Back to Rule the World

On Jan 6, 2004, my all-time favourite band Tears For Fears will be launching their new single, ‘Closest Thing To Heaven’ Their forthcoming album, ‘Everyone Loves a Happy Ending’, will also be released later this year. [Independent , EOnline articles]
During that period of time I’ve listened to the individual efforts of Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal (website may be down). Frankly I didn’t think much of Curt’s first single, ‘Calling Out’, and I gather he didn’t think much of his first album, ‘Soul on Board’, either. Roland’s first solo album, the bare-bones and aptly-named ‘Elemental’ was a bit of a drop from the harmonious and triumphant ‘Seeds of Love’. He did have a few good tracks in my opinion, namely the anthemic ‘Power’, the dreamy ‘Brian Wilson Said’ and the rousing ‘Goodnight Song’. I didn’t think much of ‘Break It Down Again’, and don’t understand how it ever became a hit.
Still under the TFF name (which caused some dispute), Roland released ‘Raoul and the Kings of Spain‘, which I felt was a richer, more melodious effort, complete with haunting choruses, acoustic guitars and rock. Raoul is, not so coincidentally, the name of Roland’s son.
Roland’s final album to date, named ‘Tomcats Screaming Outside’, is an appropriate representation of the nature of the music within. His constant experimentations lent a drum and bass overtone to some tracks. Overall it is part ethereal, part rock, part synth – part everything. One track, ‘Hypnoculture’, sounds like it came right out of the first Deep Forest album. Sounding more cheerful than the norm is ‘For the Love of Cain’, which has references to the biblical Genesis.
Meanwhile, Curt moved to LA, remarried, had a kid and built a smashing new house which was featured in a lifestyle magazine. Dandily, he called his new band ‘Mayfield’, so people could say, “Curt is Mayfield”. I bought his album, ‘Aeroplane’, and some of his songs grew on me. If you’ve ever been to Bath in England, as I have, you might appreciate ‘Snow Hill’, which was where the lads grew up. Other favourites of mine are ‘I Don’t Want To Be Around’ and ‘Mother England’.
Generally, Curt’s music doesn’t leave me with the same feelings of angst that Roland’s did. If TFF as a duo produced bittersweet music, as some say, I’d think Roland was the ‘bitter’ part and Curt was ‘sweet’.
In thirteen years, Curt has matured greatly and will probably no longer play a peripheral role in songwriting for TFF. Not to say he wasn’t a good songwriter in the first place- the few songs he co-wrote with Roland and other band members, were top hits: for instance, ‘Seeds of Love’, and my all-time favourite, ‘Head Over Heels’. Roland has, true to character, constantly developed his music and is not afraid of sounding different with every album he’s launched.
Despite being less prolific than Roland, Curt’s music has a lower ‘skip factor’ (a term I coined, determining how likely one is to skip tracks in an album because they sound unpleasant/your parents are going to get a heart attack). You could get through ‘Aeroplane’ with a smile on your face, thinking of sunshine and green fields.
What will the new single / album sound like? Don’t expect it to be another synth-pop ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’, from the way their individual efforts have turned out. I expect something more alternative and brazen.
Look out, World. Here they come again!


  1. stef

    thanks for sharing this info. i’ve listened to them since i was a teen. my bro and i would bring out the “songs from the big chair” and sing along. yeah, geeky 😉
    i hope you have a happy and fruitful new year, vanessa!

  2. D W

    Tears for Fears. One of the many memories from my adventure into the world of pop music in the 80s.

  3. Pete

    I didn’t realize that the boys were getting back together! Great news! The breakup of TFF has deprived us of great music for far too long. Thank goodness they are back!

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