Sunday 27 June 2021



INSPIRATIONAL! This is powerful stuff! What an incredibly superior live act they were at this point. Their daggyness is now so so becoming. I am so appreciative of their lack of cool now. This is joyous music but I now realise the pain they've been through to bring you a fucking four leaf clover. This is spiritual and so damn uplifting the smile won't come off my face! THIS IS OUR FOUR LEAF CLOVER!!! Put your hands in the air! Clap and click those fingers Roland Orzabal stylee! Lose yourself! Celebrate while you can. The 2020s do not deserve such ecstatic beauty. This is chills down your spine. It's the hair standing up at the back of your neck and on your arms. This is the good goosebumps. Divine light rarely gets filtered through pop music so fucking dig on it. The humanity of it all is overwhelming. The music from 4.10 onwards is an astounding noisey workout and this is done live (!?). Masterful. Fuck me...I am moved! 

When Tears For Fears first arrived on the scene, was it Aussie top 10 hit Mad World in 1983? I was in grade 6 so I thought I knew what was cool, sexy, daft and whatever else. The Sunnyboys were youthful charm personified, INXS were sex-funk, Madonna was trendy but great, DEVO were pop art, wow Midnight Oil were like political man how interesting right? (said in Tim & Debbie's voice), Lionel Richie was just Lionel Richie, The Birthday Party were scary & satanic (Hey I was little but I had a much older brother), Cyndi Lauper was so quirky she had to be boringly normal, The Church were poetically mysterious, Duran Duran were for the girls to lust after, Prince was otherworldly, New Order were the best, Depeche Mode were on the verge and about to become astronomically devastating and U2 were totally onto something because they were so rockingly anthemic, But Tears For Fears, right....were fucking odd. They didn't seem to be playing the same game.

They did not care about appearing cool or sexy or arty or punky or quirky or new-wave or weird. Even most synth pop whilst great fun was often cynical, perverse, cold, sad, dark, sexual or all of the above. Nik Kershaw & Howard Jones seemed a bit sooky (I'm Antipodean, look it up!) even whilst having terrific radio pop tunes. Tears For Fears were smiling onstage! Fuckin what??? Tears for Fears didn't seem to care enough about their clothes or haircuts or being aloof or sullen or ironic or miserable or funny. There was a darkness to be sure but it was about bringing the light in. They may have seemed generic, "oh more schlock aimed at Smash Hits Magazine kids", but even when I first heard them there was something rare that set them apart. There's a reason why people still care about this band during this era of their first two LPs while say The Thompson Twins are now forgotten despite superficial similarities at the time.

Maybe a year later I recall an interview, perhaps when Shout was released, where it sounded like they were kinda new age or involved in some kind of hippy cult-y therapy nonsense that I wouldn't have understood properly at the time except for being able to compare it to John & Yoko when they were in their balmy therapy phase. Primal screaming didn't seem far from their name tears for fears. I'm sure this was all in the back of my mind. Well it's pretty hard to miss it's scattered throughout their tunes. 

Now in JUNE 2021, even compared to their wonderful and much more critically acclaimed contemporaries TALK TALK, they stick out like a couple broken sore thumbs. I've done no research on them for this piece by the way so this is all off the top of me head and from experiencing their music again today. TEARS FOR FEARS stand out because this is fucking spiritual music! It's healing music. It's positive music. The onstage smiling is fucking magic, beautiful and infectious. They are like nothing else in the 80s except for maybe The Chameleons. The chameleons (who are probably now my favourite 80s British guitar band to exist solely within the 80s decade) are a totally dedicated guitar band though! Their sonic sorcery was beautiful, buzzing, spiritual and ecstatic post-punk of the highest order as I've attested on this blog before

As I've gone through life and pain but also reached ecstatic heights (haven't we all!) this music from Tears For Fears makes much more sense. That's not to say the youth of today can't enjoy it though, because it's meticulously crafted spectacular pop. I mean Curt & Roland were pretty young when they created the music from their precious 1982-85 (?) era. 

