Rhino has another winner with the latest in their series of Cure remasters. With this, the band's 1987 masterpiece is finally released on CD in its complete form (earlier pressings all omitted "Hey You!," even long after CD lengths could handle its inclusion), as well as an alternate version of the entire album, comprised of demos, instrumental sketches, and live tracks.
Ah, 1987, when dance, alternative, and rock could all play nice together. It's astonishing, really, that a record as expansive as this was The Cure's big-league breakthrough, building on the crossover success of 1985's The Head on The Door. Dancefloor struts like "Hot Hot Hot!!!" and "Why Can't I Be You?" share space with pop gems like "Catch" and "Just Like Heaven" and the weird, expressionist jams of "The Kiss" and "The Snakepit." Today's overstuffed CD culture regularly eclipses the length of the classic double vinyl record on one disc, and as such we get a lot of overkill. It's refreshing, then, to listen to a double album that was made and sequenced when a twenty-minute side of vinyl was a connected statement.
The remastering sounds lovely, with exceptional soundfield response. "The Kiss," with its swirling menace, sounds remarkable, plunging the listener into the electrogothic plasma pit that exemplifies The Cure at their best. "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" is like an enveloping hypnosis, its plucked sitar like hundreds of tiny fingers on the spine.
What distinguishes this release even amongst Rhino's usually-spectacular standards is the second disc, which takes material from a variety of sources in order to craft a completely different version of the album, leaping back in time to home and studio demos and past the initial album release for some great live material. It doesn't replace the original record, nor does it attempt to. But it gives a remarkable gift to fans of The Cure, allowing the listener to experience the entire record as something new as well as giving insight into the band's creative process.
And any examination of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me must address that this primes the pump for something stellar- a remastered Disintegration. Chills down the spine in anticipation
Between this and this year's earlier Depeche Mode reissues, Rhino is certainly treating Warner music's 80s greats with the love and respect that they deserve. Let's hope that similar love can be shown to Erasure and New Order, both of whom have catalogues overrepresented by hits compilations and underrepresented by album-by-album reexaminations.
Original Album: *****