Friday, February 25, 2022

Tears for Fears released The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

Tears for Fears


Released: February 25, 2022


Peak: 8 US, 2 UK, 20 CN, 7 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: new wave


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. No Small Thing (Orzabal/Smith) [4:42] (12/2/21, --)
  2. The Tipping Point (Orzabal/Pettus) [4:14] (10/7/21, 17 AA, 37 UK)
  3. Long, Long, Long Time (Smith/Orzabal/Pettus) [4:32]
  4. Break the Man (Smith/Pettus) [3:56] (1/13/22, --)
  5. My Demons (Orzabal/Skarbek/Reutter) [3:08]
  6. Rivers of Mercy (Orzabal/Pettus/Petty) [6:09]
  7. Please Be Happy (Orzabal/Skarbek) [3:06]
  8. Master Plan (Orzbal) [4:37]
  9. End of Night (Orzabal) [3:24]
  10. Stay (Smith/Pettus) [4:37]


Total Running Time: 42:25


The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Curt Smith (vocals, bass, keyboards, backing vocals)

Rating:

3.749 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


Quotable: The Tipping Point is a strong, fantastic return for a fabled and often undervalued band.” – Lori Gava, xsnoize.com

About the Album:

After 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, it would be 18 years before Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith cam back together for an album – 2022’s The Tipping Point. The result is album that is “one part commentary on our sorry condition as a society and second part analyzing the duo’s personal journeys, including Orzabal’s searing experiences with the death of his wife, Caroline, in 2017.” XS

The pair’s strained relationship that led to their initial breakup during 1989’s The Seeds of Love reemerged during the recording of this album. “The two went through a long list of today’s hit-making producers who attempted to recreate Tears for Fears’ past glories, leaving the duo with a lot of snappy lifeless songs. The songs lacked what the band thought should be artistry, vitality or deep meaning.” XS Smith walked away from the project mid-way through recording. WK

“No Small Thing”
However, the two patched things up. By “putting aside all the outside forces, the two rediscovered a working relationship that went back to basics. They began again simply in a room with acoustic guitars in hand.” XS They started with the song No Small Thing. It ended up as the opening track on the album and the second single. WK

The song is “a beautiful stripped-down acoustic track filled with swirling Wurlitzer organs. It mirrors the familiar harmonies of Tears for Fears’ classics while displaying mature men informed about life’s pathways. The selection is a heartfelt discussion about loss, comfort, and your response when the person you always turn to is gone. The song reflects everything Tears for Fears does best.” XS

“The Tipping Point”
The first single, however, was the title cut. Orzabal was inspired to write the song after his wife’s death in 2017. It “provides sensuous, flickering sonics that could be an updated offering off of Elemental. The narrative displays the protagonist watching someone crossing the threshold of life into what comes next while examining how we never really take in what is about to happen even when we know someone is dying. The selection is brilliant as Tears for Fears pulls off that almost impossible feat of producing alluring sonics while delivering a gut-punch of a theme.” XS

“Long, Long, Long Time”
This “speaks to age and the passage of time.” XS “Orzabal’s voice beautifully still holds its own. The summation of the song is that with death, there is no choice but to let go, again referring to his wife’s passing. Overall, the song captures what makes Tears for Fears unique while modernizing their approach.” XS

“Break the Man”
The third single, Break the Man, marked the first time the band released an original song as a single which was not co-written by Orzabal. Curt Smith first released a snippet of the song via a tweet in 2018. At the time, the chorus said “kill the man” instead of “break the man.” WK The song “effectively marries synthesizers to horn elements on another engaging track. Discussed are personal relationships, not being fooled by alluring imagery, and the realization that time is not infinite.” XS

“My Demons”
“The frenetic My Demons” is an example of “masterfully balancing an energetic sonic with serious introspection. The lyrics examine if our modern world is any better than the past when the same problems still exist. However, it is not all outward examination as inner demons are examined along with the problems of self-absorption. Instead of Orzabal and Smith seeming to have all the answers like when they were younger, they now wonder if there are any answers.” XS

“Rivers of Mercy”
Rivers of Mercy “first is a starkly beautiful track containing swirling trademark piano work and a heart rendering dialogue about sorrow and loss. Realizing the only comforts are provided by family, friends and belief. These provide the ability to be dropped in rivers of mercy as faith turns fear into hope.” XS

“Please Be Happy”
Please Be Happy “is truly a personal outing for Orzabal, as he tracks his wife’s depression which started her ultimate unravelling. He watches his wife go through depression and then fall into the illness that finally takes her into its undertow. He confesses to guilt as he pleads for her to overcome the unsurmountable. The sonics reflect a wave starting starkly, then turning orchestral and ending in sombre quiet. The two tracks are masterworks.” XS

“Master Plan”
Master Plan is a pixelated rocker that avows the realization that you ‘Need a lot of rage to get by these days… you need a lot of faith to reach the sun.’ The song is filled with classic Tears for Fears sonic/narrative drama.” XS

“End of Night”
End of Night is notable for the synth roar and Orzabal delivering some righteous operatic vocals in the closing moments.

“Stay”
The song Stay was first released on the 2017 compilation, Rule the World. It “serves as a perfect closer to an offering that questions death, sorrow and loss. Its ethereal sonics serve the theme of the track and the album well. It Is a final examination of the contradictions of life, wishing loved ones to remain while not wanting them to suffer another moment in pain. The phantasmagoric signoff is mantra-like as the album drifts off into the ether.” XS

Conclusion
“When a fabled band returns to release new work, there is always a concern. The question of if a band should even attempt to reach for the pinnacle of their past success beckons. However, in Tears for Fears case, they affirmatively answer that question. Tragic events often spur artists to great creations, and this album certainly follows that construct.” XS

The Tipping Point is cathartic, searingly traumatic, soaring, wisdom-filled and transforms all those things into transcendent art. The undertone is mourning, but the duo does not abandon the listener; they also offer hope and recovery. The release should bring in new converts, and long-term Tears for Fears fans should be thrilled with this long-awaited return. The Tipping Point is a strong, fantastic return for a fabled and often undervalued band.” XS

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First posted 2/25/2022; last updated 3/8/2022.

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