Customer Reviews

108
4.5 out of 5 stars
Seventeen Seconds [Deluxe Edition]
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:$29.98 + $3.99shipping
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I first heard the eerie notes of Seveneteen Seconds back in the winter of 1983...it was then I became hooked on The Cure. This album is so tight, so fresh, so well done, any music collection would be incomplete without it. The next two albums after this one- "Faith" and "Pornography"- are excellent albums (I have a review of "Pornography") but this one...this one just has that magical and mysterious sound that glows on a dark night. Perfect listening setting? A cold, late December night, a light snow falling, a slight breeze bringing the naked tree limbs to life. Just slap on the headphones and start walking. Before you know it, you're floating. One thing I have always loved about this CD is that it comes off so smooth...the music is so smooth and crisp it just slides through your ears.
Top tracks on "Seventeen Seconds"? The classic "A Forest", "In Your House", "The Final Sound", and of course "Play For Today". Every track is great, but if I had to pick'em, there they are.
There are some eerie sounds....dark lyrics...but there are also hints of the quirk-Cure too....it's just not as obvious....there are layers and layers for your musical being to explore. It's a treat for any music lover. "Seventeen Seconds" is one of the most intense and visually stimulating records ever made.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
This is an awesome, moody little album that fits right in today with the slew of bands going after the early-80s 'post-punk' sound. This disc marks the first of a masterful trilogy that continues with Faith and Pornography.

The Cure are famous for being gloomy, and this album backs it up, but it's not heavy or depressing and it never gets to be too much. Quite the opposite. Some songs are slower, like In Your House, while other like Play For Today (the first track after the instrumental opening) open up with an electronic calling in the back and a punchy little rhythm, immediately catchy, and the perfect length. Three, meanwhile, has the feeling of a dark jingle. At Night has a slow, fuzzy opening and a steady beat, sounding a little like a dark Police. The classic track A Forest sounds even richer in the remastered format. There's the classic Cure guitar, the bobbing basslines, some swishy help from the keyboards in the background to lend that gray atmosphere...it sounds like 1980, it's spot-on. The whole trilogy is accompanied by perfect album art--they each sound like the covers. A wash of muted colors on what looks like a blurry windshield here, to the mysterious gray, faint scribbling of Faith, to the tortured Scream-like cover of Pornography.

An addictive album of good songs, with Smith's voice never overbearing, nor never too much whining, and some very fine singing. Pornography would bring the band to a darker place, with its far more depressed quality. Seventeen Seconds is getting there, but it's minor-key pop with some very good production. Cure addicts may break it down more in terms of band lineups, but I find the whole release an excellent effort.

Quite frankly, better than most of the bands out there who were in diapers when this was released, you may as well check out the original thing. And at 30-odd minutes, it's the old style of complete, quality beginning-to-end albums perfect for a slow day at home, preferably in the middle of the week when it's raining.

The new Cure remastereds are excellent, a real value for fans. For one, the sound is vastly improved--just compare any track on here, but especially 'A Forest', with your old AAD disc--big difference. The bass is bigger, punchier, the sounds are all clearer and brought up front. The older, unremastered rock albums really do suffer with the original CD format--everything is flattened right out to the middle, while the new discs bring much-needed oomph to everything. The second disc is full of goodies, from demos to live versions of nearly the entire album in great sound quality. And of course, nice liner notes with actual notes, old pictures, the whole job. Quality re-release in this era of downloading, however, it must be said that these sets are BIT on the pricey side, but will likely be a must for fans of this album (and the following two).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2006
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Robert Smith explains in the 2005 2 CD deluxe edition reissue of "Seventeen Seconds" that this is "the first record I felt was really The Cure", and although I feel this statement is pushing it a bit, it's still very understandable. Although Smith was just turning 21 around the time of "Seventeen Seconds"' initial release in April of 1980, the Cure had already made their first masterpiece. (It has now been reissued in single CD form in April of 2006.)

It shouldn't be overlooked though that The Cure's 1979 debut "Three Imaginary Boys", a strong album in its own right, did point the way toward "Seventeen Seconds", in particular on tracks like "Another Day" and especially the title track. There's no denying though that "Seventeen Seconds" marks a major turning point for The Cure--the sound here is more thoroughly haunting, more claustrophobic, with an incredibly icy snare drum sound throughout, and with Smith's vocals often being pushed WAY back in the mix and never as upfront as on many of the songs from "Three Imaginary Boys".

