Tears for Fears

Band members                         Related acts

- Roland Orzabal -- vocals, guitar

- Curt Smith -- vocals, bass


  backing band (2007)

- Nick D'Virgilio -- drums, percussion

- Charlton Pettus -- lead guitar

- Doug Petty -- keyboards, backing vocals




- Graduate

- Mayfield (Curt Smith)

- Roland Orzabal (solo efforts)

- Curt Smith





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Secret World

Company: Music Brokers

Catalog: MBB20045

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: CD format

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: --


Best time to play:  long road trip


With 2004's "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" having enjoyed massive commercial success, you would have expected the follow-up to attract similar attention.   It didn't.  Possibly because it was released two years after their com back album and initially only saw a French release, "Secret World Live In Paris" attracted little attention in the States.  Documenting a June 2005 concert at Paris' Parc des Princes, the album was originally released in France as a 2 CD/DVD package.   By the time it saw an American release it was trimmed back to a single CD set.   Musically the album offer up a mixture of classic TFF hits covering their "The Hurting" through "Sowing the Seeds" prime with a couple of tracks from "Happy Ending".  Perhaps not a surprise, totally missing was anything from the "breakup" years - nothing from "Elemental", or "Raoul and the Kings of Spain".   Backed by a tight band, the performances were uniformly professional, though Orzabal and Smith seldom strayed too far from the original studio arrangements and seldom generated a great deal of excitement.   At least to my ears, the older "The Hurting" tracks didn't fair as well as the newer material.  As far as the three "bonus" tracks were concerned, the radio edit of 'Secret World' was okay, but really not all that different from the earlier album cut.   'Floating Down the River' was the best of the three, though it sounded like a "Sowing the Seeds of Love" outtake.   'What are We Fighting For' wasn't even a true TFF effort, rather was a bonus track culled from Smith's "Mayfield" album.  Pleasant, but not something a casual fan would be all that interested in hearing.   Shame they didn't include some more obscure selections.


"Secret World" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Secret World   (Roland Orzabal) - 4:54

One of the better tunes off of "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending", the live rendition struck pretty close to the studio version with the exception of a nifty little Paul McCartney and Wings nod (around 2:15).   And thanks to YouTube you can see the accompanying video clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doNXzSgJy10    rating: **** stars

2.) Call Me Mellow   (Roland Ozabal - Curt Smith) - 3:45

My favorite song off of "Happy Ending", the live version was a pleasant surprise with band doing a more than credible job of replicating the originals complex arrangement.  rating: **** stars

3.) Sowing the Seeds of Love   (Roland Orzabal - Curt Smith) - 6:51

One of the live highlights, the concert version of 'Sowing the Seeds of Love' may have been even better than the studio version with the pair showcasing their wonderful vocal interactions.  Yeah, the activist lyrics haven't aged all that well (they sounded pretty lame back in '89), but toughening the song up certainly did hurt and Curt aptly displayed his knack for those high harmonies.   Another one where you can see the live performance on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYuPkNfYd_c   rating: **** stars

4.) Pale Shelter   (Roland Ozabal - Curt Smith) - 4:44

One of two nods  to "The Hurting", the intro shows Orzabal's competence in French and gives Smith a shot at the spotlight.  His performance was okay, but it was easy to see why Roland handled most of the leads.   YouTube has the performance at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fonVS3aLN0s   rating: *** stars

5.) Closest Thing To Heaven   (Roland Ozabal - Curt Smith) - 4:08

The studio version of 'Closest Thing To Heaven' always reminded me a bit of 'Sowing the Seeds of Love'; the live version less so.  Again, the live version didn't stray too far from the original, but benefited from a slightly toughened-up performance; notably Orzabal's roughed up vocal.   rating: **** stars

6.) Mad World   (Roland Orzabal) - 5:14

Another "The Hurting" tune with Smith on lead vocals, this has to be one of the most depressing songs ever written ...  though Gary Jules' slowed down cover may be even darker.   If you liked the studio version, this one should prove equally depressing.  Smith at least sounded better on this one and it was nice to know he owned a helicopter made of cheese.   Live clip at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqtV_Syt0SM   rating: *** stars

