Songs from the Big Chair is the second studio album by English pop rock band Tears for Fears, released on 25 February 1985 by Phonogram Records. The album peaked at number two in the UK and at number one in the US, becoming a multi-platinum seller and the band's most successful album to date. Songs from the Big Chair spawned the commercially successful singles "Mothers Talk", "Shout", "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", "Head over Heels", and "I Believe".Wikipedia
It's hard reviewing an album that's perfect but here's me giving it a shot. I've been well acquainted and quite familiar with Tears for Fears's work for quite some time now. It's obviously all the smash hits I know them for, but I'd be lying through my teeth if I didn't start grinning when I saw this album as the next to listen to. I was excited and I had damn good reason to be. This is the album with Shout! With Everybody Wants to Rule the World! It's quite the star studded affair and hopes were high. Suffice it to say, this album didn't disappoint, not by a long shot. The aforementioned Shout kicks off the album in a downright chilling manner. The samples and loops used are accompanied by ice-cold keyboards and Roland Orzabal's chilling vocals. If I didn't know about the song beforehand, it would've probably stunned me into silence. It's a masterful track and the first one, no less. Moving on from there, we descend into smooth jazz with The Working Hour. It's yet another superb blend of various different genres, but the mood of desperation and bitterness rages on. These guys have a lot to say on this album and they don't mince their words or leave out details; they get to the point backed with vast arrangements and multiple different things happening at once. Nowhere is that better enunciated than on The Working Hour. Moving on from there we have the smash hit of the album Everybody Wants to Rule the World. I don't think I need to say much about it. It was always an iconic track and one I've known for as long as I can remember. The message often flies through people's heads but the truth is the commentary on corruption and dictatorial rule that was prevalent during that time (after all, this album was literally recorded at the pinnacle of the Cold War of the 1980s) will always be ahead of its time. The arrangement is glistening and glossy, while the lyrics, continuing with the theme of the album, are anything but. Another iconic track that proved to be an intergenerational hit. From here on out we really get to the meat of the album. Mothers Talk is more of a drum exercise than the previous few songs incorporating world music elements and in the process almost sounding like a Talking Heads leftover. Of course I mean that in the nicest and sincerest way possible. I Believe is built upon one of the sparser arrangements of the album. It's also my favourite song of the entire album. The saxophone solo merely sealed the deal, but even before that I was entranced by Roland's lonesome vocals and the slow, brooding drums and piano. From there on out we enter what I like to call a medley of sorts. Broken kicks off where I Believe left off and it's one of the more vibrant songs of the album. It gets into gear almost immediately and in its 2 and a half minutes accomplishes a lot with seemingly nothing. After that we have another instant transition into Head Over Heels, another well known track off the album and another absolute masterpiece. I wouldn't be surprised if people write this song off because of its pop sensibilities ,but I like it directly because of that. The poppier nature of the track serves as a cleanser to the past few moody songs that have preceded it. The live snippet of Broken, featured earlier on the album, makes a cameo at the tail end of the song, following another seamless transition. I don't find much rhyme or reason in putting that short snippet there, but it really does the track no harm and it's not something worth wasting energy over. The final track on the album is also the most emotionally poignant and daring. Listen starts off simple enough with a keyboard line, but eventually crescendoes and evolves into this African chant-like structure, furthering their relations with world music. Drums are barely present and yet you don't notice it, because the squealing guitar and atmospheric keys more than make up for it. What a joyride this album was! Who knew that a simple band from Bath could string along different genres so easily, seamlessly and in a way that amplified their messages and improved their songs. From start to finish, this project is an all killer, no filler affair. It's also one of the few albums whose album cover defines the music present on the album. The monochrome cover perfectly encapsulates the music behind it. The arrangements are often cadaverous and chilling, other times hypnotic and soulful and on occasion smooth and mellow as well. The lyrics get to the point and the core of many sociopolitical issues of the time. Sensational doesn't even begin to describe it; this underrated gem is a must for everyone trying to broaden their horizons as far as British 80s music goes and further acknowledge Tears for Fears as one of the most underrated bands of the 1980s. 10/10
Classic. Feels like I took a time machine back to the 80s listening to it
wild how the 80s exist huh first track is lame but everything after is pretty great. everyone wants to rule the world is some of the best shit from the 80s prolly. this was before pop artists stopped making 6 minute songs so a couple songs drag a lil but never too bad since theyre all good anyways. 9/10
Atmospheric while also being poppy. Still feels fresh 40 years later. Has both very well known songs, and also songs that would be considered lesser known. I am almost on the verge of giving this a five. Actually the more I think about it, the more I like this album. Fuck it.
