The Cure - Hits The Cure is back with another "greatest hits and more" style collection.

At first glance, Greatest Hits doesn't differ greatly from 1997's Galore. In fact, 11 of its 18 songs appeared on Galore. But Greatest Hits includes a more career-spanning list of the band's upbeat singles, ignoring the band's legendary "gloomy" side. While it omits "Fascination Street" and "Hot Hot Hot," it includes earlier singles like "Boys Don't Cry," "A Forest," "The Walk," "The Lovecats," and "In Between Days," which were absent from Galore. It also includes all of the more recent standards, from "Why Can't I Be You," "Just Like Heaven," "Lullaby" and "LoveSong," to "Never Enough," "Friday I'm in Love," "Wrong Number" and "Mint Car." However, it excludes any songs from its last CD, Bloodflowers, which didn't include any truly "happy" singles. Greatest Hits also includes two new tracks, "Cut Here" and "Just Say Yes," the latter a wild romp finding Smith duetting at his most provocative with Republica vocalist Saffron.

But the real treat for true Cure fans will be the Limited Edition pressing of Greatest Hits. This includes a second CD, following the same track listing as the first but with all of the songs re-recorded acoustically. The Acoustic Hits disc finds the band using xylophones, accordions, pianos, picked acoustic guitars and other non-techno instruments to recreate the hooks and sound effects that were recorded by synthesizers on the original studio versions. It's a fresh take on some of the best songs in The Cure's catalogue. It's highly recommended.


New Order New Order
Get Ready

New Order's first album in eight years puts the formative '80s synth band back on top with ease. Get Ready quickly washes away the mediocre taste of singer Bernard Sumner's last excursions with Electronic, and serves as a reminder that nobody makes the bass sing like Peter Hook. With the understated guest vocal assistance of Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, "Turn my Way" brings out everything that was ever steely cool about the band in its throbbing basslines and whispering background vocals.

It's an anthem to individuality as Sumner sings "I don't wanna be like other people are I wanted to be free/I wanted to be true."

"Vicious Streak" melds both the disco-lite strings and beats that the band explored on the lackluster Republic with the moodier synthesizer loops of its darker, earlier albums. "Primitive Notion" also opens with an echoing guitar riff that sounds like vintage New Order, before the band gallops into an upbeat pop chorus. "Slow Jam" uses a distorted techno sound effect to launch the band into the modern dance circuit, but then rests on Hook's throbbing bass and Sumner's lazy lyrics for its mellow verses before cranking into a fist-raising chorus, celebrating emotional fulfillment: "I don't want the world to change/I like the way it is/just give me one more wish/I can't get enough of this."

"Rock the Shack" opens with an almost Western-sounding guitar flair and some introspective lyrics ("I've been wide-eyed but couldn't see/I stand accused of being me") before Sumner belts out a garagey call to arms with "rock the shack."

There's nothing earthshakingly innovative about Get Ready; rather, this listens like a distillation of everything that the band has learned in its 20 years of existence. It closes with a lightly strummed guitar ballad, "Run Wild," that somehow comes over like a lowkey, nostalgic reprise of "Every Little Counts" from Brotherhood, demonstrating Sumner's continued knack with a quiet melody. It leaves the listener ready for more as he promises "good times around the corner/I'm gonna live 'til I die."