Everybody Loves a Happy Ending: Tears For Fears

Remember “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”? Well, everybody want a happy ending too.

The group Tears For Fears was huge in the 1980s, but after their album The Seeds of Love, they just disappeared.

In 2004, Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal reunited to release an album that could have been made by Jeff Lynne, World Party, XTC or even Paul McCartney. It had that unique mix of pop melodies and harmonies, rock muscle and Beatlesque wizardry.

The group toured behind the album, but it did not make much of a dent except with devoted fans. The general public took no notice and that is a shame. No, it did not have that breakout single lime “Shout” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or “Advice For the Young at Heart.” However, the songs are consistently good. There are radio-friendly songs that seem cut from the same musical cloth as their past hits, but radio only plays the old ones, not the new ones.

The Seeds of Love (1989) was an expansive album, lush pop and dripping in soulful jazzy arrangements. Sophisticated pop is what I would call it, expensive to make, but it sold well and spawned several charting singles.

After this album, Orzabal went on with Tears For Fears, but without Smith. He released two albums under the band’s name, moderate successes, while Smith released a solo album.

Interest in the band began to increase again as the back catalogue of the band was being remastered for a new release. Orzabal and Smith reconnected in 2000 and began writing and working together. The result, Everybody Loved a Happy Ending (2004), has a mature and polished sound, is a delight for old fans, and new ones.

No. Title Writer(s) Length

1. “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending” Orzabal, Smith, Pettu 4:21 The opening song on the album sounds like the beginning of a journey the listener will be taking, in the same vein as Sgt. Pepper. The song has several sections in much the same way the Beatles used to combine separate song ideas from John and Paul.

2. “Closest Thing to Heaven” Orzabal, Smith, Pettus 3:36 A lush, swirling slice of pop with great backing vocals. Reminds me of Beatles 1966-67 period.

3. “Call Me Mellow” Orzabal, Smith, Pettus 3:39 Trippy piece of psychedelic pop sounds like XTC or Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, with the 60’s era guitars and Beach Boys vocals. Groovy.

4. “Size of Sorrow” Orzaba 4:43 Another Beach Boys type vocal effort, this a mid-tempo ballad, a mood downshift from the first songs.

5. “Who Killed Tangerine?” Orzabal, Smith, Pettus 5:33 Keeping with the Beatles comparisons, I am reminded of the Beatles’ “Glass Onion” and “All You Need is Love.” The song is slow and get builds to a repeating chorus.

6. “Quiet Ones” Orzabal 4:22 A nicely constructed song with a muscular set of verses and a softer vocal chorus section.

7. “Who You Are” Smith, Pettus 3:41 A lush, dreamy song with nicely layered vocals, yes, like The Beach Boys.

8. “The Devil” Orzabal 3:30 Psychedelic pop. One of the lesser songs on the CD. I’m not sure of the intent.

9. “Secret World” Orzabal 5:12 Absolutely the best song on the CD, and one of their best ever. Oozing with hooks and catchy melodic hooks. Very Beatlesque horn and string accompaniment.

10. “Killing with Kindness” Orzabal, Smith, Pettus 5:25 Uptempo, very average song. Not a very distinguishing song.

11. “Ladybird” Orzabal, Smith, Pettus 4:50 A shimmering song with ringing guitars and soaring harmony vocals.

12. “Last Days on Earth” Orzabal, Smith, Pettus 5:41 A nice surprise, an R&B flavored song. Unlike anything else on the CD. You might expect this to be played at the dance club.

So, you might think Beatles, Beach Boys and ELO when you listen to this CD. I am not saying it is as good as what those bands produced, but there are hints and influences that remind you of music that good.

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