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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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 13 January 2016
The Cure "the early years"! I've recently decided to re-visit some of the bands I once listened to in my youth, and have purchased this cd from The Cure. First off, it's wonderful to hear them again, this album being from the 80's you can certainly hear the purity and the experimentation of sounds that went on. Then when you have a listen to some stuff the guys have done in more recent times, you can hear and feel the progress, what a brilliantly clever and not forgetting, talented, band The Cure are, simply brilliant!
My only wish would be for our own country to better acknowledge our home grown talent much earlier on, rather than waiting for someone to pass away! We have such amazing talented singer songwriters, bands etc, we should do more to better acknowledge them!
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on 6 October 2001
I'll admit, I'm not a committed Cure fan, but BLIMEY did they write some great songs! A lot of their album stuff, for which I just never had the patience and perseverance, is thankfully given another chance on this value-for-money compilation. How could anyone resist Love Cats, Let's Go To Bed or Inbetween Days? I've always loved Smith for his unnerving juxtaposition of the upbeat melody, the suicidal lyric and the frankly comedic video, mixed in various proportions according to the individual track recipe. Crazy, loveable, sexy and highly individual - I hate to break it to you but there'll never be another Cure. If you need proof it's Staring At The Sea.
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The Cure, especially early Cure, is an acquired taste. This collection of singles presents their most accessible hits in chronological sequence for a tasty listening experience. Their sound is brooding, sometimes claustrophobic, as on Boys Don’t Cry and A Forest, often melancholic as on Charlotte Sometimes. But The Walk and The Love Cats have dancefloor appeal in their great rhythmic textures. My favourites are the sublime Inbetween Days with its soaring melody and the soulful, funky Close To Me. I regret the omission of another wonderful song, Pictures Of You, but I suppose it wasn’t ever released as a single. This might be considered heresy, but I enjoy their Mixed Up album of extended remixes even more with its spacious and elegant versions of these songs, plus Pictures Of You. In fact, when I compare those magnificent long versions of Inbetween Days and Close To Me to these originals, they sound almost flat and one-dimensional. I'm sure most Cure fans would disagree, but for me the Mixed Up extended mixes have an added charm and flow. The dance rhythms provide a hypnotic twist and do not in any way detract from the profundity of The Cure's music. But for the alternative rock fan, Staring At The Sea is a brilliant and rewarding collection of early Cure.
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on 1 April 2003
I remember when I was young there was a time when you had proper music by real bands (This is what my father would say when he heard me playing "The Cure" back in 85). Now that we're all hoping the bubble will burst on manufactured pop, a band like the cure would be heaven sent. They were odd (Close to me), they were lovely (the love cats) they were different (10.15 on a saturday night) and they were bloody good (inbetween days, boys don't cry, the forest, etc, etc)! And the later stuff ain't that bad either.
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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.

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