Why Tears for Fears is worth studying the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Last week, Tears for Fears kicked off a North American tour with the editorial of Garbage. The British band has been in great shape from the start, with co-founders Roland Urzabal and Kurt Smith scrolling through a playlist filled with songs that showcased their group. The ‘Scream’ appeared as a slow burn affected by the burgundy; “Change” was a raucous dance break; And the “head over heels” was as majestic as a royal celebration. For good measure, the track list included deeper cuts (including “Suffer the Children”) and Tears for Fears songs released when Smith was not in the band, specifically the 1993 post-psychedelic series “Break It Down Again.”

The tour is linked to Tears For Fears’ latest album, 2022 “The Tipping Point,” a dense album shaped by personal, social, and cultural earthquakes. Atmospheric synthesizers, warm electronic productions, skyscraper chorus hooks, sharp vocals and harmony abound, led by the stunning “Rivers of Mercy” and a turbulent title track. Sacha Schaerbeek, who co-wrote James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” and songs by Adele and Jason Mraz, adds a bold twist on electro-star “My Demons,” while a longtime Tears for Fears member/songwriter collaborator Charlton Pettus adds a flourishing all year long. time, as it combines the contributions of Orzabal and Smith.

Tears look to fears just like her.

The “tipping point” has subtle links to past “tears of fear” eras. The album’s moody composition and self-reflection refer to the 1983 film “The Hurting” and its arrangements are a piece of the ambitious panorama of 1985’s “Songs From the Big Chair” and 1989’s “The Seeds of Love.” However, the dramatic dynamics of some songs suggest to Smith’s understated 1995 album Raul and the Kings of Spain, while the internet’s heaviest moments resonated until Orzabal’s 2001 single “Tomcats Screaming Outside” echoed.

RELATED: Tears for Fears’ Greatest New Album Is Hi – Bye

With all that being said, the “tipping point” emphasizes the group’s uniqueness. The songs are instantly recognizable as having been composed by Tears For Fears, in large part due to Orzabal’s rich baritone and Smith’s sympathetic tone. But it is difficult to pinpoint the album’s predecessors and the band’s influences. This is the hallmark of the entire Tears for Fears catalog; They never made the same album twice, and each LP has its own features and vocal approach. Perhaps what they lack in quantity – “The Tipping Point” is the band’s first album since 2004 – they make up for in quality. Tears look to fears just like her.

Despite this impressive record of excellence, Tears for Fears was never nominated for membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Oddly enough, the band also isn’t often mentioned in conversations that focus on underrated or underrated artists, even though they’ve been a qualifier since 2007. But with Rock Hall’s concerted push toward bands that revolutionized the ’80s — and then continued to influence later on. AJIL – It’s time for Tears for Fears to be in the potential recruiter mix.

“The Hurting” continues to particularly resonate with younger generations, given the abundance of TikTok videos that use songs from the album as background.

Extrapolation criteria include influence, and it’s safe to say Tears For Fears has that in spades. Smith and Orzabal were childhood friends who grew up in Bath and played together in a two-tone inspired graduate school before forming Tears for Fears. Their 1983 debut, “The Hurting”, is a silent pop music hit that topped charts in the UK and spawned three singles. Meanwhile, multi-platinum hits “Songs from the Big Chair” sold better in America, thanks to “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Meanwhile, the ambitious “Seeds of Love” found success at both venues, concluding the decade with patches of dense, psychedelic colored rocks.

Like many of their peers in the ’80s, Tears for Fears survived assortment and naming changes after their Imperial stage. However, the duo weathered this personal and creative turmoil better than others. They continued to tour, honing in on a live show that helped their songs evolve and expand in scope while staying fresh and up-to-date. Songs of tears of fear do not crystallize in amber.

RELATED: From the Beatles’ influence to personal conflict, ‘Seeds of Love’ revisited for Tears of Fear

However, “The Hurting” in particular still resonates with younger generations, given the abundance of TikTok videos that use songs from the album as background. Part of this enduring adoration stems from music, of course. Moody, intimate, and keyboard productions are similar to the approach of many modern bands. “The Hurting” doesn’t necessarily look like it’s from 1983.

