Friday, March 02, 2007

Tears for Fears for your faithful narrator

So, like you, I always thought Tears For Fears was a fairly overrated band. Their singles were vastly overplayed and their non-singles, while, there was a reason why they weren't released as singles. They weren't very good.

This actually started to change for me after seeing the movie Donnie Darko. During the closing credits, the song Gary Jules' cover of Mad World is played. It was familiar to me right away but I couldn't place it. The song was also used to great effect in the commercial for the Xbox game Gears of War.

My awareness of Tears For Fears, like with all north americans, began in 1983 with the singles Pale Shelter and Change from the album The Hurting. The songs were okay but didn't really distinguish themselves among other hit songs of the time.

Their career went into ridiculous overrdrive with their second album Songs From The Big Chair. Everyone owned this album but, to me, it was ruined because the first two singles Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule The World were just so overplayed. The latter singles from the same album Mothers Talk, I Believe and Head Over Heels. It's kind of funny that with this album Curt Smith, who appeared to be the lead singer on songs from the first album has become more like Wham's Andrew Ridgeley. While the Roland Orzabal, who appeared to just be a guitar player on the first album is now more like the George Michael of the band singing lead on all songs.

Like all bands that become this successful, this quickly, the fall began to happen quickly. Tears For Fears member Manny Elias left the band soon after their Big Chair tour and in 1985, the band had to pull out of Live Aid on that very morning as two other members quit.

It took until 1989 for TFF to release a follow up album and, to me, is their most brilliant. The Seeds of Love mixed influences from jazz and the Beatles...though I know many people who hated it due to how close it sounded to the Beatles (somehow it was okay for Oasis to do the same thing 10 years later). The songs Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Woman In Chains (featuring Oleta Adams) and Advice For The Young At Heart.

TFF essentially dropped off the planet after this. Smith left the band so the band really became focused on the sole remaining member Orzabal. He released a couple of albums under the TFF moniker but there was really only one memorable single Break It Down Again.

Despite absolutely no press here in North America, Tears For Fears released a comeback album in 2004 entitled Everybody Loves A Happy Ending. It was a reunion of Orzabal and Smith and actually works as a sequel of sorts to their 1989 Seeds Of Love album. It has the obvious Beatles' influence in songs like Who Killed Tangerine (that song's refrain ...and when you think it's all over is used to great effect in the film Fever Pitch), Call Me Mellow and Closest Thing To Heaven.

Top 5 Tears For Fears Songs
1. Badman's Song
2. Woman In Chains
3. Head Over Heels
4. Mad World
5. Sowing The Seeds Of Love

If you don't have any Tears For Fears, I highly recommend their 2 disc greatest hits called Gold. The first disc works as their biggest songs from the prime of their career and the second disc is like a bonus disc including the aforementioned Break It Down Again, New Star from the 1994 film Threesome and the best songs off their comeback album.



Post a Comment

<< Home