I read somewhere this week (probably on twitter!) that an optimist hears the music and a pessimist hears the lyrics. Very profound I thought, and then promptly forgot about it.
Needless to say, as you’ve probably guessed, this little observation came back and hit me right between the ears yesterday when I selected Tears for Fears’ ‘The Hurting’ as my cassette of choice for ‘the great 6 month cassette experiment’ (day 25).
A great favourite around these parts with their early single releases in 1981 and 1982, Roland and Curt finally hit the (very) big time in late 1982 with the single ‘Mad World’ and then in 1983 with the musically optimistic/lyrically pessimistic album ‘The Hurting’ - its cover design subsequently copied by every single misery memoir now selling like hot cakes at your local book emporium.
With track titles like ‘The Hurting’, ‘Mad World’, ‘Suffer the Children’, ‘Watch me Bleed’ ‘The Prisoner’(a close relative of Peter Gabriel’s ‘The Intruder’ and the most disappointing track on the album by a country mile) and ‘Start of the Breakdown’ you know you’re going to be bombarded by the kind of lyrics that the band’s name suggests. And yet this is an uplifting and musically interesting album with a depth missing from the output of many of their early 1980s contemporaries.
Tears for Fears cemented their popularity with ‘Change’, which is slightly more optimistic than the remainder of the album, and included in two different versions here. It also presents one of popular music’s only opportunities to indulge in an energetic session of ‘air xylophone’
The next album, ‘Songs from the big chair’ was the one that really brought true international success, but they were never quite as fresh (or as miserable) again as they were on their first album.
Label – Mercury
Year - 1983