The Cure: Standing On A Beach – The Singles (1986)

Kronomyth 10.0: LIFE’S A BEACH, AND THEN YOU DIE. Standing On A Beach collects the first 13 singles from The Cure in chronological order, which might seem a kindness but, in fact, plays out more like a gloomy history lesson. I bought this because I was in love with “The Lovecats.” I ended up playing the crap out of that song, “In Between Days” and “Close To Me.” The rest of the record is dour, difficult—in other words, exactly what you’d expect if you’d already heard albums like Faith and Pornography. Poor me, I’d just bought Head On The Door and imagined that all Cure albums sounded like that. They don’t. They’re dark, complex records that deal with difficult subjects (“The Hanging Garden”) and can seem unduly noisy (“Primary”). I did enjoy “The Caterpillar” from The Top and the unbreakable “Boys Don’t Cry,” which was re-released as a single for this album and finally charted. Yet I would ultimately rank Standing On A Beach as one of the more depressing greatest hits albums you’re likely to encounter, simply because The Cure’s early albums were so, well, depressing. On a more interesting note, this was issued in several different formats including an extended CD release (oddly re-titled Staring At The Sea) and a double cassette release that featured an album’s worth of B sides (on the off chance that you still own a cassette player). Beachcombers beware: If you’re really interested in the early Cure, pick up Seventeen Seconds, Faith or Pornography instead and leave the singles for the seagulls.

LP version (Standing On The Beach)
1. Killing An Arab (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
2. Boys Don’t Cry (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
3. Jumping Someone Else’s Train (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
4. A Forest (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup/Matthieu Hartley)
5. Primary (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
6. Charlotte Sometimes (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
7. The Hanging Garden (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
8. Let’s Go To Bed (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst)
9. The Walk (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst)
10. The Lovecats (Robert Smith)
11. The Caterpillar (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst)
12. In Between Days (Robert Smith)
13. Close To Me (Robert Smith)

Double Cassette version (CS1 same as above, CS2 below)
1. I’m Cold
2. Another Journey By Train
3. Descent
4. Splintered In Her Head
5. Mr. Pink Eyes
6. Happy The Man
7. Throw Your Foot
8. The Exploding Boy
9. A Few Hours After This
10. A Man Inside My Mouth
11. Stop Dead
12. New Day

CD version (Staring At The Sea)
1. Killing An Arab (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
2. 10:15 Saturday Night (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
3. Boys Don’t Cry (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
4. Jumping Someone Else’s Train (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey)
5. A Forest (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup/Matthieu Hartley)
6. Play For Today (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup/Matthieu Hartley)
7. Primary (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
8. Other Voices (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
9. Charlotte Sometimes (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
10. The Hanging Garden (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst/Simon Gallup)
11. Let’s Go To Bed (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst)
12. The Walk (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst)
13. The Lovecats (Robert Smith)
14. The Caterpillar (Robert Smith/Lol Tolhurst)
15. In Between Days (Robert Smith)
16. Close To Me (Robert Smith)
17. A Night Like This (Robert Smith)

The Players
Nothing to sea here, move along.

The Plastic
Released on elpee, double-cassette (with a dozen B sides) and CD (with four extra tracks, re-titled as Staring At The Sea) on May 6, 1986 in the UK (Fiction, FIXH/FIXHC-12), the US and Canada (Elektra, 60477), Australia (Fiction, 600141), Mexico (Polydor, LPR-16684) and Worldwide (Polydor, 829 239); reached #4 on the UK charts and #48 on the US charts (RIAA certified 2X platinum record on December 12, 1997). The original elpee featured a gatefold cover and picture innersleeve.

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