The Best of the “Best of”(s): The Cure (1986 and 2001)

Didn’t I say this was not going to happen again? After the one and only Leonard Cohen, I didn’t think there could be another artist/band that would inspire me a double “best of” post, about two “best of” compilations! And yet here I go again, this time, with The Cure.

First off, let’s talk about the classic album “Staring at the sea: the singles”, released in 1986 and comprising The Cure’s biggest hits ranging from the 1970’s to the first half of the 80’s. This album is a must. I won’t even start naming songs on that album because I’ll just keep adding title after title as they’re all good. It’s also a wonderful album to get to know this band by listening to some of their coolest songs, with their typical introspective and dark lyrics, their minimalist, hypnotic, and ultra-catchy sound, combined with the clear and mysterious voice of Robert Smith. Ok, that’s enough, I’m putting on the CD right now. There you go. Nice little background music.

Next: “The Greatest Hits” album from 2001 is a double-CD set, including one CD with 18 songs, and one CD with acoustic versions of these songs. The latter is what’s really cool here. The guitar-lovin’ me likes this little feature. Personally, I wouldn’t have thought of The Cure’s songs as good acoustic songs, but I like it. It just goes to show once again that when you have good melodies and lyrics – and a charismatic and intense frontman, as well as great musicians, of course – then it’s probably worthwhile to try to go acoustic, whatever the genre. I also appreciate the fact that this best of compilation, in addition to several songs which also appear on “Staring at the sea”, comprises songs from 1986+ albums such as “Lullaby” and “Love song”. Those two songs, by the way, sound wonderful in their acoustic versions.

Incidentally, I invite you to listen to a great live performance of “Love song” here:

When I was younger, a lot of guys used to have the Robert Smith’s haircut… But who among them ever bothered to read “L’étranger”, the classic French litterature novel from Albert Camus which inspired “Killing an Arab”? That’s an unfair question, I know. Was I even close myself to reading classic litterature novels in my early teenage years?… Do I dare quote South Park again? “Robert Smith of the Cure is the coolest person that ever lived!”.

2 thoughts on “The Best of the “Best of”(s): The Cure (1986 and 2001)

  1. Such an amazing group – for me, Staring at the sea does an admirable job of summarizing the first part of the career. The 2nd greatest hits is of course terrific but missing so many other gems from ’87 onwards. I have a few of the 90s singles, even the previously unreleased b-sides are incredible!

    • I agree, the GH from 2001 should have included at least 22 to 25 songs instead of 18 to recreate the achievement of SATS. But the acoustic CD makes up for that, at least partially! And I was once again amazed, while watching these videos, by the quality of The Cure’s live performance (RS’s voice, especially).

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