Excellent synth pop album. A more accessible, but still very interesting, successor to their debut The Hurting.
Masterful pop production. It wears its era on its sleeve, which is perhaps the only complaint, but also a big part of the charm. There are plenty of legitimately interesting ideas across the eight songs, while they all manage to sound like the commercially successful pop music which they were.
This is crazy 80s sound, like super cheesy I would never listen to this. Oh well. Sticking with it. Only on song 2. On the last song. This is really bad. Awful.
SOMETHING HAPPENS AND IM HEAD OVER
Fuck it, too many hits and the 2nd disc makes this another 5.
Super into this. What's not to love about 80s synth pop?
so funky cool
I fucking love this album. Only listened through it entirely about 3 times, but I've heard Everybody about a thousand times. So glad that the whole thing is just as great.
OMG, was a great album, automatically added to my favourites
Probably top 3 albums we’ve listened to thus far yeesh.
I wouldn't mind listening to the happier songs 24/7. The other songs are somewhat more boring, though
I love the variety of music, I love how songs are interconnected, and I love the music. Especially the lesser known songs (eg Broken).
There's no way to remove our own biases, experiences, and subjectivity from, well, anything, really, and rendering an opinion on music is no exception. This is one of my favorite albums of all time. It surprised me when it was released and fell in love with it (its release year, 1985, was the year I graduated high school and entered college) because this was so popular and I fancied myself quite a bit of a hard rocker and wannabe punk rocker who was just way too cool for silly ol' popular music (I was then, as I am now, completely full of poop). Didn't matter though: this band, this album, these songs...they all gripped me. I know it's all associated with what was, for the most part, an extraordinarily memorable year for me, in many outstanding ways (had some really crappy moments, too, but that's how life does its life thing). I have a particular fondness for Roland Orzabal's voice and I believe he is an underrated guitarist. (Speaking of guitar, Neil Taylor's outro solo on "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" is excellent.) Curt Smith's voice is great, too, and his bass playing is also overlooked. They are actually fantastic musicians, composers, and writers. A good look into their abilities can be found YouTuber Rick Beato's 'What Makes This Song Great' episode on "Head Over Heels," one of my favorite of many favorite TFF songs. Check it out if you're interested. So glad this project gave me an excuse to listen to this masterpiece all the way through again. 5+ Stars from me.
Perfect modern pop album! If u like depeche mode - listen!
Everybody Wants To Rule The World is an 11/10 track. Rest of the album didn't do much for me
Very 80s. Starts strong but fizzles
Already like this album. Pretty fuckin' solid.
Und immer schön so’n büschen Hall drauf, gell? Nein: Wow. Das ist mal ein „Album“: ordentlich Abwechslung, feine Dramaturgie, Ruhiges und echte Knaller – das alles bei konsistentem Sound und hervorragenden Musikern. Souverän, zart, geil.
