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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
The Top (Remastered Version)
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on 15 September 2017
This Cure album is as colourful as a caterpillar . Beautiful.
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on 21 August 2017
No comment
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on 2 October 2017
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on 30 November 2017
Great purchase and great service, delivered on time just as promised.
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on 24 May 2004
I can never understand why this album gets such negative reviews. People often refer to it as one of the weaker Cure albums but i consider it to be better than a lot of their other eighties output and considerably better than anything they produce in the 90's. There are some really strong tracks on The Top: Shake dog shake is powerful and brooding, Bananafishbones is deranged and surreal and The Caterpillar is one of their best singles by far. This album was the Cure's last piece of work that had that hard edge that characterised their early albums. Although later albums worked better as a whole, none of them matched the intensity and weirdness of The Top. While some people may consider the lyrics to be too off the wall and the music to be unfocused and "wonky", i think it is these qualities that make it such a compelling listen.
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on 17 August 2006
I started slowly collecting Cure albums back in 1996 but I held off when I heard these remastered reissues would be coming out. The Top was the only Cure album I didn't previously own, mainly because I have seen some very negative reviews for it.

Maybe it helps that I've embraced the rest of The Cure's work before coming to this because the variety and psuedo-psychedelic nature of this album does not come as any kind of shock having heard all their other albums.

Let me say that this album is a joy from beginning to end showcasing the very best of Robert Smith's songwriting skills. It takes the sound of previous single The Lovecats and makes it even crazier. That's no bad thing though. There are some true classic Cure moments on here, particularly the stunning Birdmad Girl and Dressing up.

Having listened to this CD a few times, I can say there isn't one weak track on it. In fact I would say that I prefer this to the follow-up albums of The Head on The Door & Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me; both excellent albums in their own right.

Eclectic, Vibrant and refreshing, especially compared to so much of the dross that is around today, I'd recommend this to anyone, especially Cure fans who were previously wary of buying it.
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on 21 August 2006
Perhaps one of my favourite Cure albums this, though essentially a solo effort from Robert Smith who at the time was teetering on the edge of thoroughly exhausted madness. It's kind of echoed in the music too, which at times displays Smith's more memorable and quirky song writing sensibilities, but at the same time is rather dark, twisted and schizophrenic. I guess this is the case with most Cure music, but above all this album pushes Smith's musical influences to the forefront considerably and personally I believe this to be a good thing!

So the overall feel is highly psychedelic, notably Shake Dog Shake, Piggy in the Mirror and Bananafishbones, the latter displaying most signs with its garagey drums and descending bass motif. And lets face it, with a title like that, which though has its origins in literature I believe, could be the name of a Captain Beefheart track. Piggy in the mirror also should be noted for its apparent use of Hammond Organ which to my knowledge you don't get much of in Cure music. This also lends it a 60's retro touch, which is most welcome.

The album also contains some of The Cure's most lovely and melodious moments such as Birdmad Girl and The Caterpillar. The former is so bright and breezy and perfectly poppy you smile, tap your foot and nod your head unfailingly with every listen. The Caterpillar meanwhile is probably the most 'acoustic sounding' track the band has produced - it skips along prettily like a butterfly (a deliberate move obviously), with fluttering acoustic strings and multi - layered percussion and again the melody is quite delicious! Also its one track in the Cure canon that wears a Nick Drake influence firmly on its sleeve, a great Smith influence that is rarely evident in the majority of the band's history.

A few curiosities are also chucked in the mix... Dressing Up, which suggests the era more than the majority of the album in it's sound, is an almost 80s sounding soul ballad. Smith's vocals cascade drunkenly over the top in a Billy Mackenzie like drawl, giving most evidence of his vocal experimentation across this set of songs. And preceding this track is the fierce Give Me it, which is one of the most angry and ferocious songs that the Cure has recorded, and given that the album proper previous to this was Pornography, that's saying quite a bit!

The second disc packaged with this deluxe edition has its fair degree of interest though I'm not sure how often it would be played. The demo versions are generally not dissimilar to the final versions but are mere sketches and feel incomplete... and let's face it not as good! This not being the case with all the reissues of course. The RS home demo of 10.15 Saturday Night on the Three Imaginary Boys Deluxe Edition has incredible charm for instance. But this doesn't really matter, this is worth getting for the main album and the packaging for the reissues is quite splendid too, and at the price it is at the moment is certainly well worth a purchase.
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on 27 March 2008
This is a fascinating album that really has more in common with Smiths side-project, The Glove, and even siouxsie and the banshees than the Cure. The Cure are either bouncy pop tunes or long meandering musical pieces of atmosphere set to depressing lyrics. Well this is kinda neither.

