“The Top” is a feverish album, careening madly around the big tent in Robert Smith’s head. Yeah… what he said.
“The Top” is one of the 20 Great Stoner Albums
“As stale and selfish as a sick dog, spurning sex like an animal of god. I’ll tear your red hair by the roots and hold you blazing, hold you cherished in the dead electric light,” Robert Smith sneers on “Shake Dog Shake,” the opening track from “The Top.” Launching with a sudden drum barrage and mad cackling laughter, “Shake Dog Shake” is an apt introduction to this schizophrenic album.
“The Top” is dreamy, loopy, psychedelic, and a bit cracked… the first time Robert Smith merged the sullen musings and manic aggression of albums like “Faith” and “Pornography” with the kaleidoscopic pop of singles like “Let’s Go to Bed” and “The Lovecats.” This combination became the template of The Cure’s greatest successes to come; a bipolar mix of kinetic and iridescent pop, anguished confessionals and venomous freakouts. “The Top” propels the listener headfirst into a sickly sweet and mad world that’s equal parts nightmare and daydream fantasy.
Essentially a Robert Smith solo project — The Cure had functionally ceased to exist as a band at this point — “The Top” is a feverish album, careening madly around the big tent in Robert Smith’s head. It’s “Sgt. Peppers” played by a cast of evil clowns lurking in dark hallways; they’ll either butcher everyone in the house or throw the world’s most demented sex-balloon party, or maybe both.