“If [debut album] The Hurting was mental anguish, Songs from the Big Chair marks the progression towards emotional healing, a particularly bold sort of catharsis culled from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith’s shared attraction to primal scream therapy.” AMG “The songwriting of Orzabal, Smith, and keyboardist Ian Stanley took a huge leap forward, drawing on reserves of palpable emotion and lovely, protracted melodies that draw just as much on soul and R&B music as they do on immediate pop hooks.” AMG “The album’s deep emotional explorations are at once uncompromising and appealingly tuneful.” EA
“Producer Chris Hughes helped push the band into a more organic” EO and “guitar oriented sound.” SM With his encouragement “Orzabal’s stronger voice takes center-stage for much of the album” HE thus “widening their emotional palette.” EO What also makes this album a classic is that “each song holds its place and each is integral to the overall tapestry, a single-minded resolve that is easy to overlook when an album is as commercially successful as Songs from the Big Chair.” AMG It did, after all, hit #1 for 5 weeks in the U.S. and sell more than 11 million copies worldwide.
The “stadium-sized Head Over Heels” HE was also a top 5 hit in the U.S. Mothers Talk was also released as a single. In the U.K., it was the single to introduce the new album, but in the U.S., it wasn’t released until the three aforemenionted songs. The melancholic and soulful I Believe was also released in the U.K.
What is amazing about Songs from the Big Chair “is [that] not only [is it] a commercial triumph; it is an artistic tour de force.” AMG It “is one of the finest statements of the decade,” AMG an “enduringly resonant classic…essential for any fan of the genre” EA and “arguably the finest example of epic ‘80s pop.” HE
Resources and Related Links:
- the DMDB page for Songs from the Big Chair
- the DMDB page for Tears for Fears
- AMG All Music Guide review by Stanton Swihart
- EA Eric Aaron, OpenUpAndSay.com
- Robert Christgau
- AD Adrian Denning
- HE Half.Ebay.com
- Jonathan Leonard, Leonard’s Lair
- SM Steve Marshall, The Night Owl
- EO Eric Olsen, BlogCritics.org
- DS Don Shewey, Rolling Stone - originally in print issue 448