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Thursday, February 6, 2014

'The Top' is one of the 20 Great Stoner Albums

MetroWeekly says: "As stale and selfish as a sick dog, spurning sex like an animal of god. I'll tear your red hair by the roots and hold you blazing, hold you cherished in the dead electric light," Robert Smith sneers on "Shake Dog Shake," the opening track from "The Top." Launching with a sudden drum barrage and mad cackling laughter, "Shake Dog Shake" is an apt introduction to this schizophrenic album. "The Top” is dreamy, loopy, psychedelic, and a bit cracked...  the first time Robert Smith merged the sullen musings and manic aggression of albums like "Faith" and "Pornography" with the kaleidoscopic pop of singles like "Let's Go to Bed" and "The Lovecats."  This combination became the template of The Cure's greatest successes to come; a bipolar mix of kinetic and iridescent pop, anguished confessionals and venomous freakouts.  “The Top” propels the listener headfirst into a sickly sweet and mad world that's equal parts nightmare and daydream fantasy. Essentially a Robert Smith solo project -- The Cure had functionally ceased to exist as a band at this point -- "The Top" is a feverish album, careening madly around the big tent in Robert Smith's head.  It's "Sgt. Peppers" played by a cast of evil clowns lurking in dark hallways; they'll either butcher everyone in the house or throw the world's most demented sex-balloon party, or maybe both. (Thanks @banditFFX)

22 comments:

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    1. Yep..
      Well RSX was pretty strung out on acid the majority of that era..
      The lyrics are a good indication of where his head was at.. :p

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    2. Yeah, I always associate The Top with mushrooms & acid, not pot.

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    3. I think using the word stoner, is more a euphemism for being in drug altered states. But not pinpointing only being stoned.

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    4. yeah. pyschedelic would have been the better word.

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    6. I don't know about stoner album, but it's definitely one of the Cure's best. Classic Cure.

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    7. The Empty World is just superb.

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  2. The Top always seems to be forgotten about when people discuss The Cure. Not so much by Robert - think he has often spoke in its favour, as can be seen by recent selists and the upcoming trilogy. Maybe the songs on it aren't as immediate or recognisable as those on its successors, and it didn't feature the likes of Simon or Boris. Or perhaps it is just a little too weird in parts for some. It's definitely the closest we've ever got to hearing, (or ever will?), a Robert solo album.

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    1. Robert still played bass very well on it. GREAT bassline on The Caterpillar and he performs it masterfully. He just doesn't know that he does. I've sometimes thought of Robert as The Cure's best bassist. He also does really good on bass on Just One Kiss.

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  3. Don't have to be stoned to appreciate the best album they ever did.
    It might help though !

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  4. the top was the first cure album i got and also had a white t-shirt with the cover on it, which sadly feel to pieces after wearing it too much. the album along with the glove's blue sunshine are trippy works of genius.

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  5. The Top catches Robert at his peek in my eyes, at his most experimental and his least caring of commercial success ever. 17S, Faith and Pornography are all super records but all very studied in their conception and execution. The Top, however, just 'became'.

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  6. I recall getting in a huge argument on the official site with someone that refused to see The Top as psychedelic. The cover is tie-dyed! Also, note all the references to animals and insects along the way. I find it strange that this album has very little credibility with fans. When pressed, they like over half the album very much but just won't admit it for some reason? Personally, I can do without The Empty World, and the rest is great. I had that white Top t-shirt too and it also disintegrated!

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  7. The author says it all: The Top is a template for the things to come. In my opinion, it was the last truly original Cure album: with The Top all elements that make The Cure were in place. I love the album. My favorite Cure album varies with my mood, but The Top always is in the top 5.

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    1. "In my opinion, it was the last truly original Cure album: with The Top all elements that make The Cure were in place."

      I think that's true. THOTD then did a pretty good job of showing all the prior Cure elements in one package. Everything after that was something of a re-tread (of course that still means a lot of great material). And their experimentation has almost gone completely down the drain. Everything since WMS fits a fairly strict vocals-guitar-bass-drums-light-keyboards template with very little trying out different styles.

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  8. Yay for more The Top love! I always thought it was one of the most underrated Cure albums, yet it's one of my personal favorites. I have to admit it is a bit schizophrenic (though no more than, say, KMKMKM), but that's part of what makes it so interesting. I'm really glad the album is finally getting the recognition is deserves these last couple of years.

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  9. Incredible and amazing review like the album itself. Always been thinking The Cure were The post punk Beatles.

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    1. Yes! A truer statement has never been spoken on this forum!

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  10. How come music reviews are so painful to read?

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