Listen to this track by emotive pop song chart bothering duo from Bath England, Tears For Fears. It’s “The Working Hour”, a deep cut off of the otherwise hit single-laden 1985 album Songs From The Big Chair. That album was the much-awaited follow-up to their modestly successful debut record The Hurting from two years previous, with this new record being their breakthrough into the mainstream and outside of their alternative fanbase.
The songs on the album showed some of the same lyrical and musical DNA from their début. But, with this follow-up their sound seemed to be on a larger scale. If The Hurting was a precisely realized and eloquent little indie film, then Songs From The Big Chair had the sheen of a major studio, still dealing in similar themes of inner turmoil and alienation, but doing so with a bit more gloss. Hit singles “Shout”, “Head Over Heels”, and particularly “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” were ready for the red carpet, contrasted to their previous singles that were too emotionally insular to fit that kind of overt mainstream fanfare.
This had more to do with the tone of each release than it did with quality. As a major fan of The Hurting, even I noticed that, and was OK with it. Maybe that’s in part because of this song, “The Working Hour” that is one of the songs on the record that best bridges the gap between the moody and contemplative pop outfit they’d been, and the anthemic stadia-ready band they were seeking to become. Continue reading
Listen to this track by multi-platinum one-time primal screamers and pop song craftsmen Tears For Fears. It’s “Sowing The Seeds of Love”, the title track from their 1989 record Sowing The Seeds of Love.
The immediate reaction to it at the time was to acknowledge its tie to the Beatles, particularly the “All You Need Is Love” era. This song certainly references that earlier song thematically, as well as sonically, with a bit of “I Am The Walrus” thrown in for good measure.
I think too it was a reaction against the loss of political conscience of nations, and their people. This was also a marker of the era, when songs on the radio were no longer making comment on the state of the world. This one was a notable exception.
So what made a big-selling pop band turn in a statement that ran so contrary to the approach of most pop bands looking to trouble the charts? Continue reading
Listen to this track by proto-emo duo and Arthur Janov-reading hit-makers Tears for Fears. It’s ‘The Hurting’, the lead track off of their exemplary 1983 debut record The Hurting, an effective concept album about dealing with childhood trauma in adulthood from two guys who were only barely adults themselves when they recorded it.
I should open this by saying that the Hurting is one of those records that I absolutely ate up when it came out in 1983. I was fourteen, and while my childhood up to that point was not traumatic exactly, I found that the sentiments to be found in the songs on this record resonated with me, and with most of my friends too. Perhaps it’s because the band’s authors, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, were writing with their own fourteen-year old selves (and younger) in view, although they were in their very early twenties at the time. Continue reading