Smith also explains in the deluxe edition liner notes that the group made virtually no modifications to their 'basic set-up' throughout the album's entire 10-day recording session, and quite frankly, this method proved to be an absolute blessing. For one thing, it allowed the band to work quickly and affordably since they were still relatively low on money at the time. At the same time, it also accounts for the album's consistent sound which gives it an irresisible, mesmerizing flow. There don't appear to be that many overdubs at all on the album, which could be attibuted to the lack of time and money the band had at their disposal, but again, this proved to be an advantage--the starkness of the album is absolutely arresting.

It appears that Smith pretty much had in mind exactly what he wanted when the band went into the studio to record "Seventeen Seconds". As the saying goes, there doesn't appear to be a note out of place anywhere on the entire album--the overall level of craftsmanship is astonishing. The performances themselves are nearly as precise--the only time the band sounds a bit 'off' is on the intro portion of "Play For Today" where Lol Tolhurst's bass drumming seems to be a tad behind the beat. Tolhurst's lack of technical proficiency on the drums has been well-documented, but aside from this extremely minor gripe, his limitations don't hinder the album whatsover. Frankly, on most of the songs you could almost swear the band was using a drum machine opposed to a real living drummer.

Keyboardist Matthieu Hartley joined the band for just this one album before leaving. "Play For Today", "In Your House", "M", "A Forest", and the title track all use synthesizers in a mind-blowingly unobtrusive manner that enhances their moody feel.

Every song here is in a minor key, and even with such a strong emphasis on 'mood', the band still managed to pile in catchy hooks and/ or arresting melodies into pretty much every song. Much of this is thanks to Smith's guitar work, which is brilliant throughout--check out his superbly 'rubbery' rhythm work on "Play For Today"; his dreamy arpeggios on "In Your House"; and his ingeniously dissonant chords on "At Night". "A Forest" is a thrilling uptempo epic that culminates in Smith's cathartic, frantic riffing, and the 8-note guitar riff that appears on the intro leaves such an impression that you might not even realize that it never reappears after the first minute & a half of this nearly-6-minute song.

Like Pink Floyd before them, the Cure prove themselves to be masters of pacing. There are three instrumentals/ near-instrumentals here, and they each work as links in the chain as opposed to just album fillers. The album starts off with the gentle, yet creepy and contemplative instrumental "A Reflection". "Three" has a robotic kind of repetitiveness to it, and is basically an instrumental, although there are some extremely buried vocals that seem to be mostly spoken and are almost totally inaudible. The atonal, haunted house-style "The Final Sound", which is less than a minute, perfectly sets up "A Forest".

There's just so much musical invention here... Smith's guitar kind of takes a backseat on "Secrets" which has a prominent, memorable bass line and extremely distant-sounding piano chiming. The beginning part of "Play For Today" features brilliant interplay between Gallup's bass and Smith's expert use of guitar harmonics.

The only track on the album that comes up a little short is the album-closing title track. It's not BAD--it does have a neat build-up and build-down, but it feels a bit too sketchy and melodramatic, as if they couldn't quite figure out how to bring the album to a satisfying conclusion.

The Cure would go on to make more elaborately-produced recordings later on, but "Seventeen Seconds" remains a key touchstone in their discography, and a phenomenal record in its own right.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Out of all of the three Cure reissues, I would go as far as to say that the 'Seventeen Seconds' one has the most improved sound quality versus the original cd issue, but lacks the most in the bonus material (despite the Cult Hero single being present).

The original album now has a slightly more "spacious" quality to it that the last cd issue lacked. 'A Forest' sounds absolutely brilliant. In my opinion, this remaster revealed the most. The short instrumental tracks are much clearer and the vocals more distant and ethereal. Where the 'Pornography' reissue reinforced the sonic density of its original production, the 'Seventeen Seconds' reissue reinforces the dry, spare quality to its production.

The rarities material, however, and despite the obscure and quite cool Cult Hero material, doesn't quite live up to the 'Faith' and 'Pornography' reissues. Having the Cult Hero single is definitely the highlight of portion of the set.