Hoezo zijn al die nummers zo een schijven? Echt geweldig om naar te luisteren. Schril contrast tussen begin van de plaat en het einde
Este es uno de mis álbumes favoritos de siempre - es genial... y qué recuerdos 😍😍😍
Отличный альбом. При первом прослушивании показалось, что провисать начинает, но это просто бонус треков наебенили от души. Если ограничиться оригинальной восьмёркой – то не придраться. Внятные, мелодичные, разнообразные цепляющие композиции, интересный инструментал, яркие вокальные партии, и лидирующие и фоновые. Мотивы, которые оседают в голове на годы и которым можно подпевать. И при этом вроде не сказать, что какая-то беззубая коммерческая музыка, нет, оригинальное живое творчество. Всему бы быть таковым. но нет, далее нас снова будет ждать якобы дохуя экспериментальное репетативное душилово…
ну тупа одна из лучших групп 80х, имхо. пацаны хуярили хит за хитом, и немного более попсово чем Дипишмот, конечно, но зато с изобретательностью партий проблем не было (чего стоит только сакс в Working Hour). Сам альбом — просто шлягер на шлягере, чуть ли не сборник лучших песен, из плюс минус нехитовых номеров можно разве что заключительную Listen назвать. Лично мне небольшая сырость и распиздяйность их первого альбома чуть больше заходила, но и против такого годного синтипопа ничего не имею, твердая пятера
I love this band and album with my whole heart
Super relaxed album. Best song is for sure "Everybody Wants To Rule The World". Best deep track is "Listen"
This may be the perfect 80s pop album and I’ll definitely be revisiting this one! My favorite tracks are “Shout”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Head Over Heels”.
Great album. Enjoyed it immensely
A wonderful album from the 80's. There are 3 Bangers on this album: "Shout" "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Head Over Heels". I loved listening to the whole album, before I had just heard their singles. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" is still my favorite song by them.
A1 has that yoke from gta on it
Astonishingly good, apart from somewhat meandering limp ending to "Listen", the final track.
Saved Prior: Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Head Over Heels Not Saved: 8. I Believe 7. Listen (wouldn't listen to it on its own, but nonetheless works well as a bookend to this album) Saved: 6. Mothers Talk 5. Broken 4. The Working Hour (other 3 songs have familiarity bias, but this song has the potential to jump them. This is a beautiful song) 3. Shout 2. Head Over Heels / Broken (odd choice to tack on Broken to the end of this song, would've just preferred it exist on its own to avoid the musical whiplash. Probably would've been number 1 if not for that) 1. Everybody Wants To Rule The World (not that this song isn't deserving of #1. Nutty song.) Overall Notes: Up there with the most artistic yet commercially viable new wave albums of all time. Straight up beautiful album. Must hear for SURE.
Awesome record. Of course I heard Shout and Everybody wants to rule the world before, but never the whole album, and it's awesome and consistent.
An 80s pop album has no right to be this good, yet here we are.
WTF where has this album been all my life. I knew Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Head Over Heels were great, but didn't realise they were on a banging classic album
I was SO happy to see this album pop up. IT'S SO GOOD!!
I mean, clearly an iconic album from the 80s' most iconic band.
4.5 star album for me: mostly excellent. and the typical 80s sound is of course the best sound ever.
With a track list like this, how could it not be 5 stars? Favorites: Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Mothers Talk, Head over Heels
One of my favorites, rings of childhood for me
Head over heels er best 80s lag í heimi. Platan mjög góð í heildina.
“And my favorite band will always be Tear for Fears” - Matt Theisen
Awesome 80's vibes.
Pretty good. Very 80s
Solid stuff, thought I would just like the hits, then a great sax hit and I was sold
Absolute classic. I met Roland in at The Ivy in LA once. He was lovely.
classic, nog steeds wat moeite met shout door de disturbed versie maar deze is gewoon genieten. everybody wants to rule the world is ook gewoon zo goed. Al moet de rest niet onder doen.
One of my all time favorites..the 80’s were my time …single in Honolulu and young and prime..music was sensational
Despite being jam packed full of well popular singles Songs From The Big Chair, as I discovered, is best enjoyed as a full album, its v decent. Prog-pop? Is that a thing?
