The artistry of some performing songwriters sometimes get drowned in the advances of technology or the frills of popular music. It certainly does not seem to be the case for the lyrics and melodies of Tears For Fears’s songwriter Roland Orzabal. At first sight, the public may more easily find the soul of the Tears for Fears’ music in the more acoustic and live versions of their tracks, from the notable original Woman in chains (impeccably lifted by the voice of Oleta Adams) to the piano-based revisit of Mad World. Yet their classics remain uneasily forgotten and no change to Sowing the seeds of love can truly give that much more sense to a deeply topical and engaged song. With or without frills, the artistry cannot be (forever) denied especially with the robust foundations of a profound lyric, an engaged style and a catchy melody.
Roland Orzabal in 10 songs:
1. Shout – Many a time covered and sampled, this is only one of the tracks from The Big Chair, one of the best albums of the 1980s. 2. Everybody wants to rule the world – 3. Mad World (the original has its charms especially becoming Tears for Fears’ first hit single in 1982 and Gary Jules and Michael Andrew’s piano-based version truly captures its essence. Live versions remain the way to hear the true depth of this classic and the songwriting artistry of Orzabal. He wrote it at 19 and describes the song as “expressive of a period I call the teenage menopause, where your hormones are going crazy as you’re leaving childhood. Your fingers are on the cliff and you’re about to drop off, but somehow you cling on.” He was apparently inspired by the style of Duran Duran’s Girls on Film http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/dec/10/how-we-made-mad-world-tears-fears 4. Woman in chains – The original remains a classic. Its strength and moving nature are impeccably lifted by the voice of Oleta Adams 5. The Big Chair 6. Broken 7. Cold a favourite, and the second single from his (mainly) solo release Elemental, released in 1993, this track contains a few references to past members of the group 8. Closest thing to heaven – A track from Everybody Loves a happy ending the album that symbolises the band reunion with Curt Smith returning to tears for Fears. Everyone 9. Raoul and the kings of Spain – title track of the 1995 release 10. Sowing the seeds of love – This track is the reason I fell in love with the band: meaningful piece, with a-monotonous melodic movements and the heart and the mind both fed.