Overall, this is still an essential package, with great artwork, much improved sound quality, and a few essential goodies on the rarities disc.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This remaster brings out the original album's signature sound: stripped-down arrangements of distant, echoing vocals, strumming guitar, reverberating bass, cold keyboards, and tamped-down drums plodding slightly behind the beat. The lyrics are parsed down to the simplest lines (three of these songs are basically instrumental). The effect captures all the giddy pleasure of slipping under the waters of an icy pond.

True, there are fewer extras on the second CD, but they are judiciously selected and help to contextualize the creative process behind the album's development. The hilariously deadpan Cult Hero singles (with vocals by local postman Frank Bell) explain the ostensibly non-commercial sound of Seventeen Seconds, especially when we hear the singles performed live for a rowdy, hooting club crowd. More importantly, the demos and early live takes of album tracks often reveal new dimensions to the songs: a wordier version of "Seventeen Seconds" suggests an interpretation of the enigmatic title track; the alternate-lyrics version of "In Your House" (previously available on the Curiosity cassette) remains a standout; the alternate studio mix of "Three" sounds very fresh; and live versions of "The Final Sound" and "A Reflection" lend depth to these instrumentals.

This is a must for fans, and better executed than the "Three Imaginary Boys" remaster.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The Cure's second album "Seventeen Seconds" is atmospheric, sad and angry. When you listen to it you feel like you're in that photograph on the cover: an eerie land of echoes, isolation, and a feeling of blurred distance. A void in other words.
This album was made just as Robert Smith's writing was starting to explore the darker, cynical side of life. There's nothing chirpy about these songs. It's hard to believe the album was made 20 years ago. Everything was so much different back then. Space Invaders was two years old, computer graphics were primitive (yet exciting), I was in kindergarten, and Robert Smith was 21, with short hair and no make-up. If you've seen the film clips to their singles from this collection you will know that minimalism was everything to Smith.
The song I like best is "A Forest". For some reason I think of "Logan's Run" when I hear it. Probably because Smith was the same age as the character. Other songs I like are "A Refection", "In Your House" and "At Night".
In 1980 The Cure was one of the uncommercial, anti-image fringe bands. The word "mainstream" was not in their vocabulary at that time. I tend to think that a musician's early work is their best. This goes for "Seventeen seconds".
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
What's the 4-1-1?

Rhino Records have gone into The Cure vaults along with Robert Smith to bring you Deluxe Editions of two of their most memorable releases. Both are remastered and appear on CD for the first time. In addition to the complete albums, each disc comes with a bonus disc of rarities and unreleased material. Seventeen Seconds contains rarities from 1979-1980 and Faith contains rarities from 1980-1981.

Genre

Post-punk / alternative / gothic / rock

The Good

Highlights from Seventeen Seconds

Drab and dreary piano set the tone of the album on the opening instrumental cut "A Reflection". Eerie background tones help underscore the track. "Play for Today is made up of an up-tempo drum beat, glassine-like keyboards, and watery guitar tones. An infectious little guitar hook goes a long way on "In Your House". I would liken the tone of the song to a hazy dream. "A Forest" employs haunting tones and melodies, backed by thought-provoking lyrics. Fuzzy guitar tones and creepy synths dominate "At Night". Seventeen Seconds" sums up the last moments of your life after committing suicide.

The rarities disc contains "I'm a Cult Hero" and "I Dig You" from Robert Smith's side project Cult Hero. It's more hopeful than any of the tracks Smith penned for The Cure. There are two rough home demos, an alternate mix for Three, and live tracks for every song that appears on the album; even a live version of "I'm a Cult Hero".

Highlights from Faith

" The Holy Hour" begins with a rather indulgent bass line. Robert Smith blends in nicely with his clean guitar tones and his trademark tortured vocals. Driving rhythms run rampant on "Primary". The track is more up-tempo than the usual Cure track, but the story being told is no much on the up-side. Percussion accented by warm keyboard tones prevail on "All Cats are Grey". Smith seems off in the distance as he inflicts his eerie vocals. I wasn't really surprised that church organ tones could be heard throughout "Funeral Party". To keep the mood going, Robert sings like his delivering a eulogy.

