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4.7 out of 5 stars109
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 December 2004
Artistically and commercially brilliant. An album for my all-time Top Ten, including ALL artists and ALL genres of music. Over the last 25 years, few artists with substantial emotional depth and intelligence have managed to achieve mainstream international success. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith did just that with "Songs From The Big Chair".
From the cathartic chant of opener "Shout" (still great for leaping around to at home!), to the ridiculously catchy massive hit "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", to the jazz crooning of "I Believe", every track has quality and substance. The standard of musicianship is exceptional, and a wide range of styles are embraced. Raw emotional power, lyrics that dig deep into psychological suffering but which are still somehow uplifting (even if it's not always clear what they are actually about), and great tunes. The sheer craftmanship shines throughout.
Tears For Fears made some excellent music both before and after this album, but it was with this one that all the ingredients really came together as a whole. Masterful. Thank you Roland and Curt.
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on 1 March 2004
The original album 'Songs From The Big Chair' features the worldwide smash hits 'Shout', 'Everybody Want To Rule The World' (No.1 in the USA, No.2 in the UK) and 'Head Over Heels'. However, it was only eight-track long and didn't fully showcast Roland Orzabal amazing talent at writing meaningful and out-of-the-mainstream compositions. The extra tracks on this re-release of 'Songs From The Big Chair' paints a better picture of what the duo was about. All the extra tracks were available on the b-sides of the singles when they first came on vinyl. Most can also be found on the brilliant Tears For Fears collection of b-sides 'Saturnine Martial and Lunatic' album.
If you don't own a Tears For Fears album this is the one to get. Overall it's a good blend of pop chart hits and soundtrack quality b-sides. And the mind-addictive 'Shout' will have you muttering the lyrics to yourself for weeks.
In terms of production, this re-mastered collection is amazingly well 're-mastered'. The sound that comes through my hi-fi system is crip and clean, and at least twice better than the original album version. It worth noting that Chris Hughes was the producer of the original album, and he is also involved in the re-mastering of this new collection -- the result is one of the best re-mastered albums in my collection.
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on 30 May 2008
Already owning quite a bit of TFF stuff (inc the remastered/extra tracks release of Songs From The Big Chair from 1999 and the B Sides album Saturnine, Martial & Lunatic) i wasnt to sure whether it would be worth owning this as well, but i succummbed in the end. If you already have the two previous albums i mentioned, then you have around 75-80% of this album covered by those two, however, this album features a few mentionable tracks not available anywhere else, inc the Urban Mix of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (which features in its mix some elements used in the re-release for Sport Aid - see further on in my review) and the proper 7" vinyl version of "Mothers Talk" (featuring the slightly diff drum and bass), plus a few other previously unavailable 12" versions. This 2CD set (an import as well) is nicely packaged with artwork concurrent from the original relase period, and a nice booklet with some notes about the album. Sound quality is very good. The only reason i give this 4 stars really is because i would have thought they could have included the Sport Aid version of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (known as "Everybody Wants To Run The World") which i dont think is available on and previous CD releases at this time, and which i still have on vinyl in 7" and 12" formats. The same with the standard 12" mix of EWTRTW, which again, i dont think is on any other CD release. Infact, they could have easily dropped a few tracks from this release, such as "The Way You Are" which is not really from this period, and probably belongs more with The Hurting period, and the 7" version of Everybody Wants To Rule The World which is essentially the album version.
All in all a nice purchase, but you'll have to decide if its worth another £15 (current Amazon price) if you already have the earlier stuff; much better value if you dont !
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on 20 March 2004
Circa March 1985 an issue of a magazine called Electronics and Music Maker featured Tears for Fears on the cover and prompted me to investigate them. Twenty years on the use of TFF material in 'Donnie Darko' prompted me to revisit their albums. Strangely, like a lot of recently released 80s albums (Rio, Don't Stand Me Down, Porcupine), this is a lot better than I remember it being. The album strikes a neat balance between fast dance orientated tracks, pop songs, and slower numbers. Standout tracks are the relentless Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World', 'Mother's Talk', the gorgeous melody and understated grandeur of 'I Believe', and the sheer pop bliss of 'Head Over Heels'. This is the sound of an adventurous band that wasn't given credit at the time for its achievements. Much like OMD, TFF suffered in the cool stakes for reasons other than the music - bad hair/incessantly namechecking Arthur Janov's 'The Primal Scream' in the case of TFF and bad dancing/attire in the case of OMD. These days where some new bands seem unable to function without visibly referencing the past it's refreshing to hear music that wasn't afraid of sounding modern and wasn't concerned about some foggy notion of retro authenticity. This issue is rounded off with a goodly number of, somewhat inessential, bonus tracks. I quite like 'The Marauders' though, the tinkly bonk synth sounds and burbling bass bringing to mind a Radiophonic Workshop with some of the kinks ironed out.
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on 28 March 2015
This is how Blu Ray Audio discs should be presented.At last Universal are listening and giving the people who buy high resolution audio a classic album specially created in both stereo and 5.1 surround by the master Steven Wilson and it sounds superb.This is the treatment that `The Hurting' should have had.On the down side it doesn't have any extra tracks or rarities which were included in the Deluxe CD version (why not I ask) but it has informative liner notes about the album and notes from Steven Wilson about the surround mix.It also comes with a coupon allowing you to download a digital version of the album.

