High Time to Make a Comeback

Tears for Fears heals a rift and releases a new album

Their fans need shed no more tears for the 1990s break-up of Tears for Fears, the legendary pop rock group now on tour in the U.S. after 14 years, with their new album “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending.”

Superstars Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith have reunited not only to bring chart-topping hits, such as “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Head Over Heals” and “Sowing the Seeds of Love” to audiences all over the U.S., but also to sow interest in some new hits.

Released in September, the album will likely thrill loyal fans and perhaps manage to create legions of new ones. The first track, titled for the album, begins with a short instrumental vignette that suggests a reinvented sound, before suddenly moving into the band’s most Beatle-esque riff yet. John Lennon’s reincarnation shifts to a lighter, McCartney-sounding piece, before finally changing into a sound almost identical to the early Beatles.

The band returns to the Fab Four influence again with “Who Killed Tangerine?” It’s an intriguing example of what the Beatles might have sounded like if they were still around. Brilliant.

The first song Orzabal and Smith wrote after getting back together, “Closest Thing to Heaven,” is perhaps one of the best songs the duo ever wrote. Written in a day, they took the song’s creation as a sign that their musical chemistry was back and sharp enough for another album. The song brings back Tears for Fears’ unmistakably confident, powerful singing, addictive melodies and full, simple backing—only this time without over-saturation of synthesizers. It’s more of a rock band sound with guitars, a great bass line, piano, simple drumming and a light frosting of strings and electronic sounds. It’s an ideal mixture of the ‘80s with a contemporary sound.

“This is the album that should have followed ‘Seeds of Love’ in many ways,” said Orzabal, who continued Tears for Fears alone after Smith left the band for New York in 1990. He recorded two albums and toured internationally throughout the ‘90s, but Tears for Fears was never the same without Smith.

“It was South America, and we were playing Colombia, and it was a tough trip,” Orzabal said, in biographical material provided by the band. “Because Tears for Fears had had no success in Colombia since 1983, they were promoting the show with hits from the very first album. It was depressing. And so going onstage I knew what my job was—just to make everyone go crazy. And after an hour-and-a-half they were going crazy, and I was singing ‘Shout’ as an encore—and I thought, ‘I’ve had enough of this.’”

He retired back home to England to release his unsuccessful solo album on September 11,

2001. “Fortunate timing,” he noted with irony.

Meanwhile, Curt Smith left England and his wife for a new life in New York. He made a solo album, which he hated, hosted shows for MTV, started a syndicated college radio show and formed a new group, Mayfield, which got him addicted to writing songs and performing again.

“I guess I got the bug again,” he said. “I started playing clubs in New York and I had the best time ever. I would leave my apartment, walk to the club, play and then walk home. It was basically rekindling my love of music, which was kind of for the right reasons—you do it because you actually want to do it, as opposed to it just being a business, which is the side I didn’t really like.”

After some chiding and begging from mutual friends, Orzabal and Smith decided to meet again.

“It was just a matter of time, really, before so much water passed under the bridge,” Orzabel said. “And it was like, well, what are we worried about? Let’s start chatting and see where it goes.”

That decision has the two currently touring the United States, with a New York Beacon gig last Thursday, and, with more shows expected to be announced, a possible return visit. Regardless, their new album is in stores everywhere.

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