The Cure “The Top” released 35 years ago today…

The Cure “The Top” released 35 years ago today, April 30th 1984. (Spoiler alert – another big Cure anniversary coming up this week.) The Top was The Cure’s 5th studio LP; it went to #10 on the UK album charts though barely made it onto the US Billboard’s Top 200, squeaking in at #180. I really love The Top – I think I got this copy in ‘85 or early ‘86. It was unevenly received by fans and critics at the time. Some called it timeless psychedelia, original and witty while others labelled it transitional, self-indulgent and forgettable. It certainly is unique, with a fantastic mixture of swirling psychedelic rock tinged with world music exotica (“Bird Mad Girl,” “Piggy in the Mirror” and “The Top”), eery goth (“The Empty World” and “Wailing Wall” which has a lot in common with Siouxsie and the Banshees – not surprising as Robert Smith was the Banshees’ guitarist at the time and had just completed his work on their 1984 album Hyaena), stomping post-punk (“Shake Dog Shake” – one of my favorite Cure songs – and “Give Me It”), new wave pop (“The Caterpillar” which was the only single The Cure released from The Top; it went to #7 in the UK) and even some shoe-gazey dream pop (“Dressing Up”). The track “Bananafishbones” manages to mash all of those descriptives into one single song. Allmusic says about The Top “an album obviously recorded under stress, drink, and drugs. More wildly experimental musically than anything before it, it laid the foundations for the Cure’s pattern of unpigeonholable albums that were to erase their reputation built by Pornography and eventually culminating in Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me… The Top is a transition, never really feeling like a full-length release, but it does meld all former phases of Rob and company, which would fully gel on The Head on the Door. At best an imperfect record, The Top is a necessary step in the evolution of the band.”