The Top (album)

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The Top
The Cure - The Top.jpg
Studio album by
Released30 April 1984
StudioGenetic, Garden Studios and Trident
The Cure chronology
Japanese Whispers
The Top
The Head on the Door
Singles from The Top
  1. "The Caterpillar"
    Released: 26 March 1984

The Top is the fifth studio album by British alternative rock band the Cure, released on 30 April 1984 by record label Fiction. It entered the UK Albums Chart at N°10 on 12 May.[1] Shortly after its release, the Cure embarked on a major UK tour culminating with a three-night residency at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

Background and recording[edit]

After recording psychedelic album Blue Sunshine for the one-off project the Glove during summer 1983, Robert Smith finished off the year composing and working on two other studio albums at the same time: The Top for the Cure and Hyæna for Siouxsie and the Banshees. Smith was still the official guitarist of the Banshees while he wrote The Top.

For The Top, Smith teamed up with another Cure founding member, Lol Tolhurst, who had given up drums for keyboards, and new drummer Andy Anderson, who had previously performed on the UK top 10 single "The Lovecats". Porl Thompson was credited for playing saxophone on "Give Me It". All the songs are credited to Smith bar three tracks co-written with Tolhurst: "The Caterpillar", "Bird Mad Girl" and "Piggy in the Mirror".


The album's style is eclectic, with Smith using various instruments including violin and flute. "Bird Mad Girl" is in a Spanish style, while "The Wailing Wall" contains Middle Eastern undertones. Sounds critic Jack Barron described the opening track "Shake Dog Shake" as "urbane metal".[2]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[3]
The Austin Chronicle2.5/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[5]
The Guardian4/5 stars[6]
Q2/5 stars[8]
Record Mirror3.5/5[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars[10]
Sounds2.5/5 stars[2]
Uncut4/5 stars[11]

The Top was released on 30 April 1984 by record label Fiction. It was a commercial success in the UK, peaking at No. 10 on the UK Albums Chart.[12] "The Caterpillar" was the sole single released from the album.

Upon its release, the reaction in the British press was mostly positive. Steve Sutherland of Melody Maker praised the album for its "psychedelia that can't be dated",[13] while Andy Strike of Record Mirror called it "a record of wicked originality and wit".[9] In contrast, Barron at Sounds noted that The Top is "too often not the true bottom line in reflected experience to be indisposable", but nevertheless prophesied, "In 20 years time, when the next generation blush with excitement about the word psychedelic, it'll be regarded as a classic".[2] On a more skeptical note, NME reviewer Danny Kelly considered it self-indulgent, qualifying it as "a ambitious difficult record".[14]

In a retrospective review, Q writer Tom Doyle dismissed The Top as a "transitional record of forgettable songs".[8] Thomas Inkeep of Stylus Magazine wrote that The Top "may well be the nadir of their catalog", concluding he would "call it a transitional album and leave it at that, for what came subsequently was an honest-to-goodness marvel".[15] Chris True of AllMusic noted that while it is "an album obviously recorded under stress, drink, and drugs", Smith's ability "to fuse the paranoia and neuroses of former work with his newfound use of pop melody and outside influences" makes the record "a necessary step in the evolution of the band".[3]


The album was re-released August 8, 2006 in the U.S. and August 14 in the UK. The second disc included four previously unreleased tracks ("You Stayed"; "Ariel"; "A Hand Inside My Mouth", lyrics from which were eventually used in "Inbetween Days" and "Six Different Ways"; and "Sadacic", parts of which were re-used in "New Day" and "Prayers for Rain"), three live performances, and studio outtakes/demos of nine of the 10 songs on the original album (and of "Happy the Man" and "Throw Your Foot", final versions of which were released as B-sides on the single "The Caterpillar").

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Robert Smith, except where noted.

Side A

  1. "Shake Dog Shake" – 4:55
  2. "Bird Mad Girl" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 4:05
  3. "Wailing Wall" – 5:17
  4. "Give Me It" – 3:42
  5. "Dressing Up" – 2:51

Side B

  1. "The Caterpillar" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:40
  2. "Piggy in the Mirror" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:40
  3. "The Empty World" – 2:36
  4. "Bananafishbones" – 3:12
  5. "The Top" – 6:50


The Cure

Additional musicians

  • Porl Thompson – saxophone (on disc 1 and 2), keyboards and guitar (on Live tracks on disc 2)
  • Phil Thornalley – bass guitar (on Live tracks on disc 2)



Chart (1984) Peak
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[16] 12
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[17] 44
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[18] 23
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 31
UK Albums (OCC)[12] 10
US Billboard 200[20] 180


  1. ^ "The Top". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Barron, Jack (5 May 1984). "The Cure: The Top". Sounds.
  3. ^ a b True, Chris. "The Top – The Cure". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  4. ^ Gray, Christopher (25 August 2006). "Depeche Mode, the Cure, and the Jesus & Mary Chain". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (11 August 2006). "The Cure, The Top". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  7. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (25 August 2006). "The Cure / Robert Smith: The Top / The Head on the Door / Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me / Blue Sunshine". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  8. ^ a b Doyle, Tom (September 2006). "Born Again". Q (242): 118.
  9. ^ a b Strike, Andy (5 May 1984). "'Pillar Talk". Record Mirror.
  10. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Cure". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 205–06. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Martin, Piers (September 2006). "From Meltdown to Megastardom". Uncut (112): 102.
  12. ^ a b "Cure | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  13. ^ Sutherland, Steve (5 May 1984). "Topsy-Turvy". Melody Maker.
  14. ^ Kelly, Dany (5 May 1984), "Topspin falls flat [The Top -album review]", NME
  15. ^ Inskeep, Thomas (20 November 2006). "The Cure – The Top / The Head on the Door / Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 January 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  16. ^ " – The Cure – The Top" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  17. ^ " – The Cure – The Top" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  18. ^ " – The Cure – The Top". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  19. ^ " – The Cure – The Top". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  20. ^ "The Cure Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 June 2016.

External links[edit]