Absolute classic. Took me back years, T4F at the height of their talent. 👍👍
Ace record !!!
80's pop perfection. I've never heard this album before just because I was never all that excited about 80s music in general, but recently I've fallen in love with the pop scene of the decade and knew this would be an album that would stand out to me. I was right. Every song on here is perfect or near perfect, from the singles to the deep cuts.
This really held up well. I recall how much I liked this at initial release and to me it sounded just as good, if not better, today. I liked the music and vocals.
This album has a special, special place in my heart. All of these songs are amazing, especially Head Over Heels. That's my favourite of theirs and one of my all time favourite songs.
I am already a bug fan of this record and it somehow still gets better with each listen.
10/10 amazing album, so many of these songs are underrated
Now we're talking. Solid 5. One of my favorites.
An absolute classic from the 80s, with three songs that will live long in my memory. Wonderful.
Loved this, great songs from a great band.....also had this album as a kid and wore out the tape.
80tero puro y duro. Buenisimo.
I'm not sure saxophone is what I associate with TFF and it was a low point for me. Overall a really great album with solid pop lines and a perfect mix of darkness.
3/25/2022 Today's Album: "Songs From The Big Chair" by Tears For Fears - The opening track, Shout, sets the stage perfectly for this album of memorable classics and a little more. Being such a big hit itself, Shout is a great synth ballad with some very colorful auxiliary percussion, the ever-present 80s synth, and a really cool flute solo about half way through the track. The guitar soloing is also fantastic near the end. The Working Hour starts as a beautiful follow up before transitioning into this extremely groovy samba track that reminds me of the soundtrack to Tarzan (Very Phil Collins). I really like the chill nature of this track and it does enough to not feel boring. Everybody Wants To Rule The World is a perfect song. It's just one of those songs that supersedes any explanation because if you've somehow never heard it, you probably don't care enough about music to be reading this review. It's a great song and still holds it's ground despite how much it's overplayed. Mothers Talk is also a really great track. The bass sounds so funky but is playing so fast it gives the whole track this really groovy disco energy. The vocals are as great as any of the bigger hits and the background vocals really add a lot of personality and soul to this track. I Believe is a much slower and lowkey track, stripping back to just a piano, bass, and drum kit. The vocals are really smooth and emotional, feeling really authentic in the process. It might drag out a bit long, but it sounds nice while it's on and adds a lot to the flow of the record. Broken is another insanely groovy and fun dance tracks with some really impressive guitar work and musical breaks. Head Over Heels / Broken is a really great rock track that feels a lot like Boston by Boston. The lyrics and vocals are on point and there's a really warm and smooth rock band arrangement backing it up. Yet another highlight on a really great sounding record. Finally, Listen is a fantastic closer to this album, being a lush and wide soundscape of a synth ballad. There's a lot of random noises and sparkly synths overcasting the velvety base and synths. There's some great chorus vocals and screaming guitar tones that just sound fantastic. The name of it being Listen really does make sense because it makes me want to get this album on vinyl just to listen to it. The production of the entire record is fantastic start to end and I highly recommend this for anyone who even sort of likes Shout or EWTRTW (or just likes 80s Rock in general). Score: 9.5/10 Fan-freakin'-tastic Highlights: Shout, The Working Hour, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Broken, Head Over Heels / Broken, Listen.
