Ratings: 8.5/10 (Staring at the Sea)
7/10 (Picture Show)
Staring at the Sea is the first video collection released by The Cure back in 1986 and it’s probably their best. What makes this collection one of their best is that you can find all of their videos from 1979 to 1985 on this tape. Fans get to see everything from their worst, most awkward videos to some of their best that they’re known for. What makes it even better is that most of their earlier videos most likely did not air on television, so for many fans it’s their first time seeing these videos.
To break up the monotony, there is previously unreleased footage of The Cure’s early shows, recording sessions, and footage of them goofing around. The quality of this footage is not the best (it was the 80’s what do you expect) but it’s still interesting to see nonetheless. You even get a chance to hear some Cure b-sides during these interludes. But what makes this collection great are the videos themselves.
There are some videos where Robert Smith is unrecognizable due to lack of make-up and big hair. In most of their early videos The Cure looks bored. At the end of “Other Voices” you can even see Robert give up miming the guitar. You even get the chance to see the band’s corniest video “Charlotte Sometimes.” This clip finds them creeping around an abandoned mental hospital while some wide eye girl runs around them. One of their most popular singles “A Forest” has a pretty bad video too. Awful camera angles, a bored looking, unflattering close ups and weird colors. Not one of their finest moments. Some of the other music videos found here are “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” “Killing an Arab,” “A Night Like This,” and “Let’s Go to Bed.”
Overall, this video gets an 8.5/10. While it doesn’t have all of their videos, it’s the only release that has all of their early videos that were not aired often on television. It also features never before seen concert and backstage footage. This is a great video to have if you are just getting into The Cure and want to see the different sides and styles of the band or if you’re a Curehead and just want to see these classic videos again. Pick up a copy if you can find one.
The band’s second video collection Picture Show doesn’t have as many videos as their first, but the ones that are found here are just as entertaining. This tape picks up where the first collection left off. In a nutshell, it has the videos from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Disintegration. It features some of their best clips including “Lullaby,” “Love Song,” and “Just Like Heaven,” but it also includes some clips that aren’t found on any other video collection, such as “Catch” and “Fascination Street.”
There are also extended versions of “Why Can’t I Be You” and “Hot Hot Hot.” These videos take the 12” remixes of these songs and includes bonus footage that was left out of the original version. My favorite is the extra dance footage from the former video. Aside from this bonus footage, there is also backstage and candid footage of The Cure at sound check, on their tour bus, and on the set of their videos. Sometimes the footage isn’t interesting like the 8 minute behind the scenes look at “Pictures of You.” This runs on too long and doesn’t show anything that keeps your attention.
What brings this video down is how slowly it moves. Even though the first tape has 17 videos, it seemed to move quicker than this one. It could be due to the fact that after every clip is candid footage of some sort. While the footage can be interesting since it includes some interviews, it can be too much at times. But you can’t totally fault the band. It seems like they just wanted to have at least and hour and a half of footage since there are only 10 videos here. Another thing that’s bad about the collection is that there are two instances where there is a compilation of performance footage that has a b-side playing over it. Personally, I would rather hear the performances themselves. It’s kind of frustrating when you realize the mouth movement and the lyrics never match up.
Overall, this collection gets 7/10. It’s great for any Cure collector but it’s not as good as their first video release. This tape moves slower, has constant footage that plays between all the videos, and the footage isn’t all that interesting at times. The videos themselves are fantastic, especially since you can see videos that aren’t featured on any of their further video compilations. Still, it’s interesting to see at least, especially if you want to see The Cure dance more than they should.