The excellent compilation from one of the most important bands of all time, "Staring at the Sea: the Singles" by the Cure was issued in 1986 just as the band gained worldwide recognition with their album "the Head on the Door" (1985). Robert Smith formed his band in 1976 so the quoted best of served as a sort of assessment of these ten years. This collection of clips which spans the end of the seventies and the first half of the eighties also served as a reminder about the versatile singer songwriter Robert Smith was (and still is) in his ability to write well-crafted songs whose influence and style came from different musical horizons.
The video is a perfect adequate companion to the record and the man responsible of their most famous videos, Tim Pope is absent from nearly half of them (his first collaboration with the band arrived with the disco-pop single "Let's Go To Bed"), roughly the first videos until "the Hanging Graden". These first videos are essentially made of the band playing their hits with their instruments. But even with this trivial method, the scenery helps to capture the feeling of the song, even of the album the song is extracted of. Thus, the band plays "Play for Today" in a white scenery and it is the color which characterizes "Seventeen Seconds" (1980), an album dominated by melancholy. "Other Voices" is played in a gray atmosphere, the perfect conditions to reflect the gloomy vibe of the record "Faith" (1981). But during this period, the band also tried new tricks in the conception of these videos like the alternate editing of "a Forest" or the grim story in the church of "Charlotte Sometimes".
With the arrival of Tim Pope, things got clear. Actually, Pope managed to shelve the supposedly blue image the Cure conveyed with their sinister trilogy: "Seventeen Seconds, "Faith", "Pornography" (1982). Besides, Smith once declared: "we recorded "Let's Go to Bed" to break this image". The clip of the song as well as others like "the Love Cats" or "In Between Days" brim with vitality, joy of living and preposterous visual ideas like playing the piano with one's toes or dressed up as a cat. Smith and his musicians feel like singing, dancing and above all having fun and Tim Pope perfectly succeeded in capturing this. The quirky side of these films is sometimes helped by the zany stories they tell like in "Close to Me" with the famous fall of the wardrobe from a cliff into the sea.
An unqualified must for any Cure fan which will be much more rewarding than a banal concert. That said, the band's second collection of videos, "Galore: the Videos 1987-1997" is the compilation which helps to better illustrate the band's state of mind while acting in these films: playful, cheerful, not being taken seriously...
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