The Cure “Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018”

For Record Store Day 2018, The Cure issued a 2-LP picture disc titled Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018. Limited to 7,750 copies worldwide, this album is a companion piece to the 1990 remix album Mixed Up (which received its own remastered vinyl reissue for that same Record Store Day). Where Mixed Up generally featured remixes of the Cure’s better-known songs, Torn Down consists of new 2018 remixes of 16 of the goth-rock band’s lesser-known tracks. One song was selected for remixing from each of the Cure’s studio albums released between 1979 and 2008, along with “Never Enough” from Mixed Up and “Cut Here” from the 2001 Greatest Hits album. Torn Down will be available on regular black vinyl on June 15th, and the 16 tracks will make up the third disc of the upcoming 3-CD reissue of Mixed Up, also coming June 15th.

The 16 remixes on Torn Down essentially give modern facelifts to decades-old tracks, putting them more in line with contemporary alternative music. A noticeable trend here is that guitar-based sounds tend to be mixed out in favor of electronic sounds. This is immediately noticeable on the new mix of the early track “Three Imaginary Boys”, which also makes Robert Smith’s lead vocal come through clearer. The remix of “The Drowning Man” is perhaps the best of the bunch; the guitar sounds are replaced by lush piano and strings, bringing the song to a whole new level of melancholy beauty. “A Night Like This” is another standout; it is here dominated by keyboards and saxophone, possessing a sleek dance-club ambience that almost makes it feel like an entirely different song. “Cut Here” has been transformed into a piano-based song with a few synth effects.

In many cases, the Cure’s usual gloomy aura has been considerably softened by these remixes. On “A Strange Day”, the original’s stern drum beat has been effectively submerged under added layers of electronic sound. “Shake Dog Shake”, on the other hand, has been given a heavier drum sound, but Smith’s lead vocal has been made less overbearing. “The Last Day Of Summer” does not seem as sad a song with its denser layers of ornate sound. “Want” and “From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea” have their sonic blankets removed almost entirely, leaving them with spare keyboard arrangements that make the songs notably gentler. And the keyboards and electronic beats added to “Lost” slightly cushion the blow of Smith’s intense vocal climax.

Other noteworthy remixes: The once-vague “Just One Kiss” is given a much fuller-sounding mix here, topped off with a spacey Theremin-like layer. “Never Enough” is one remix that actually adds a guitar layer, one that is reminiscent of Blur. And “It’s Over” is one remix that reduces its amount of electronic noise, with sparser synths that allow Smith’s vocals to stand out more. One remix that does not work to good effect is that of “Like Cockatoos”, which inexplicably gets drowned in a seemingly pointless electronic glop.

The overall impression left by Torn Down raises the question: Could it be that Robert Smith’s tendencies toward doom and gloom have softened with age? A lot can happen in ten years, and that’s how long it has been since the release of the Cure’s last studio album, 4:13 Dream, in 2008. We’ll eventually learn the answer to this question when we finally hear new material from the Cure – which Smith has recently said he is working on writing.

The Record Store Day picture disc version of Torn Down does suffer from some surface noise in spots, but not as much as some picture discs do. Watching the picture discs spin on the turntable does provide a hypnotic visual that fits well with the music.

The Cure - Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras

The Cure “Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018” (Elektra/Fiction R1 566453) 2018

Track Listing:

1. Three Imaginary Boys (help me mix 2018) 3:24
2. M (attack mix 2018) 3:10
3. The Drowning Man (bright birds mix 2018) 4:30
4. A Strange Day (drowning waves mix 2018) 5:07
5. Just One Kiss (remember mix 2018) 5:00
6. Shake Dog Shake (new blood mix 2018) 5:13
7. A Night Like This (hello goodbye mix 2018) 4:26
8. Like Cockatoos (lonely in the rain mix 2018) 3:51
9. Plainsong (edge of the world mix 2018) 4:36
10. Never Enough (time to kill mix 2018) 3:38
11. From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea (love in vain mix 2018) 6:24
12. Want (time mix 2018) 4:46
13. The Last Day Of Summer (31st August mix 2018) 5:46
14. Cut Here (if only mix 2018) 4:29
15. Lost (found mix 2018) 4:01
16. It’s Over (whisper mix 2018) 4:58