Another defining act of the pop/new-wave movement of the 1980s was the British act, Tears for Fears. Most notably known as the vocal duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, the band also included Ian Stanley on keyboards, who was the second-most active songwriter behind Orzabal, and Manny Elias on drums. Their second album, “Songs From the Big Chair”, was a major hit with several songs that live on very actively today. This group wasn’t quite as imbalanced in leadership as Wham!, but Orzabal was and is clearly the primary vocalist and creative force within the group.
Even if you weren’t around in 1985, you probably know the three biggest singles from this album, “Shout”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, and “Head over Heels”. I always thought “Shout” was an intense song of angry revenge and hurt, with the intense line, “And when you’ve taken down your guard, If I could change your mind, I’d really love to break your heart”. Powerful stuff, indeed. The other two big hits were beautifully constructed melodies, and it was songs like these that ultimately put Tears for Fears into the same conversation as Oasis a few years later as clearly inspired by the pop psychedelia and songwriting influence of the Beatles.
The up-tempo “Mothers Talk” was actually the first single from the album, although not the big hit the three noted above were, but I do enjoy it as well as the other single from the album, the softer “I Believe”. I also like the key hook from “Head Over Heels” first appears in the track before, “Broken”, and they also blend a live version of “Broken” onto the back end of “Head Over Heels”.
This band, primarily Orzabal, was a talented hit machine with depth and substance, which allowed them to endure long beyond their initial run. In many ways, I really enjoy “Songs From the Big Chair”, as you can see.