Top critical review
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The Cure's acid album.
on 15 March 2003
The Top is probably one of the worst Cure albums- though that title goes to 1996's Wild Mood Swings; it is by no means awful & has many Cure classics but it feels somewhat fried...Perhaps this was due to Smith's extra-curricular activity, since the Cure's implosion in 1982 (which saw the classic Smith-Gallup-Tolhurst lineup fall apart post-Pornography), Robert Smith had joined Siouxsie & the Banshees, released several great pop singles as a rejuvinated Cure (The Walk, The Lovecats), co-written Torment with Steve Severin for Marc & the Mambas and formed another splinter group, The Glove, with Severin.
Thus The Top feels slightly unfocused & extremely unhinged- if you take The Glove's Blue Sunshine, The Banshees' Hyaena & this you have more good than bad.
The Top opens with Shake Dog Shake, a song they still perform to this day & one that extends on the hallucinatory violence of 82's masterpiece Pornography.
The attempts at pop flitter between genius: Dressing Up, The Caterpillar, Piggy in the Mirror (which continued the direction set by The Lovecats and predict later songs such as 6 Different Ways, Like Cockatoos & The 13th) & odd songs like Birdmad Girl & Bananfishbones that only half come off.
Wailing Wall is a sub-Banshees dirge, 87's Snakepit would do this thing with much more focus; while Give Me It is a terrible metal thrash.
The Empty World remains me a little of Julian Cope's equally fried Fried (also 1984) as does closer The Top- childhood & hallucninations appear to permeate.
The Top does contain some classics & it is tinged with LSD-inflected abandon- things would improve the following year when the classic Smith-Tolhurst-Thompson-Gallup-Williams line-up would record The Head on the Door which set the mould for the subsequent Kiss Me, Disintergration & Wish albums.