About a year ago, Rhino Records reissued the early albums by The Cure in deluxe two-disc, slipcased editions packed with rare demos, live tracks and more. "Three Imaginary Boys," "Seventeen Seconds," "Faith" and "Pornography" were among the records that guided me through junior high and high school, so I devoured the reissues and smiled as I made space for them in the CD rack.
Now, there are similar versions of "The Top," "The Head on the Door" and "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me" -- three records that I only mildly paid attention to back in the day. I know I bought 'em, but I'm hard pressed to picture myself listening to any of the other than 1984's "The Top."
But if anything can draw me back in, it's these carefully-compiled sets with the original LP on one CD and demos, alternate mixes and live material on the second disc (presumably all the singles b-sides are absent because Rhino has also done a box set of those, but it seems sad, especially when there's room on disc one for them).
These were the years (1984-'88) when, more than at any other time in the band's career, The Cure balanced its doomy, gloomy goth rock with light-hearted, infectious pop tunes and somehow made it work. Presumably, a deluxe edition of 1989's huge U.S. breakthrough "Disintegration" will follow.
Especially interesting are Robert Smith's demos for familiar tracks like "Inbetween Days," "The Caterpillar" and "Just Like Heaven," that help illustrate how the band took sometimes little more than a nugget of an idea and shaped it into a great little pop song.
The liner notes are informative and the booklets also have lots of pictures and lyrics.
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