So if you have a decent surround system and like this album you will not be disappointed.Get it before they stop making it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 January 2015
A review for the 2014 Super Deluxe Edition...

There are few albums that define a generation. For many of us they form a part of our lives and instantly bring back memories. Good or bad, happy or sad. One such album is Songs From The Big Chair, an album that instantly makes you think of the 80's and everything else that decade was about. There's no denying it's a classic and more than qualifies for special treatment when being reissued or celebrating an anniversary. So what goodies have been extracted from the vaults for us leg warmer mullet wearing denim clad children of the 80's? It's a 30th Anniversary celebration, you know it's gonna be good so let's have a look...

The first eight tracks on cd one are the main album, nicely mastered. This recording has always sounded pretty good but the advances in mastering technology and knowledge have found more stuff buried in that massive mix of sounds with such clarity it's almost like hearing it for the first time again. The rest of disc one rounds up all the single b-sides. TFF almost always gave you a non album song or two on their singles along with a remix which brings us to cd two. There were five singles released from this album. All the relevant mixes are here along with two single only releases from the time period including some single versions that were edited from the extended mixes released on 12" single which brings us to cd three...

Here they are finally collected on one disc, all the extended versions and remixes. There's twelve tracks on this disc, four of them are for "Shout" which of course was the biggest hit but to have all the long mixes of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (including the fan desired "Running" version on cd2) in one place is a big plus. Cd four is an absolute treat for long serving TFF fans containing many previously unreleased live recordings, demo versions, early and alternate mixes and six live performances from a radio only promo release. Three of these live tracks have been sourced from a good vinyl record as the master tapes could not be located. The other three are newly discovered from the vault and have been mixed just for this box set.

Four cd's is usually the end of most deluxe sets but this box has even more to offer. Discs five and six are Dvd's. The first one includes a new 5.1 surround mix of the original album available in the high resolution DVD-Audio format if your system is capable or dts and Dolby Digital for most standard DVD players. The original 1984 stereo mix is also included as a bonus as well as the new 2014 stereo master for those not into surround sound. Personally I love it and this album in 5.1 is a revelation. On the second dvd (dedicated to video) is the vintage tourfilm "Scenes From The Big Chair", an interview with the album's producer Chris Hughes, the promotional videos (all nine of them) and eight TV appearances on the BBC. But wait, there's more. Two booklets, one a very informative track by track guide to the sets contents, the other a reproduction of the album's tour programme. Now that's what I call a Super Deluxe boxset.