It's like they are pushing too many buttons of your humanity emotions. Mad World is so expressionistic right down to that synth break...hang on how the fuck did they make a synth break so full of pathos? Then we get Roland's dancing on the jetty which is an emotional expressionistic interpretive dance, all the words I'm not meant to say about rock but I'm saying it and I love it and I don't fucking care! Even the fake marimba synth soundz are emotional and passionate. Curt Smith's poignant vocal interpretation of Roland's words is so damn touching. They were striking early earth shattering gold here. 

What a great live band. They were so on it right here and they knew it. They were ruling the world at this moment and it's a gift that it was captured on video. What an anthem! I dunno what it means but to me it's about ruling my world which I rarely get to do any more, so this stirs me to my emotional core. Curt is so feeling it. He's clapping, he's dancing in rapture and his hands are in the air like a spiritual guru, this is twenty years before Nick Cave's transformation into a devotional performer. Curt's charismatic divine energy can't help but spill onto the stage and inspire all those within his presence. His joyousness is contagious and absolutely loveable. I'm kinda in love with Curt right now. Roland, the drummer and the synth dude in the singlet are exuding spiritual exuberance too. Then there is that bridge. Oh Lord! That is THE bridge of 80s pop: None more ecstatic. They know and Love, Love, Love... it's all in the air. Then Curt hits the fucking splash cymbal for maximum elation, the money and the show.

Holy fuck if you haven't heard this since you were a kid you are in luck. There's a reason why we all owned the 7" and why this was number one forever in 1984/85. Perhaps this is the most fervent of their anthems. Everything is 80s 80s 80s & switched up to 11. Firstly Roland's vocal performance of this endless mantra is outstanding, he's defiant, angry yet euphoric. Then there's that wicked mental synth bass, that neon tube synth sound, the heavy guitar, the pipes bit, the organ and just the humanity in the impassioned melody. Then we get the release of human agitation and frustration in the vocals and lyrics to reach a heavenly healing plateau. At about the 2.45 mark, signalled by the unforgettable drumming across the floor sequence in the film clip, there is a break down to that Tears For Fears signature percussion sound and it's party time! A 'lil bass break then it gets really fucking heavily psychedelic during and after Roland's insane epic lead break which he does atop a seaside cliff (80s, 80s, 80s!!!!) where all the music just keeps going higher and higher and noisier and louder and keeps enthusiastically climaxing which continues on with the totally mesmerising "SHOUT" chant and the circular harmony's in the round reaching fever pitch that feels like it will swell infinitely until an arbitrary fade out. They could have kept it going for another 10 minutes where eternal delirium may have set in but blissful it would have been! 

A strange revelation to be having, well actually it's not that strange at all as all of the music about to be mentioned has its beginnings in 60s psychedelia, is that Shout is comparable to psych-noise/shoegaze as sonically this just keeps repeatedly blissfully swelling infinitely like a Loop or My Bloody Valentine tune except they weren't fetishising guitars, it was about the noisey overload of incanting human voices & emotions culminating in a trance-like state. The music too does get on a deafening mantra-ride. Whoever produced this sonic document is to be commended. The particular spellbinding buzz of Tears For Fears seems to be about healthy natural spiritual jubilation though. I can't see nihilistic hedonism being part of their lifestyle like say Spacemen 3, but who knows though? Not that that particularly matters on pop records though as the music is the hit, the aural drug, the fizzy pop endorphin rush you crave for and get in spades. 

The video is human and celebratory and smiley and family friendly (Babies & Nannas??? What??? Where's their generation gap???) and so fucking heartwarming: All the stuff that you weren't meant to be in rock because it wasn't cool but it now puts Tears For Fears in a very significant and a really unprecedented esteemed position in 80s pop. Shout was one of the most unique worldwide number one hits ever. One of a kind.

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