I'm about 400 albums into this list, and there's a lot of 80s pop. A lot. Ironically, despite being on this list, a lot of it is a little dime-a-dozen. This record, however, is pretty goddamn close to flawless. A solid range of sounds and moods, while remaining cohesive and extremely catchy. If there were more narrow ratings, I'd probably give this a 4.5, but I feel it's close enough to warrant the 5. Favorite tracks: "Head Over Heels", "Shout", "The Working Hour"
Pros: - Has some ABSOLUTE bangers on this album. - "Everybody wants to rule the world" is one of my favorite songs of all time - "Shout" is so moody and such a strong opener. - "Head Over Heels / Broken" - another damn slapping BANGER. - I just love their sound. This was 1985, right smack in the middle of the 80's. They had that weird 80's "we're embracing this new synth world" sound that was weirdly serious and I will forever love that. - The first track is super synth heavy (with all of the limitations of early synths), and then the second track comes in with an evocative and VERY human-y saxophone. Then bongos. Such a cool contrast to start an album. I really can't say how much I love the ground covered instrumentation wise in the first two songs. I don't know if I've ever heard another pop album cover so much ground so quickly while also being effective and now adding timbres for the sake of adding timbres. - LISTEN TO THE INTRO GROOVE ON EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD. UGHHHH - "Mothers Talk" bass part at 3:48 is literally videogame battle music. - "Listen", the outtro is really so amazing. Lots of moods. Cons: Misc: - It's hard for me to give a quantified star rating for this album. It's a high 4 for me. JUST a 4 is too low IMO but 5 is too high for me. It's an amazing album, with 3 songs that are probably in the conversation of being 3 of the top 25 songs of a decade, which is amazing- specially so because the 80s were such a wild time for pop music. This is really my hardest vote yet. Ok I'm giving it a 5, it's just too good.
5/5. Unrelentingly 80s, holy shit. Masterpiece 😎
Uuuuh. Been waiting for this Love it, reminds me of my mom :)) 5
2nd album. 80s classic.
One of my favorite albums of the 80s. Everything is on point, from the cryptic lyrics, longing vocals, punchy drums, cloudy riffs and sax, and most importantly the moody synths, confident and expressing feelings of nostalgia and melancholy. One of my favorite things is the ambiance that surrounds the whole album, placing us in the limbo of lost emotions. I like how you can hear New Wave influences like the afrobeat of Talking Heads and The Police in "Listen." It's as if this is the pinnacle of New Wave. The "Broken" and "Heads Over Heels" combination blew me away when I first heard it. Every track is perfect in their own right, and there's excellent diversity between dance mixes and introspective ballads. It's a fairly short album, and there are only 8 songs of which there's so much substance I don't mind them going on for so long. My only complaint is that the track order could be improved to keep the momentum of certain vibes. I can understand why you wouldn't want to collect all the ballads together, but I'd prefer "I Believe" moved down.
One of the best albums of the '80's, hands down
Amazing loved it
Great album. Very chill.
Already one of my favorite albums by my favorite artists. Glad to see it on the list. Moody songwriting and vocals. 80s synths and drum machines and post punk style guitar lead lines although a very diverse album stylistically. I recommend listening either the lyrics open if possible as they can be hard to make out but are very good. Highlights: sax on #2 The Working Hour. Polyrhythm in the guitar/drums on #3 everybody wants to rule the world. Bass lines near the 4 minute mark in #4 Mothers Talk. Love the lounge vibe with dramatic piano chords in #5 I Believe. #6 Broken complexity with introducing layers first bass, then guitar riff, synths. A taste of the main riff from #7 Head over Heels/broken adds dissonance if you listen for it. Dreamy intro to #7 with interesting use of major chords. Great falsetto. The bassine from Broken comes back at the end of #7 making #6 and #7 a little suite. My favorite track is #8 with its repeating motif and orchestral sound. It's a melancholy end to this dramatic album. The performances, arrangements, complex rhythms, diversity of styles and how they take the time to string them together to make them siund like they are supposed to go together makes this one of my favorite albums of all time. Only 41 minutes long but absolutely packed with Music.
Easy 5/5. Fantastic album. From start to finish. Have listened to it man times through.
Doesn't get more 80s than this. Shout is such a moment defining song. It's amazing...the rest doesn't fall behind either. Jazzy horns are so fun and add a lot of depth to the songs.. wish more artists today would learn from this era. 5*
Wow. Ok. So you know the songs, but did you know that they blend into other songs, are part of other songs and there’sa bunch of killer guitar! This is an album album! It’s great! Thanks guys!