So in summing up, four cd's, two dvd's and two booklets all inside a nice box. Lovingly curated by people who care about the way sets like this are compiled. What more could a TFF fan ask/want. Well for those of you with a taste for the future as well as the past the album has also been released in the new Songs From The Big Chair Blu-ray audio format (including the stereo and 5.1 mix) and reissued on Songs From The Big Chair [VINYL], both minus all the bonus content. Whichever format you choose this massive boxset is one of the best value celebrations of an iconic album of the 80's. Buy it now and be taken back to 1984 without leaving home or your big chair.

"Welcome To Your Life, There's No Turning Back..."
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on 17 February 2001
Back in 1985, two years between a first and second album was considered an awful long time, but this second album from TFF was well worth the wait. Taking them into a new, slightly more mature direction than their debut album The Hurting, Songs From The Big Chair became their biggest selling album worldwide, spawning five hit singles, and achieved that much sought-after combination of critical acclaim and commercial appeal. The hits you will probably already know if you were around at the time, such was their popularity that year, but there are other lesser known gems on the album such as The Working Hour and particularly the dramatic final track, Listen, which fuses operatic vocals with piano and swirling synths to end the album with climactic effect. Many years on, the album still retains great appeal, although you cannot help but be pulled back to the mid 1980's when you hear any of it's massively successful hit singles. The only problem I had with the album back then was that it only had eight tracks on it. The remastered version of the CD now contains several extra tracks (mostly B-sides of the singles) that make this much better value for money. Despite it's somewhat pretentious title (clumsily inspired by a film about a woman with multiple personality disorder), this album is certainly the most accessible of their work, tending not to dwell too much on the doom laden, darker aspects of the first album. Despite it's huge commercial appeal, it was still intelligent and thought provoking (as is most TFF material). Although this particular TFF fan doesn't think it's quite the best album in their catalogue, it can be described as nothing less than "brilliant" and should take it's place within every avid music collector's collection. Recommended.
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on 4 May 2016
The original album is a great pop of the 80s Perhaps one of the best. This edition brings thirty years in addition unreleased tracks at the time and also a lot of extra editions, maybe some expendable. It was a very long and repetitive editing. Moreover, in the last track album 2 is completely dispensable a CD: interview. Thus, the issue is more for those who know the band and is a diehard fan. If you are not a fan, buy the original edition. Note 8.0.
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on 23 December 2006
This album had a huge impact on the music scene apon its release in the early part of the 80`s. The 1st single "Shout" was simply an audio assault of the ears with its relentless build up. All the while having you singing along before leaping around playing air guitar. The big single was "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" This is for me imho one of the greatest ever pop songs. Certainly it takes its place alongside The Police "Every Breath You Take". The great thing about this album is how good the songs really are. It was the 2 singles that pulled you in but the rest of the album floored you. Brilliantly crafted songs with intelligent lyrics, catchy melodies, outstanding musicianship, crisp production & lots of little nuances that kept you interested as a listener. Its also worth noting that this album had a big crossover of fans from Rock fans to outright pop fans, everybody rated this album. The tracks speak for themselves & you`ll be hard pressed to come up with a favourite, there all that good. "Shout" "Everybody...." "The Working Hour" "I Believe" "Head Over Heals" "Listen" all outstanding & beyond any doubt some of the finest songs written not just in the 80`s but in any decade. If you are a music fan who believes in real musicians who write & play there own instruments then this album is a must buy. If you want to hear one of the greatest ever albums then this is a must buy. You now also get some bonus tracks as well. My only gripe with the bonus tracks is the excellent "Pharaohs" that was the B side of "Everybody Wants..." is not included here. It is available on TFF Collection also available at Amazon, but it should have been included here. "Marauders" is the one stand out track here from the bonus tracks. An album that in many ways is still unsupassed. No serious record collection should be without it.
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on 28 December 2014
This was purchased as a Xmas gift and my husband was over the moon. He has played it non stop and we have all enjoyed the DVD. I was concerned as I am not an expert on Tears for Fears, and some of the reviews criticised some of the tracks. I have to say my husband finds each and every one of them just excellent.
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