Happy Anniversary: The Cure, The Top

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Happy Anniversary: The Cure, The Top

30 years ago today, the Cure released The Top, an album which, while not exactly what you’d call a happy-go-lucky affair, at least wasn’t as soul-numbingly depressing as its predecessor.

In the wake of the none-more-black sentiments pervading every groove of 1982’s Pornography and the tour which followed the album’s release, tension within the ranks of the band led to the departure of Simon Gallup from the Cure’s lineup, while the almost anti-commercial material led Fiction Records’ Chris Parry to suggest to Robert Smith that perhaps it might be a good time to consider reinventing the band’s sound a bit. While the initial result was a trio of singles which were decidedly more radio-friendly – “Let’s Go to Bed,” “The Walk,” and “The Lovecats” – the Cure’s next proper album was filled with far more weirdness.

Less goth than psychedelia, The Top proved to be a top-10 hit in the UK and, perhaps more surprisingly, was the first Cure album to enter the Billboard Top 200 album chart, making it to #180. Listening to the album now, let alone then, it’s certainly not an effort that screams “mainstream breakthrough,” which is perhaps why Steve Sutherland wrote in his Melody Maker review of the album, “I've yet to meet anyone who can tell me why The Cure are having hits now of all times.”Nonetheless, the lone single from The Top, “The Caterpillar,” made it to #14 in the UK, and songs like “Shake Dog Shake,” “Give Me It,” and “Piggy in the Mirror” have remained fan favorites, no doubt having picked up popularity from their inclusions in the set lists for Concert: The Cure Live and The Cure in Orange.

It might be 30 years old, but it definitely doesn’t sound dated, so if you haven’t listened to it recently, why not consider giving The Top another spin?

(Go ahead, groan all you want: hand on heart, we wrote that sentence first and didn’t pay any attention to the pun until after the fact, but now that we’ve noticed it, there’s no way we’re going to waste it.)