If you were looking for a band to sum up pop music’s arc over the 1980s, then you’d need to look no further than Tears for Fears.
The Bath duo, made up of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, pretty much set that decade’s tone. The new wave synth-pop of their hugely influential 1983 debut album The Hurting led to the pop gloss of 1985’s Songs from the Big Chair and 1989’s grandiose Seeds of Love.
The group also made a glorious comeback album in 2005 with Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (the duo’s first together in 15 years after Orzabal had run the band solo in the course of three albums), which references both Beatles and Bacharach with its sophisticated arrangements.
Want singles? You got it. “Shout”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, “Sowing the Seeds of Love”, “Head Over Heels”, “Mad World”... There’s plenty to choose from.
Tears for Fears have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and they have climbed to the top spot of the charts again and again, on both sides of the Atlantic.
You can hear Tears for Fears’ influence everywhere these days. It’s in The 1975’s sheen and groove, in Arcade Fire’s synth obsessions and electronic flourishes, and in Lorde’s (she covered “Everybody Wants to Rule the World) space and textures. Nu-metal band Disturbed covered “Shout”, and the genre-busting film “Donnie Darko” made a huge hit out of Gary Jules and Michael Andrews’ take on “Mad World”. Tears for Fears have been lurking in the shadows, even when they haven’t been active.
The band has harvested great reviews for the latest concert tours. They played in Royal Albert Hall in 2017, and their setlists deliver non-stop hits throughout the concert. They turn their original tracks into contemporised tunes that resonate just as deeply with the young generation as generation who were young when the tunes were first released. Backed by a three-piece band, Tears for Fears still sound amazing, and Orzabal and Smith’s vocals sound just as emotional as they did in the 80s. The band is reportedly working on a brand-new album as well, so we may even be treated with some sparklingly new tunes when they visit Roskilde Festival 2019.