After recording one of their darkest albums, 1983's The Top, the Cure regrouped and shuffled their lineup in 1984 and ended up changing their musical direction rather radically. While the band always had a pop element in their sound and even recorded one of the lightest songs of the '80s, "The Lovecats," The Head on the Door is where they become a hitmaking machine. The shiny, sleek production and laser-sharp melodies of "Inbetween Days" and "Close to Me" helped them become modern rock radio staples and the inspired videos had them in heavy rotation on MTV.
An assortment of remixes, re-recordings, old singles, and one new song ("Never Enough"). Most of the remixes are quite radical, leaving only the bare bones of the original song. There are enough oddities and rare tracks on Mixed Up to make it necessary for Cure fans, but it's too specialized for casual listeners. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
After the fallout both psychologically and physically of Pornography, it looked unlikely that anyone would hear from the Cure ever again. Surprisingly, from 1982-1983 Robert Smith and (now keyboardist) Lol Tolhurst put out some of the catchiest singles of their career…
Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick makes his ECM debut as a leader with this set, which features keyboardist Jon Balke and a guest appearance from Stian Carstensen - usually an accordionist, but here playing that jazz-band rarity, the pedal-steel guitar. Eick (who also plays vibes and guitar) has played with everybody from the pioneering Trygve Seim collective to Chick Corea, psychedelic group Motorpsycho and contemporary jazz-rock band Jaga Jazzist. His silky, unbrasslike sound is ideally suited to this undulating groove-landscape, and pianist Balke's apposite fills and asides help give the music a collective fluency. But there's more angularity in the rough offbeats and low keyboard grunts under Eick's airy lines on the funky Stavanger, the stately Cologne Blues is like a slowed-down Carla Bley piece (with Carstensen's steel guitar shimmering beneath it, and a probing Balke solo), and there's a folk song lilt to the mid-tempo Williamsburg. A lot of it is slow tone-poetry, but Eick's rather mournful, puffs-of-air sound is pretty captivating.