Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dusting Off The Disc: Tears for Fears Greatest Hits

For those of you new here this is the latest edition of the monthly Dusting off the Disc column where I dust off an album I haven’t listened to in at least a year. So far it has been a really fun exercise and I still have a ton of albums to go through! This month I dust off Tears for Fears - Tears Roll Down: Greatest Hits 82-92.

I got inspired to dust off this album while watching the movie Donnie Darko with Mrs. Hops (which you should go out and see by the way, it's Easter time and it features a freaky bunny - what more do you need?). In the movie the song “Mad World” by Tears for Fears, a song I hadn’t heard in quite a while, plays a prominent role and was quite effective. Then I remembered, “Hey, I own an album with that on it!” So the next day I popped in their greatest hits on my way to play soccer. The album starts off with “Sowing the Seed of Love”, a song most of you will recognize. It’s actually a decent song if you don’t listen to the lyrics which are super cheesy (like the title). The second song is the big track, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. This one is a real classic and worth some shuffle play. I’m sure Dennis Miller would agree. However, all the songs on the album, including that one really suffer from 80’s syndrome: really bad synthesizer sound combined with a real knack for overproduction. The album sounds REALLY dated. I know the title is Greatest Hits 82-92, but the music leaves no doubt that most of these were made in the 1980’s. They even manage to partially ruin the best track, “Mad World” with a drum kit snare and fake horns. Terrible idea. I bet the guys in the band wish they could go back and re-record most of these songs today, without all the cheese layered on top. Speaking of removing the cheese, since I am a nice guy here is the track “Mad World” as it was covered by Gary Jules in the movie Donnie Darko. It’s as good, if not better, than the original and makes you realize that Tears for Fears did have some songwriting talent. Some of the other tracks hold up well like “Advice for the Young At Heart”, “Pale Shelter” and even the lounge-like ballad “I Believe”. However, as an album it’s really dated. If you were an 80’s child you might have a bit more nostalgia for songs like “Shout” and “Woman in Chains” than I do, but they’re just not my bag.

Verdict: Pick the best tracks and put them on shuffle.

1 comment:

Hops said...

After posting this I saw this in the Washington Post in 2004 (Orzabal is the lead singer of Tears for Fears):

"The Jules version, Orzabal says, was "miraculous. It was a song that I had pretty much dismissed. I hadn't performed it live throughout the '90s. I loved the way we did it, but recently in rehearsals we tried to do it in the way we had recorded it and it just didn't feel right at all. We're now playing yet another version of 'Mad World.' Gary Jules and Michael Andrews have shown how beautiful the song is, and they showed me that. It was shocking, really."