7.) Everybody Wants To Rule the World   (Roland Orzabal - Curt Smith - Chris Hughes) - 4:27

Classic TFF and sounds wonderful live ...  nice solo from Charles Pettus.  Always wondered why Smith didn't play bass on it.   Live clip can be seen  at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw-kKA4tmSk   rating: **** stars

8.) Head Over Heels   (Roland Orzabal - Curt Smith) - 4:13

If you're a certain age (like me), the opening chords to 'Heads Over Heels' simply shout out '80s.   Interestingly this was one of the few performances that suffered in a live setting.  Musically it was fine, but Orzabal seemingly struggled with the lower range.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGWm6AClJ2A   rating: *** stars

9) Shout   (Roland Orzabal - Ian Stanley) - 6:32

Another classic TFF tune (Arthur Janov would be so proud), that somehow didn't make the live transition.  Orzabal and the whole band sound a bit shaky on this one; surprising when you think how many times they must have played it over the years.  Live clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U5BuDLAGno    rating: *** stars

10.) Secret World (radio edit)   (Roland Orzabal) - 3:38

The first of three "bonus" studio tracks, I can't say 'Secret World' was massively different than the album version, or the earlier live version.   rating: *** stars

11.) Floating Down the River   (Roland Orzabal) - 3:56

I don't know what the history of 'Floating Down the River' was, but it sounded very much like something off of "The Seeds of Love" - same pseudo-Beatles feel with an insidiously catchy chorus.   rating: **** stars

12.) What Are We Fighting for  (Curt Smith  - Charlton Pettus) - 4:47

Technically this wasn't a new TFF song since it was previously released as on Smith's Mayfield CD.   Nice enough pop tune that actually sounded more like a TFF effort than most of his solo stuff.  Nice George Harrison-styled slide guitar from co-writer Charlton Pettus.   rating: *** stars




Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Ready Boy & Girls?

Company: InGroove

Catalog: 87158 71180 0

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: sealed 3 song, 10: EP; white vinyl ?

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3196

Price: 40.00


Kudos to Tears for Fears for participating in the record store day release project.  Yeah, hardcore fans looking for new material were probably a little disappointed that "Ready Boy & Girls?" was a three track, 12" EP featuring all cover material.   On the other hand, it marked their first new release in seven years and while it took a little getting accustomed to their new found interest in electronica, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith brought their usual sense of enthusiasm (and melody) to the proceedings.  Reportedly only 3,000 copies were pressed


"Secret World" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) My Girls   (Animal Collective) - 4:36   rating: **** stars

I'll admit it took a couple of spins to get my arms (and ears) around this Animal Collective cover.   I think most folks would probably vote for the original, but I've got to tell you the cover has steadily grown on me, if only because TFF stripped off some of the needless electronica clutter and focused on the underlying melody.  And those TFF harmonies are ...  awesome.


(side 2)

1.) Ready To Start   (William Butler - Win Butler - Regina Chassagne - Jeremy Gara - Tim Kingsbury - Richard Reed Parr) -    rating: **** stars

So Arcade Fire gets the TFF treatment ...  or maybe TFF gets the drums and bass treatment.  Arcade Fire fans were probably horrified, but this was another one that grew on be after I gave it a chance.   The original was an out-and-out rocker, while the remake slowed the tune down, before giving it a dance feel. I've always loved the orchestrated opening and those TFF harmonies were instantly recognizable.  YouTube has the promotion video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzn7fsFSzN0 

2.) And I Was a Boy From School   (Alexis Taylor - Joe Goddard)l-     rating: **** stars

Again, Hot Chip fans will protest, but the TFF cover has grown on me.  Yeah, TFF polished off some of the original's energy (the insidiously catchy burping synthesizer pattern was pushed into the background with a less obvious bass line taking over).  That said, of the three songs on the EP, this may have been the best "fit" for Orzabel and Smith.