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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2008
This is the album that really marked the Cure out as a great act. Until this moment they could have been noted as merely an interesting cult band. This here is a fine, fine collection of recordings.

Clocking in at a mere 35 minutes the original release felt much longer because of it's deeply seductive power. Within it's beautiful simplicity lies an instinctive and thrilling songwriting talent. There are no bad tracks here at all. Even the short instrumental interludes (that originally marked the beginnings of side one and side two of the vinyl album & cassette) are just perfect.

This album was just one of the reasons why 'fans' took the Cure so much to heart. I'm not talking about the usual black clad, backcombed pale and poetic youths of the time or even the few Kensington Market types who dressed and wore their hair exactly like Robert Smith. This band crossed over to all sorts of people because they really were that good. And for that generation the Cure's music became something of a soundtrack to their lives.

When this album was first released it seemed obvious that this band were going to be special. But absolutely no-one could have guessed the twisty path they were going to take.

New to the Cure? Start here and work forward (and back). It's a strange and wonderful journey.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2007
Adding a keyboard player to the trio on their original album, The Cure refined their sound a little, but 'Seventeen Seconds' is still a triumph for rock at its most basic level. Bleak, atmospheric soundscapes pervade this album. The instrumental, 'A Reflection,' sets up a funereal air, before the plaintive, uptempo jangle of 'Play For Today.' 'In Your House' features a guitar pattern that evokes the sinister, as does 'At Night' with its fuzzy bass notes. The stand-out track is the hit, 'A Forest,' with its almost twangy, spy theme-like opening over an eerie keyboard background. The title track closes the album with the same anguish as it opened with. Not the happiest listening this, but compelling.
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on 22 March 2009
The Cures 17 Seconds album is a favourite of mine.Its brooding music and ethereal atmosphere is quite hypnotic and yet also relaxing.
The lyrics hardly matter unusually for me because of its dreamlike quality.
I read a long time ago that Robert Smith had dreamt the music and upon waking he and the band went on to make the album.Its an early album but one of their very best.
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on 8 September 2015
Less poppy than 'Three Imaginary Boys' but instrumentally lighter and more minimalist than the albums that followed it ('Faith' and 'Pornography'), 'Seventeen Seconds' can be seen as a transitional album in the Cure's catalogue. In common with a number of their early releases, the album owes something to Joy Division (especially 'Unknown Pleasures') but has its own distinctive atmosphere and aesthetic.

The main songs 'A Forest', 'In your House', 'At Night' and 'Play for Today' showcase Robert Smith's uncanny ability to infuse well-crafted songs with an intoxicating night-time atmosphere of lush romantic despair that, paradoxically, does not drag the listener down but somehow opens up the possibilities of the world ('I play at night in your house / I live another life'). The lyrics seems to revolve around alienation, the passing of time and the transformation of the night. One of the album's main strengths is that although the songs vary in tempo and approach, it maintains a consistent and compelling atmosphere throughout. It's the first Cure album to demonstrate the distinctive sound-world that makes their work so hard to ignore.

Best listened to on headphones, as dawn rises, gazing out of the window of a night-train passing through central France...
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on 24 June 2007
After many years following the Cure I remain baffled by this record. Where does it fit in? Which Cure are we listening to? All questions I've asked myself...

My initial impressions were that this is at worst a patchy and difficult upward shift in gear by the Cure and that at best it's a clear signpost for subsequent greatness. As the years have drifted past my views have mellowed and the importance of this recording has steadily dawned. This is a significant record in the Cure canon.

If one ignores the (predominanty) intrumental tracks 'A reflection', 'Three' and 'The final sound' you are left with a collection of exceptional songs.

Favourites include; 'Play for today' even with its overly complex guitar parts. The whispered 'Secrets' remains a solid prototype for so many subsequent Cure songs - brilliant.

One can't help but mention 'A Forest', which along with 'Faith', is the Cure's signature live track. The studio original doesn't quite live up to it's live performance status. However, don't dispair as it's followed by the simply awesome 'M', which is possibly the Cure's most underrated track. I'd like to hope that 'M' is a homage to the Fritz Lang/ Peter Lorre film - who knows, it remains a high point on this album.

In short, if you are new to the Cure make sure you buy this album; it is so much more than simply the record with 'A forest'. Infact, it is the keynote to their quintet of golden greats - "Faith", "Pornography", "The top" and "Head on". With the very notable exception of "Disintegration" they've never bettered these recordings.
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on 25 July 2011
This was the first Cure album I ever bought - in about 1988. I had never heard anything like it and was blown away from the first listen. 23 years later I have not changed my mind. I recently updated my old and very worn cassette version (yes really!) for the remastered CD and was worth every penny. The clarity of the sound - all those wonderful songs sounding like new.

It is short album but perfectly formed - each track earns its keep.
I still don't understand how such a low key set of songs can make my hair stand on end and still sound so fresh every time I listen.

If you have never listened to the Cure or just never listened to this album do yourself a huge favour and get it today.
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on 14 August 2015
I bought this album when it first came out (on vinyl obiously), and thought it high time that I should re-visit it.
I believe that you either get the Cure or you don't (hence some of the negative reviews on this site). This album is a step forward from Three Imaginary Boys, with the arrangements and song writing developing a sound that would be explored more on the Faith and Pornography albums. On Seventeen Seconds, the keyboards are a significant part of the sound, although the stripped back guitar that was very much a feature of TIB is still there. The somewhat hypnotic (and melodic) bass lines are superbly mixed on this digital remaster, and the almost programmed and synthesised sounding drums give a backdrop sound that is very much in keeping with the early 1980's electronic music scene.
I was impressed with this album when it first came out, and this remaster enhances the enjoyment of listing to it.
As I said, you either get the Cure or you don't (I do). If you enjoy late 70's/ early 80's post punk music, then I can thoroughly recommend to you. The price is money well spent!
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I have just noticed that negative reviews have been posted by one individual. Curious don`t you think? Anyway ignore this person as they are clearly not intelligent enough to review such a deep and idiosyncratic band as ' THE CURE '. My advice,for what it`s worth,is that this, and indeed, most of ' THE CURE ' albums are worthy of, at the very least, a GOOD listen too, before you can really "get" them!!
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on 7 July 2012
Great album but Amazon item photo suggests you are getting one of the recent remastered versions with extra CD etc.. But not so! You do get the full 17 seconds album which in itself is great if you want to replace your vinyl with CD as I am doing but don't expect all the fancy extra's! Think Amazon need to sort this out and make it very clear what you are actually getting and paying for! Would send back but cannot be bothered........
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on 17 September 2011
If anyone has any doubts about what are the Cure, just listen to this and Faith. I bought these one tape in 1981 in the States and still play (yes the tape) today. Although I am here as I think I need a CD! Faith and SS came out in the States as one two album sided long tape. I have played and played it over the years. A Forest will always be the Cure to me. This is a fab, deep melancholy ablum, it is not a dance album. It should also be played all at once in the correct order not as is done now with people downloading odd tracks a practice that I can't understand.
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