8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Unimaginative? Yes. Good? Definitely.,
This review is from: Greatest Hits: (Limited Edition) (Audio CD)
Okay, this is a typical piece of late career exploitation of fans - we can't be bothered to put a new album together so we shall rely on our fabulous back catalogue. This is a compilation of the best bits off the two existing best bits albums - Staring at the Sea and Galore. Utterly obsessive fans will buy this simply for the sake of it. Near obsessive fans, like myself, will buy it for the acoustic versions (of which more in a minute).
This said, the Cure do have a very fine back catalogue of singles which sometimes seem quite at odds with the more interesting (ie gloomier) album material. At their best they have the feel of a set of tracks put together on the days when the band were kicking back and relaxing a bit. Monsieur Smith Takes a Holiday perhaps. Sensibly Disintegration features heavily - the American audience's favourite. Many fans saw 1996's consciously upbeat Wild Mood Swings as something of a betrayal and it is surprising that two tracks are taken from this period. It's all unavoidable toe-tapping stuff though and Smith's voice seems less inaccessible when he's 'doing' pop. It's a fun album for those who haven't already bought all of the records, collected all the b-sides and stand at concerts screaming for them to play 'Forever'.
CD2 is a freshly recorded set of acoustic-ish versions of the songs (not quite matching the playlist of CD1 much to my confusion). This is the one for the fanatics. And, it has to be said, it's a good competent piece. Though not as experimental as the 1991 Unplugged session, it's nice to see the songs having the dust shaken off the album versions, without the sonic confines of a live performance.
As is usually the case with acoustic versions, it's the more rock-electronic-industrial material that provides the treats. 1991's Never Enough is transformed into something nearer folk rock, while 1998's Wrong Number - the stand out track here - is transformed from Bowie influenced industrial noise fest into the most utterly bonkers pop imaginable. Indeed the lyrics ('lime green and tangerine') which grate somewhat in the album version, seem totally at home with this Led Zep does Playschool soundscape.
Yes, it's one for the fans, but I find it difficult to hate the band too much for such blatent exploitation because it is consistently fun. 'Fun' not being something detractors would traditionally associate with Smith et al.