The rarities disc contains the unreleased tracks "Drowning", "Going Home Time", "The Violin Song", and "A Normal Story", two raw instrumental demos of "Faith", "The Holy Hour" and "Doubt", live tracks of songs from the Faith album to include a ten minute version of "Faith" and a nine minute version of "Forever", the rare single "Charlotte Sometimes, and an alternate version of "Primary" among it's fifteen tracks.

The Bad

Nothing

The Verdict

When Rhino Records puts together a Deluxe Edition, they always deliver the goods. Not only are you getting rare and unreleased material, which is always a plus, but you're also getting to hear the songs at their best possible quality. It's fun to hear how they went to rough demo to final composition. All of the depressing, sad, and heart-broken moments of your youth can be summed up by the latest remasters by The Cure.

Did You Know?

Rhino has also released The Cure's Pornography as a two CD deluxe addition. I would have reviewed it but after listening to these two, I was ready to slit my wrists.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Three Imaginary Boys, the Cure's 1979 debut album, was something of a mish-mash of styles - mostly fast paced pop/punk music with an edge - and not really representative of where the band would head musically. By the end of the tour for TIB, the band's original bassist was let go and the Cure were readying themselves for the recording of Seventeen Seconds, which I see as the real debut of the Cure, as it is really where the Cure as we know them today begins. Split between atmsopheric instrumentals, and a few slower songs that are well doomed out, are two songs ( Play for Today and the classic A Forest ) that are a little more like TIB ( they both have a fast, clipped pace ) but show the real strengths of the band. Crisp production, spare arrangements, very simple one note keyboard lines, vocals dripping in deadpan irony, disgust, fear and loathing, doubt and crippling self awareness. Robert Smith's guitar playing is a stellar example of less is more. A classic album of the early eighties. WAIT FOR THE DELUXE RE-ISSUE COMING OUT LATE IN 2004 EARLY 2005 - IT WILL HAVE AN EXTRA CD OF BONUS TRACKS, DEMOS, LIVE CUTS, ETC.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This puts me in a world in my past..moody, intense and lonely. For those bitter moments when you need to share you mood with someone who isn't there. Contrary to the blind views of the mindless majority, music like this serves to uplift and raise the spirits, not depress. Try listening to current chart music if it's something you need to make you take up the razors...
SS999
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2006
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
If you're new to the Cure, you problably know them as a "gloomy" goth band. Well, if you pick up their first CD(Three Imaginary Boys), you would never have known. Their second album, Seventeen Seconds, took the band to a very dark place. Of coure, they got MUCH darker on the next two albums.

This is known as the first part of "The Dark Trilogy", which is followed by Faith and Pornography. The early Cure records that kind of stand by themselves. They aren't as produced as later offerings, with a more low-key sound than usual(the exception being Pornography).

The album IS very low key, and original CD pressings(and perhaps record pressings too) really ruined the sound of this album. The voice was too low, the drums were much louder than the rest of the instruments...it was a mess. It took me many years to really appreciate this CD, thanks to the god-awful sound reproduction on the old CDs. Well, they fixed it, thank god. The instruments have been raised up closer to the drums. The voice sounds louder in certain songs(At Night), and everything just sounds more "full", unlike the old pressing. It really has made all the difference in the world.

The CD is pretty solid, with only a couple of weaker tracks. "A Forest" is amazing as usual, as is "At Night". Songs like "Secrets" and "Play For Today" are great as well. "In Your House" sounds far less repetetive now that you can hear the damn keyboards!

A very low key and gloomy album, but not so much as Faith. I really like this one a lot, because it is gloomy, but not so sluggish as Faith, and has more hooks. A really big step in the right direction for The Cure.

If you're new to The Cure, and have been thinking about picking this up, get this one over the Deluxe Edition. Far cheaper, and the deluxe edition only has a couple of songs that a really worth owning. If you have the old CD pressing, and have always been frustrated with the sound, pick this up. Of coure, the voice on "Secrets" is still really low, but that's the way i'm guessing it was intended("keep quiet")

Sam M.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Head on the Door
Head on the Door by The Cure (Audio CD - 2006)

Pornography
Pornography by The Cure (Audio CD - 2006)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.