The music is very varied. It somehow manages to contain the happiest joyous moments (dressing up, the caterpillar) and the most dark and despairing in all the Cure's repertoire (shake dog shake, the top), as well as highly experimental explosions of anger and paranoia (Give me it, bananafishbones) and some bizarre 'is it happy is it sad' pop songs which are anything but pop (bird mad girl, bananafishbones, piggy in the mirror).

Robert Smith was quite clearly in a strange place mentally when he was making this record. It is evident in the music, lyrics and vocal performance. It's all over the place, purposefully. Either restrained like in wailing wall, paranoid in give me it, completely insane in dressing up.

This is weirdly, my favourite Cure album. It's one that tends to get ignored, but in the 80s there was so little of this kind of psychedelia, it belongs to a genre unto itself. 80's pop psychedelia revival. Sometimes fluffy and bouncy and sometimes heavy and suicidal, ALWAYS Quirky, The Top - delivers!
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on 5 August 2006
Extending on the territory of The Glove's 'Blue Sunshine' & 1983's 'The Lovecats' & 'Mr Pink Eyes', Robert Smith created 'The Top.' This was from a rather extreme period in his life when he found himself guitarist in The Banshees (who were also recording 'Hyaena') as well as frontman of the reborn-Cure from 'Let's Go to Bed'-onwards. He recorded this under the influence of psychedelics with a band that included long-time associate Porl Thompson, former drummer Lol Tolhurst, producer & later Johnny Hates Jazz/Natalie Imbruglia-associate Phil Thornally & drummer Andy Anderson (who would later play with the Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce). 'The Top' was rumoured to have been accidently recorded at the wrong speed - but I think these effects were deliberate, Smith manipulating his vocals and created a record that is one of the great acid-soundtracks (see 'Trout Mask Replica', 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn','Tago Mago', 'The Faust Tapes' & 'Easter Everywhere').

The 10-orignal tracks showcase the beginnings of that eclectic Cure-sound that would be expanded on over the following albums 'The Head on the Door' & 'Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.' Live-favourite 'Shake Dog Shake' always sounds wonderful, like 'Pornography' on a Beefheart-trip it has the oddest lyrics and shows where Brett Anderson got his animal-fixation from! 'Birdmad Girl' is a gorgeous Latin-inflected acoustic joy - 1985's 'The Blood' would stem from here; 'Wailing Wall' advances on the territory of the Banshees' 'A Kiss in the Dreamhouse' & Smith's work with Steve Severin in The Glove. Compare this to 1987's 'The Snakepit' to see the difference between psychedelic Smith and the wine-inflected version a few years later!!

'Give Me It!!' is bizarre proto-metal, still one of Smith's most dirgey recordings and possibly an indication of looming madness! The mood shifts to the sublime 'Dressing Up', a song that turned up in live sets a few years later and is found on the 'Paris' live album. Smith seems to be playing with gender here, so an interesting record, as well as a fantastic pop song. The classic single 'The Caterpillar' is next, probably the peak of his psychedelic works, it's utterly ravishing and must have been a record that Bjork heard? This is followed by another long term live favourite 'Piggy in the Mirror', Smith's lyrics maybe responding to Sioux's 'Fat Bob'-jibe or the funhouse-reflection of himself the last year or so?

'The Empty World' sounds like a more psyched relative of the doomy Cure of 80-82, though any hint of that mood is broken by the sterling Beefheartian 'Bananafishbones' - a joyful glut of psychedelic rubbish. Finally the title track concludes the album proper, this isn't that far from the doomy Cure of yore, though the production/mix ensure the whoozy and dreamy dominate the gothic and morose downerness.

The second disc comes with 17 unreleased/hard to find tracks and out-takes including the mythical 'Ariel' (an influence on Ariel Pink) and 'Forever' - a song that Cranes would name an album after. There appears to be an early version of b-side 'A Man Inside My Mouth' as well as 'The Caterpillar's classic b-sides 'Happy the Man' and 'Throw Your Foot'- which were too great to leave off the album! I think 'The Top' has aged wonderfully, though its eccentric psychedelic nature will not appeal to everyone. It's sometimes tagged the worst Cure record, but I'd say that would probably be more true of 'Three Imaginary Boys' or 'Wild Mood Swings' (not that I think either are that bad!). An extremely welcome reissue and a record that shows where songs like 'Six Different Ways', 'Close to Me', 'If Only Tonight We Could Sleep', 'How Beautiful You Are', 'Like Cockatoos' & 'A Japanese Dream' would come from in the following years...
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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.
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