Songs From the Big Chair by Tears for Fears

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Songs From the Big Chair by Tears for Fears
Songs From the Big Chair by Tears for Fears

Album Released: 1985

Songs From the Big Chair ::: Artwork

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2.The Working Hour6:29
3.Everybody Wants to Rule the World4:10
4.Mothers Talk3:53
5.I Believe4:53
7.Head Over Heels5:00


Songs from the Big Chair is quite a remarkable jump from Tears For Fears' debut, The Hurting. Gone is the straightforward synth/pop, and in its place is extravagant playing and grandiose energy over the course of eight songs.

Most people seem to label "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" as being a favourite from the band, and it was the award winner at the time. It is indeed sunny and engaging. But for me the opening, anthemic "Shout" will always rule. Yes, it's repetitive, but its structure and relentlessly driving rhythm do it for me every time. I never get tired of that song.

More complex arrangements are found on "The Working Hour" and "Mothers Talk", the latter showing a sinister touch that is memorably haunting.

The only time the record really drags is on the piano ballad "I Believe", but after that comes a sudden break into live work. Those who are familiar with the catchy "Head Over Heels" might be surprised to hear that, on this album it's bookended by "Broken", the latter part of it a live reprise.

But then comes the concluding piece, "Listen". Without doubt, it remains one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. I don't know what they're chanting - indeed, I can hardly catch any of the lyrics at all (limited as they are), but it's an amazing example of how much can be done with one little melody, as it is played over and over again, while various arrangements are added, taken away, and replaced, in a rhythmic hypnotic flow that just whisks the listener away.

Songs from the Big Chair is not a perfect record by any means, but not only was it one of the big hits of the eighties (and is certainly seen as the band's seminal recording), but it remains impressive and memorable in its own right, and blew away the view that they were just another synth act of the period who had little more to offer than computer twiddles and simple melodies.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor

The most frequent query for pop-lovers might well be 'I really like that song on the radio, but is the album any good?'. It's a question that has long-vexed consumers' minds since the advent of hit singles being played on pop-music radio.

This album contains three smash hit singles, which you've probably heard either by constant over-exposure during the 80's, else via latterday movies/TV shows trying to evoke an 80's feel.

There's the 'angry young survivor-of-abuse' anthem "Shout"; the creamy Adult Contemporary swoosh of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", in which the titular chorus seems like an afterthought; and "Head Over Heels", which isn't so much a song as an extended swoon, one I always play to death whenever I've got a crush.

After that, there's a big fat nothing - songs that define the term 'filler' - particularly obvious on Side Two. That starts off with a snoozefest of Adult Contemporary, a ballad called "I Believe", that defines forgettable before it's even over.

That proceeds to "Broken", which seems to exist solely as a teasing intro to "Head Over Heels", that followed by nearly 7 minutes of "Listen", which seemingly consists of fragments of tunes and samples that go nowhere, apparently intended to simply fill up the remaining 7 minutes of tape.

Side One is a little more substantial, which isn't to say that its two non-hits are really worth your time. "Mothers Talk" is just boringly stereotypical 80's funk, complete with obnoxious female soul backup singers, and "The Working Hour" has a lengthy sax solo intro designed to pad out the song's length, which is about the only memorable thing about what is a boring AOR ballad.

Even the hits seem padded out to stretch the album's thin supply of material, being longer than the single versions.

In sum then, the album only has eight songs, two of which don't even count as real songs, which actually only leaves six songs, of which only three are good. In other words, only buy the album cheap from a used bin, just for the great hit singles.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise (blogging at Creative Noise)