Everybody Wants to Rule the World was my favorite song then ("Real Genius" anyone?) and remains one of my favorites to this day. The whole album is iconic; an 80's colored jewel that continues to sparkle even as the years tumble by. Thank you to the reviewer who mentioned Beato has covered Head over Heels. Heading there now.
This is one of the most enduring of the 80s albums that were characterized as new wave. Incorporating elements that as disparate as prog and soul into the pop mix, this is a terrific listen from start to finish. Clearly they were listening to Eno, Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel. A few stone cold classics, but solid throughout - Mother's Milk and Listen stand out from the deep cuts. In hindsight it is surprising that a song as rich as Everybody Wants to Rule the World hit number 1 on the singles chart.
This album has depth all the way through it. The production is very rich, with layers of keyboards, incredible rhythm section and expressive guitar playing. There’s even some sax in places. But also the lyrics are very heavy. Deep introspection and what feels to me like great compassion for the suffering of others. The singing is gorgeous. I was thinking that with the drama of the music and lyrics it’s almost operatic. There were several songs I already knew, and enjoyed hearing again. “Mothers Talk” was new to me and I thought it was outstanding, especially the drumming. I also loved the way the melodic hook from Head Over Heels appeared in Broken first as a sort of pre-echo.
This is such a great album. I still listen to it cover to cover a couple of times a year.
So many recognizable big hit songs that defined a genre
Great album of which I only really knew the classics Shout and Everbody Wants to Rule the World. Really enjoyed Head over Heels / Broken and Mothers Talk as well. Very Strong album overall; will listen to this one more often from now on!
An outstanding gem of 80s pop music. Was already super familiar with Tears for Fears before this album, but an entrenched love of their first album The Hurting had somewhat sidelined their follow up in my estimations. Safe to say, I’m converted. Given the now sacrosanct status held by this album’s two biggest singles “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” , it’s easy to forget just how much of an uphill battle the band faced in 1985 to obtain the critical acclaim the unquestionably deserved. Their brand of guitar infused new wave synth pop mixed with brutally honest reflections on mental anguish was met with indifference (or downright derision) from the music press, who deemed the whole thing pretentious. This album soon silenced many of their doubters. The formula is not greatly changed from The Hurting, but is far more ambitious on the production front. Whereas The Hurting retreated into the abysmal depths of torment, on this album the songs sprawl and soar with a defiant arrogance, as their lyrics desperately clutch to a fleeting but vital optimism - these guys were outstanding songwriters, and they knew it. This linear interpretation of Tears For Fears first two records is far from novel, but it’s inescapable when listening to both records. The outstanding production on this record accentuates the outstanding songwriting on this record, without consigning it to the realm of quirky 80s curiosity. Songs like the aforementioned “Shout” sound remarkably vital in a way that Dire Straits or Culture Club do not. To say that this record stands the test of time is to say the tower in Pisa stands on an incline. It’s really incredible. That being said, the overall experience of this record is perhaps not as immediately impactful as their debut effort. The drawn-out song structures stilt the flow of the record, though the atmosphere created on this album perfectly compliments the band’s brooding self-analyses. It’s a minor complaint on a truly exceptional album. If there were half stars available, I’d probably settle on 4.5 - but there isn’t, and I feel this record deserves better than just a 4. So it’s a well-deserved 5 stars from me.
I loved this album when it came out: the tunes, the voice, the instrumentation, the layering of rhythm and counterpoint, the energy… listening to it brings it all back!
Great album 👌
8/09/22 5/5 One of my all-time favourites, the synth music with instrumentals is just fabulous, and one of the greatest songs of all time, Everybody Wants To Rule the World. Just so good
Still great to listen to 37 years on.
I was delighted to see this pop up, one of my favorite albums of the 80s! Put it on and went for a jog this morning, great start to the day. Maybe it's not completely perfect, more like a 9/10. But without a doubt one of the best pop albums ever released.