Today, double is a valuable folk currency. Tears of Fears created a blueprint for this nearly 40 years ago.

Lyrically, the LP was also ahead of its time in the way it focused on emotional honesty and teen confusion, with a kind of candor and honesty unheard of on many new wave albums of the ’80s. Today, double is a valuable folk currency. Tears of Fears created a blueprint for this nearly 40 years ago.

“We wrote and made The Hurting when we were still teenagers,” Urzabal told me earlier this year. “We were struggling on this passage from childhood to adulthood, leaving your parents behind and becoming more self-sufficient, becoming an individual. This is a global period of turmoil.” Smith added: “People who were the same age we were when we made those records and wrote those records will certainly relate to them. They’re going through the same things now as we were back then.”

Kurt Smith and Roland Urzabal performing From Tears to Fears, circa 1985 (David Redfern/Redfern)The band’s songs have become a rich source of rap, hip-hop and pop samples. In particular, Kanye West sampled “Memories Fade” in his 2008 song “Coldest Winter,” while The Weeknd refreshed the pale Shelter’s spotty collection of songs in 2016’s “Secrets.” Meanwhile, incorporating Driving “Shout” by Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killah and Kirk Franklin. Tracking down samples and other interpolations is a challenge, as there are a lot of them.

Covers of Tears of Fear also abound: hard rock band Disturbed took up the song “Shout,” while Miley Cyrus composed elements of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on a remix of West’s song Black Skinhead. Perhaps the most famous cover of Tears for Fears is a spectral backup version of “Mad World” by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews that appeared in 2001’s Donnie Darko. Jules and Andrews take advantage of the song’s desperation (“I find it kind of funny / I find it kind of sad / Those dreams of dying are the best I’ve ever had”) and bring appeal and respect to these poems. It can be difficult to express such a dark mood or feel that it is forbidden to say it out loud; Mad World lifts heavy objects and provides relief.

MTV keyboard bands aren’t necessarily treated with the same respect as, say, guitar-and-drum rock bands from the 1960s.

This cover has mostly kept tears of fear in the pop culture conversation even when the band was asleep. It reached number one in the UK in 2003, while American Idol contestant-turned-queen Adam Lambert made a sad version of it. The song also debuted in Australia in 2020 thanks to the critically acclaimed performance of “The Mask”.

In addition to increasing the importance of Tears for Fears, these placements and covers helped establish credibility for ’80s-era songwriters. Although this assumption has been disproved many times (several times), MTV-era bands with keyboards aren’t necessarily treated with the same respect as, say, guitar-and-drum rock bands since the 1960s. This is partly because many of these New Wave acts appealed to teenage girls—a group whose tastes are routinely dismissed, taken as less serious, or worthy of examination—or that the existence of modern synthesizers has been like Kryptonite to rockers.

But hearing “Mad World” and other Tears for Fears songs in different contexts lights up the music’s strong bones. Tears of fear exploited feelings of joy, despair, nostalgia and optimism. Regardless of vocal attire, these universal feelings sound real.

In recent years, Rock Hall has begun to recognize the influence (for lack of better terms) of the post-punk, synth-pop, and new wave artists who rocked music in the ’80s—artists who built on blondie punk, sex pistols and talking heads. This includes Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Go-Go’s and now 2022 instigators Duran Duran and Eurythmics. (Nine Inch Nails, who began touring and recording at the end of the 1980s, can be said to qualify.)

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Tears for Fears certainly fits in perfectly with the retro playlist featuring those acts, and has a similar musical influence and loyal fan base. But aside from Eurythmics, all of these new recruits go on to at least make the rounds, if not make new music, and push their legacy forward in new directions. The ‘tipping point’ is certainly one more step forward – and it’s also another tick in the tear-jerking column for fears to start gaining serious interest in Rock Hall’s extrapolation.

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