Thursday, November 11, 2010

Suffer the Children by Tears for Fears

Nobody in the US remembers Tears for Fears much before 1985's Songs from the Big Chair which had hit songs "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Shout," "Mothers Talk" and "Head Over Heels" but in the UK, their earlier 1983 effort The Hurting was also a major success. One of the less remembered songs from it, however, is literally the first song Tears For Fears recorded, which went on to be a failed first single: "Suffer the Children." It was always my favorite The Hurting era Tears for Fears song. All of the songs on The Hurting were really pretty depressing; in fact, almost every song references primal therapy, a psychological tool meant to dredge up childhood trauma and relive it as a means of purging repressed pain, apparently a reflection of songwriter Roland Orzapal's own bitter childhood.

As a curious bit of trivia, John Lennon, James Earl Jones and piano player Roger Williams are all famous primal therapy patients. Tears for Fears themselves were very disillusioned when they met primal therapy creator Arthur Janov and he wanted them to write a musical to promote his practice.

Also; check out the fragile acoustic cover of contemporary Tears for Fears track "Mad World" on the Donnie Darko soundtrack if you get a chance. Beautiful song.

Tears for Fears later abandoned their synthpop sound. Some sources claim that only The Hurting itself is synthpop while Songs from the Big Chair abandoned that sound to become a contemporary rock album. I think that's a ridiculous statement. Have these guys not heard "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" or "Shout" or "Head Over Heels" recently? It wasn't until the 1989 release The Seeds of Love that Tears for Fears dropped the synthpop sound, and even then they used quite a few synthesizers still.

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