The latest in an ongoing series of The Cure remasters, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is truly an album of excess. The original release clocked in at a whopping eighteen songs and over seventy five minutes of music, and the bonus disc in the set features just as many tracks and nearly just as much music. In some ways the original album sounds sort of like a huge compendium of all the different styles the group had done to date, including darker tracks that sound like they could have come off albums like Pornography with poppier pieces that take off in the direction that they hinted at on their previous Head On The Door album.
The end result is a big old, somewhat flawed album that still manages to succeed with sheer force and a big batch of great tracks. The album opens with "The Kiss," and the track is all darkwave synths and screaming guitar solos that lay down an uneasy bed for Robert Smith to spill some severe pathos over. From there out, though, the album is completely all over the place. "Catch" follows with one of the lighter tracks on the entire disc as light, strummy guitars team up with some airy synths and almost whispered vocals from Smith. Of course just about everyone knows the two biggest songs on the release, the synth-horn laced "Why Can't I Be You?" and what is easily one of the best songs (and pure pop moments) in The Cure's entire discography in "Just Like Heaven."
Other than the big name tracks, the real standouts are songs like the excellent "How Beautiful You Are," which seems to reflect similar darker dance-pop trends by the likes of contemporaries such as New Order. With an energetic bass line, cracking percussion, and hummable but not overtly poppy melodies, the track is a slightly downcast gem. Another outstanding piece is the post-punk tinged "Shiver And Shake," which draws a bead back to the groups earlier, more propulsive pieces and invigorates the release a bit towards the end.
As mentioned above, there are several tracks on the release that feel more like b-sides than album tracks (like the noodly, somewhat aimless "The Snake Pit" and "Icing Sugar" that ages even worse with overdramatic saxophone bleats). The songs on the second disc of the set are definitely aimed more at serious fans of the group than those just looking to get into the group, as most of them are really rough in terms of quality. They do, however, offer some unique insights in terms of where pieces started out originally and what they would eventually become. Like other remasters in the series, the packaging is very nice and the extended liner notes are interesting and occasionally unintentionally funny (like when Robert Smith seems like he's ripping on other members). It's not the best thing out there by the group, but it's still pretty darn good.