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Tears For Fears – Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92)

As you know, I raved about Songs From The Big Chair the other day. And I mentioned in the comments that I would really like to get my mitts on more of their stuff.

Well lo and behold, guess what showed up at work yeserday, in pristine shape! Yup, their Greatest Hits set! I actually laughed out loud happily when I saw it – of course, it was a no-brainer buy.

And guess what, you’ll know just about every song here. Even if you’re not really a fan and don’t own any of the records, you’ll still know most of these – they’re classic tunes, played everywhere. Fantastic stuff.

This disc’s 12 tracks only cover the first three records, ending as it does in 1992. And of note, it also contains one single released just for this compilation, Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down). Curt Smith had already left the band, so this was Roland Orzabal’s solo entry to the disc for new material. Just like everything else they ever did, all the elements come together to make a fantastic track.

In Sum:

You want this disc. It’s full of earworms that you’ll be humming for days. Amazing songwriting, brilliant execution. Get this!

Tracks (and source albums):
Sowing The Seeds Of Love~
Everybody Wants To Rule The World*
Woman In Chains (f. Oleta Adams)~
Shout*
Head Over Heels*
Mad World^
Pale Shelter^
I Believe*
Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)#
Mothers Talk*
Change^
Advice For The Young At Heart~

Tracks From:
^ The Hurting
* Songs From The Big Chair
~ The Seeds Of Love
# single released to coincide with this hits compilation

Studio Albums Not Covered:
Elemental
Raoul And The Kings Of Spain
Everybody Loves A Happy Ending

Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

This album is absolutely relevant to our current world state of affairs.

Check it out:

Shout is a great call to action. “Shout! Shout! Let it all out! These are the things I can do without!” is just perfect. Life’s too short, and too many want to control us, to let things go unsaid. The song’s driving beat and soaring ending guitar solo is a total lift. There’s a lot going on, musically, and it’s built to be a hit single for sure. And it’s got a lot more to say, too:

In violent times
You shouldn’t have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really really ought to know

and

They gave you life
And in return you gave them hell
As cold as ice
I hope we live to tell the tale
I hope we live to tell the tale

The Working Hour starts us off with some jazzy saxophone, before tribal drums roll in and the synths take over. It has the feel of an early morning opening credits montage one of those 80s movies set in L.A. You know the ones. But then it reins itself in and locks into a tight groove of elements and remains an incredibly strong and timely song that seeks understanding of what we’re facing:

This is the working hour
We are paid by those who learn by our mistake
And fear is such a vicious thing
It wraps me up in chains
Find out
Find out
What this fear is about
Find out
Find out
What this fear is about

Everybody Wants To Rule The World is one we all know well. It’s a breezy beauty. With all of it’s great pieces working seamlessly, and some more excellent guitar work, we have a message of hope in the midst of the madness, but not a naive hope. It feels real, possible.

There’s a room where the light won’t find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do, I’ll be right behind you
So glad we’ve almost made it
So sad they had to fade it
Ev’rybody wants to rule the world

Mothers Talk takes us to Depeche Mode-like territory, another drivingly restless pop tune that talks about the cost of self-reinvention to keep up with the latest trends, instead of remaining true to yourself and your own strengths…

It’s not that you’re not good enough
It’s just that we can make you better
Given that you pay the price
We can keep you young and tender
Following in the footsteps of a funeral pyre
You were paid not to listen now your house is on fire

and

Some of us are horrified
Others never talk about it
But when the weather starts to burn
Then you’ll know that you’re in trouble
Following the footsteps of a soldier girl
It is time to put your clothes on and to face the world
Don’t you feel your luck is changing
When everything starts to happen
Put your head right next to my heart
The beat of the drum is the fear of the dark

I Believe is searching, slowly reaching out for meaning and strength in the face of the world, but without much hope for it happening. Its light drum touches and piano beauty, and those aching vocals, keep it from being sappy.

I believe that when the hurting and the pain has gone
We will be strong, Oh yes we will be strong
And I believe that if I’m crying while I write these words
Is it absurb ? Or am I being real
I believe that if you knew just what these tears were for
They would just pour like every drop of rain
That’s why I believe it is too late for anyone to believe

and

I believe that if you’re bristling while you hear this song
I could be wrong or have I hit a nerve ?
That’s why I believe it is too late for anyone to believe

Broken, despite it being a peppy pop tune perfectly placed for mid-80s domination (with a real earworm of a hook line from the album’s next song hinted at here), yet finds us in despair about the state of the world.

Between the searching and the need to work it out
I stop believing everything will be alright
Broken
We are broken

… and then we roll into…

Head Over Heels, another huge song from the record. Still seeking love, hoping we can hold onto the good things in life, but living in the reality before us…

I made a fire and I’m watching it burn
Thought of your future
With one foot in the past now just how long will it last
No, no, no, have you no ambitions?

My mother and my brothers used to breathing clean air
And dreaming I’m a doctor
It’s hard to be a man when there’s a gun in your hand
Oh, I feel so…

Broken (live), an instrumental section at 0:52 in length, seemed out of place, until I realized it’s meant as a bookend for the full track before Head Over Heels. This makes sense when you consider the Head Over Heels tagline running through it, though it didn’t need to be a live version to be an effective reprise… and finally we have…

Listen, which is a pretty, very Phil Collins-esque melody, with choral voices and electronic blips and bleeps mixed in, basically only has four lines of lyrics:

Mother Russia badly burned
Your children lick your wounds
Pilgrim father sailed away
Found a brave new world

The whole album, thus far, seemed to be leading towards finding some strength and hope, so as it plays on we get variations of these lines:

Cumpleaños chica, no hay que preocuparse… (Spanish for ‘birthday girl, do not worry)
Soothe my feeling

which leaves me feeling like soothing, healing, understanding is still not quite here, there’s still work to do.

In Sum: 

As a kid, I never realized how insightful and connected this album really is. I played it a million times, and always loved it, more for the music than the lyrics. Also, I was a kid, so a lot of it went right over my head. But now, here in 2016, with all the terror attacks and garbage politics and growing unrest, this album is more important than ever.

I’ve probably missed out on a bunch, here, but I purposely just listened without looking it up for more information. This is what I got from it!

Tears For Fears achieved the nearly impossible – they made a record that reflects fear and despair in the face of a disintegrating world, yet never really seeming strident or weak. This is, I believe, because it’s coming from a place of genuine caring, just trying to make sense of things and find a little peace.

Two thumbs way up. I’ll play this again anytime.

rhymeallnight.com/

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