Tears for Fears Songs From the Big Chair on Numbered Limited Edition LP from Mobile Fidelity Silver Label
1985 Smash Includes Chart-Topping “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout”
English Pop-Rock Duo Taps Into Soul and Sophistication on Breakthrough Set
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity’s World-Renowned Mastering System and Pressed at RTI: Definitive-Sounding Version of Multi-platinum Record
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity’s world-renowned mastering system and pressed at RTI, this Silver Label LP brings to a warmth and transparency to the music that previous analog editions have lacked. By clearing a direct path to the production, it reveals the myriad soulful complexities contained within tracks such as “Mothers Talk” and “Head Over Heels,” also charting hits. Dramatic, literate, immediate, refined, and subtly elaborate, the material glistens with carefully placed instrumentation. Here, the depth of the piano chords, extension of the brassy horns, high frequencies of the backing vocals, and bite of the guitar solos come to life as never before.
Named after psychotherapist Arthur Janov’s primal scream theories—which suggest that adult problems often relate back to parental abandonment during childhood, and that confronting such issues is essential to one’s development—Tears for Fears, and key members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith transcended their broken-home backgrounds by turning their raw feelings into self-expressive songs etched with equal parts tenderness and directness, earnestness and melancholy. After a promising synthpop-based debut, the duo took its finely crafted art up several notches on Songs From the Big Chair, one of the period’s most introspective and incisive pop works.
Rather than consume themselves with weighty prose, Orzabal and Smith cut to the heart of their emotions, framing brooding sentiments and solitary thoughts within tumbling hooks, memorable refrains, and delicate passages. Saxophones, pianos, and support vocals shade the duo’s keyboard- and guitar-anchored compositions, many of which flirt with R&B motifs and austere classicism. Serious albeit freeing, Tears for Fears’ ambitious pop stood apart from the decade’s casually tossed-off fare—a beneficial aspect that’s only grown in stature since the album’s release.
• Limited Edition
• MoFi Silver Label Vinyl Series
• Mastered and Cut on the famous MoFi Sound Lab state-of-the-art Tim de Paravacini-designed mastering system
• Pressed at RTI on Audiophile-Grade Standard Vinyl
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart
If The Hurting was mental anguish, Songs from the Big Chair marks the progression towards emotional healing, a particularly bold sort of catharsis culled from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith’s shared attraction to primal scream therapy. The album also heralded a dramatic maturation in the band’s music, away from the synth-pop brand with which it was (unjustly) seared following the debut, and towards a complex, enveloping pop sophistication. The songwriting of Orzabal, Smith, and keyboardist Ian Stanley took a huge leap forward, drawing on reserves of palpable emotion and lovely, protracted melodies that draw just as much on soul and R&B music as they do on immediate pop hooks. The album could almost be called pseudo-conceptual, as each song holds its place and each is integral to the overall tapestry, a single-minded resolve that is easy to overlook when an album is as commercially successful as Songs from the Big Chair. And commercially successful it was, containing no less than three huge commercial radio hits, including the dramatic and insistent march, “Shout” and the shimmering, cascading “Head Over Heels,” which, tellingly, is actually part of a song suite on the album. Orzabal and Smith’s penchant for theorizing with steely-eyed austerity was mistaken for harsh bombasticism in some quarters, but separated from its era, the album only seems earnestly passionate and immediate, and each song has the same driven intent and the same glistening remoteness. It is not only a commercial triumph, it is an artistic tour de force. And in the loping, percolating “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Tears for Fears perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the mid-’80s while impossibly managing to also create a dreamy, timeless pop classic. Songs from the Big Chair is one of the finest statements of the decade.
2. The Working Hour
3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World
4. Mothers Talk
5. I Believe
7. Head Over Heels