Eighties top albums: Tears For Fears - The Hurting


The Hurting
Mad World
Pale Shelter
Ideas As Opiates
Memories Fade
Suffer The Children
Watch Me Bleed
The Prisoner
Start Of The Breakdown

In 1981, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith leave the Graduate, a group influenced by the mod subculture, and set up Tears For Fears. During the decade the duo scored three platinum albums, after which their roads separated in 1991. Smith is trying a solo career in the US, while Orzabal releases two more albums under the flag of Tears For Fears, before the curtain seems to fall. However, in 2000 the duo comes together again, releases an album in 2004 and tours again, resulting in a live CD / DVD in 2006. 

Again a period of silence follows that recently was broken with a new collector and actually a new single, "I Love You But I'm Lost". To top it off,  they will play the AFAS Live (fromer HMH) in May. 

The album I want to talk about is "The Hurting. An album that in every era would have been a daring debut for a pop-oriented band, but it was an unexpected success in England in 1983, mainly because of the makers' ability to pack an unpleasant subject - the psychologically miserable family histories of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith - in an attractive and salable musical format. Not that there were no predecessors, most emphatically John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album is also, not entirely coincidentally, inspired by the work of Arthur Janov (known from the book The Primal Scream and the fact that John Lennon and Yoko Ono were once his clients). But Lennon had the advantage of being an ex-Beatle, while Tears for Fears had just begun. Decades later "Pale Shelter", "Ideas as Opiates", "Memories Fade", "Suffer The Children", "Watch Me Bleed", "Change" and "Start of the Breakdown" are still powerful pieces of music, beautifully executed in an almost minimalist style. "Memories Fade" offers emotional resonances reminiscent of Lennon's "Working Class Hero", while "Pale Shelter performs on an entirely different level, an excellent sonic painting that carries the listener up through layers of pulsing synthesizers, acoustic guitar arpeggios and sheets of electronic sound. The work is sometimes inconveniently personal, but musically convincing enough to lift it over the decades."


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