The Cure-Greatest Hits (2001)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Easter Egg-The Caterpillar; Close To Me (The Remix); Pictures Of You
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tim Pope|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Varies||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Cure are, like David Bowie, one of those bands I managed to hear while spending a weekend morning sitting in front of a television with little idea of what was going on around me. One of their signature songs, Lullaby, kept me up at night, visualising what was described in the lyrics. The Cure were formed in 1976 by Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey, Laurence Tolhurst, and Porl Thompson, and had caught the eye of a German record label the following year by winning a Battle Of The Bands-style competition. Unfortunately, the label in question, Ariola-Hansa, saw The Cure as a malleable, fresh-faced pop group, while Smith had other ideas, and a year later the relationship was dissolved with nothing having been released. Twenty-five years later, with numerous line-up changes and events in the time between, Ariola-Hansa's loss has been the gain of the true alternative music world.
In those twenty-five years, The Cure have released a bucketload of albums, backed up with some great singles that have in turn been backed up by some brilliant music videos, many of which were directed by Tim Pope. This retrospective video includes such well-known Cure singles as The Love Cats and Boys Don't Cry, and unlike today's malleable, fresh-faced pop groups, The Cure actually do something creative with their videos. This is especially apparent in the videos for Let's Go To Bed and Lullaby, the latter featuring some of the most creepy and surreal imagery outside of a certain Tom Petty video I have seen. While The Cure are pretty light compared to what I normally enjoy listening to, there is no denying their creativity, and if creativity is what you want in your music videos, then you need look no further than this DVD.
For those who are already enticed by the promise of real music on DVD, here is the track listing:
|1. Boys Don't Cry|
2. A Forest
3. Let's Go To Bed
4. The Walk
5. The Love Cats
6. Inbetween Days
7. Close To Me
8. Why Can't I Be You?
9. Just Like Heaven
11. Love Song
12. Never Enough
14. Friday I'm In Love
15. Mint Car
16. Wrong Number
17. Cut Here
18. Just Say Yes
When dealing with videos made by a band on limited funds or with a twenty-five year history, one must expect that the source materials used to comprise the videos will be of varied quality, and The Cure are no exception.
The majority of the music videos are presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with High, Mint Car, and Just Say Yes being presented in an approximate 1.44:1 ratio, while Cut Here is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 for good measure. None of these videos are 16x9 Enhanced.
Most of the videos have a smooth, almost film-like quality that is quite unusual for music videos of the 1970s and 1980s, although early efforts like Boys Don't Cry and The Walk have a slightly hazy look that shows their age. The shadow detail in all of these videos is excellent when required, which is quite often, in keeping with The Cure's artistic style. I did not detect any low-level noise in the transfer, although grain is occasionally apparent in the backgrounds. High has a grainy, almost overcompressed look that leads me to wonder whether this effect was intentional.
The colours in these music videos all have a specific design and look, which the transfer captures impeccably. A Forest and High have had very specific colour effects applied to them, which the transfer has rendered without any composite artefacting.
MPEG artefacts were not apparent in this transfer, thanks to a combination of efficiently-applied compression and good source materials. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of aliasing on guitar strings during some of the videos, A Forest being the worst offender in this regard. Film artefacts consisted of numerous white scratches on the negative during The Love Cats and hairs on the negative during High, but these were in generally acceptable amounts.
There are no subtitles on this disc, which is a bit of a pity considering that there are bound to be arguments about what Robert Smith is actually singing.
There are two soundtracks on this DVD, both of which are renderings of the songs with their original English lyrics: the first is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with a bitrate of 224 kilobits per second, the second being a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack with 448 kilobits per second. I listened almost exclusively to the latter soundtrack, taking time to compare The Love Cats and Lullaby in both soundtracks.
Robert Smith's vocals are always clear and easy to understand, save for the occasional accented word that has been argued about by generations of Cure fans, and probably will be argued about for years to come. There are no discernable problems with audio sync, save for the usual strange effect that miming a song tends to produce. Hiss was occasionally present during quiet moments in songs like A Forest, but this was more of an occasional artefact that was tolerable.
The music in all of these videos is the work of The Cure in all of its incarnations, with Robert Smith being the primary songwriter throughout the collection. The music itself is a lighter, more poppy version of what I would normally listen to, and back when MTV was not quite so monopolistic and closed as it tends to be today, the songs featured here enjoyed regular airplay. Of the eighteen songs featured here, my favourites would be Let's Go To Bed, The Love Cats, and, of course, Lullaby. The versions of some songs that are included in this compilation differ slightly from the album versions, but not as abhorrently as certain techno remixes of film scoring that I've had to inflict myself with recently.
The surround channels are constantly utilised by the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in order to support the cymbals, keyboards, and ambient reverberations from other instruments, including Robert Smith's vocals. By comparison, the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack sounds rather thin and anaemic, having very little life to it at all. If this is a deliberate piece of engineering to make me favour the idea of multichannel music, then it has worked quite well.
The subwoofer was also constantly utilised to support the bass and bass drums, which it did with aplomb during songs like The Love Cats, giving this video a far greater sense of life than it had when I caught it on television all those years ago. This DVD will provide a torture test for your subwoofer, without needing to resort to overemphasis.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is lightly animated with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. Navigation is relatively easy, but such features as audio selection involve selecting rather cryptic and small icons in the top right corner.
Selecting this option takes the user to a submenu with a track listing, featuring A Forest (4:52), The Love Cats (3:49), Close To Me (3:50), Lullaby (4:13), Friday I'm In Love (3:37), and Just Say Yes (3:31). The featurette is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.
A static screen that promises "secret hits" at www.curehits.com, and a waste of the time involved in looking at it, really.
Clocking in at three minutes and forty-three seconds, this is a promotional video for one of the singles from The Cure's brilliant 1984 album The Top. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio, and the quality is similar to the videos in the main programme - basically the look of aged film with the sound of well-separated instruments. Those who are stumped on how to access it can highlight the next sentence: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) it is accessed by highlighting The Walk in the songs list, A section, then pressing down once and right twice.
This video, clocking in at four minutes and twenty-eight seconds, is for a rather insipid-sounding remix of Close To Me, one of the singles from The Head On The Door. It is also presented with a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio. Those who are stumped on how to access it can highlight the next sentence: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) it is accessed by highlighting Close To Me in the songs list, B section, then pressing up three times.
Clocking in at five minutes and thirty-one seconds, this is a promotional video for another of the singles from what many consider to be The Cure's best work - the 1989 album Disintegration, the same one that Lullaby is taken from. It has a rather noisy and grainy look for much of the time, and it too has a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio. Those who are stumped on how to access it can highlight the next sentence: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) it is accessed by highlighting Friday I'm In Love in the songs list, C section, then pressing down three times.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Reliable information about the Region 1 version of this disc is hard to find, but it appears that we get pretty much the same transfer and features. It appears as if the videos were actually shot with the PAL framerate in mind (not unusual for British bands), so speedup doesn't appear to be an issue here. The local disc is cheaper, anyway.
The Cure are famous for doing things their way, and after seeing some of their best work presented with promotional videos, I can come to the conclusion that this is a Good Thing. Greatest Hits features some of the most creative music videos ever screened on television, and is a recommended purchase to anyone who is interested in real music.
The video transfer is of excellent, surprising quality, especially considering the age of the source materials.
The audio transfer features a real cracker of a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that rings the death-knell for music videos on VHS.
The extras are not numerous, but well worth the viewing time.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|