is a brilliant album, chronicling most of the best early moments of one of the most unconventional and alternative yet melodic bands of the 80s. It still sounds fresh today and is very highly recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2002
I'm an admirer of the Cure rather than a fully paid up fan, and don't own any Cure albums other than this, but among the 17 songs here are 5 bona fide masterpieces.
I hadn't heard "Killing an arab" for 20 years, and for me it's the absolute best Cure song ever - the arabian-style guitar, the brilliant guitar work, the atmosphere, the desolate lyrics. "10:15 saturday night" is another work in the same mould - wonderfully atmospheric, brilliant guitar breaks.
"A forest" must be the definitive Cure song - hypnotic bass, guitar and vocals and swooshy sound effects over a drum machine - a bit Doctor Who-ish in a way, and totally - well, yes - brilliant. Then there's "The love cats" - a song which is virtually impossible to sit still to. Double bass and piano - your grandma would love it too. Finally there's "Close to me", a song that's sounds as if it's been put together in the kitchen with string and sellotape, which is what gives it it's charm.
There's a lot of other songs on this album, but for me it's those 5 that make this compilation a must have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2012
A better CD than the best of as it has all the singles. I hadn't heard some for many years but still as fresh etc as when they were firt released. They don't make them like this anymore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2008
...but I do wonder why they insist on making a cd like this, with mostly singles from albums and then one or two non-album releases that you can't find anywhere else. This has some of my favourite ever songs on it, but if I were to buy this album, it would be for the two or so songs that I don't have - it's not really fair/value for money for long time fans.
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on 5 November 2013
If you want to catch the essence of the earlier albums without having to buy them all, this is a must and I would highly recommend buying it together with Galore which takes in The Cure's later work. I am sure that both albums would have generated some debate amongst fans as to what should have been included or excluded (for me I would like to have had Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me on Galore) but they are a good introduction to one of the most innovative bands of the last 35 years.
I bought a special edition of Staring At The Sea on cassette tape in about 1990 which I played constantly and have a memory of sitting on a beach in Tunisia in the small hours of the night, somewhat spaced out, listening to it on a Walkman - bliss! That version had fewer tracks than this one, for example the sparse but excellent 10.15 Saturday Night was missing but it did have an extra side of interesting B-side songs including my favourite; Mr Pink Eyes.
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on 15 October 2007
With the exception of 'the walk' which we skipped whenever we could, this was the album that kept the Captain and I awake while steering through Icebergs at night.
Killing an Arab is perfect if you forgive the title, 10.15 could be put on repeat play to clear the bridge, Boys Don't Cry has a melody hard to dislike, A Forest is menacingly brilliant and the closing trio of songs from the 'Head on the Door' album paint a rich and deep picture of the mind of the writers.
If you don't have a Cure album, you need this one plus thier last 'great' album 'Disintigration'.
Unless you are into bland pop - stick to the 70's and 80's Cure!

Darren Collis - Sea Shepherd Quatermaster
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on 27 October 2014
Probably the best greatest hits compilation of The Cure's career so far until someone releases a definitive double CD greatest hits.

Contains all the classics up until 1987.

The period 1987 to 1997 is covered by their second greatest hits compilation Galore.

If you need a compilation with more modern hits on it get Galore which covers the period 1987 to 1997 or the other Best Of, but for me the earlier stuff was better.

If you can afford it, buy all three - they're all good!

This and Mixed Up are probably the best compilations of their work released so far.

Essential.
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on 20 May 2011
As i am of the early cure era i have always liked the unique style of the band and this cd captures all their music marvels as far as i am concerned. The everlasting sounds of Boys Don't Cry and inbetween days and the foot tapping Lovecats. Can't go wrong if you buy this cd. If like me you owned it before and it has seen better days replace it and enjoy Robert Smith and the guys sound for a few years longer.
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on 8 May 2011
All the Cure's hits from their early days to more present.
Like many people of my age have started buying CD's of records I have already got on vinyl. Only gripe is that on the album 17 seconds there is a build up to A Forest which is not included on this CD, shame as it makes the track for me. Otherwise a must for all Cure fans and those of 80's alternative music.
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