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Elemental
Elemental
Price: £6.74

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ROLAND ORZABAL'S FIRST SOLO ALBUM, 1 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Elemental (Audio CD)
This is the fourth Tears For Fears album, and the first without Curt Smith. In fact, this is Roland Orzabal's first solo album, but for some reason, he decided to keep the name Tears For Fears on release (most likely for marketing reasons).
'Elemental' is the type of album that grows on you after a few listening, and as a package all the songs hold pretty well together, but don't expect anything like the first three albums. A departure from the 'live' feel of 'Sowing the Seeds of Love', Roland returns to drum machines and programming, this time with lyrics that are somewhat obscure in parts and have a 'poetic' quality to them. There are some nice melodies in there but certainly nothing strong enough for commercial radio, which is not necessarily a bad thing since it has given Roland the freedom to experiment more freely without feeling constraint with writing a 'hit'. Having said that, 'Break it Down Again' was a popular tune on alternative radio stations when it first came out, and is more typical of what Tears For Fears purists would expect.
Finally, for fans, listening to 'Fish Out of Water' is somewhat disheartening, since 'Fish' is a reference to Curt Smith, and the whole song is nothing more than a backstabbing session on the former band member. For the record, Curt Smith took his revenge with a song titled 'Words' in his first solo album 'Soul on Board', a personal attack on Roland Orzabal about his delusion of grandeur and philosophical superiority. Good to hear that they've now got back together for a new album 'Everybody Loves a Happy Ending' due in April 2004.


Shout: The Very Best Of Tears For Fears
Shout: The Very Best Of Tears For Fears
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.26

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE COMPLETE SINGLES COLLECTION, 1 Mar. 2004
This American compilation (not available in the UK or anywhere else other than as an import product) is the most complete singles collection on one CD. Unlike "Tears for Fears - Tears Roll Down - Greatest Hits", it also features songs which cannot be found on the duo's first three albums 'The Hurting', 'Songs from the Big Chair' and 'Sowing the Seeds of Love'.
The track listing is almost chronological to the singles released back in the eighties and nineties, and therefore gives the listener a chance to experience the way Tears For Fears changed its sound with the passing of time.
It is worth noting that this compilation is the only one that includes tracks from Tears For Fears 'Elemental' album -- 'Break it Down Again' and 'Goodnight Song'. 'Elemental' is in fact a solo album by singer/songwriter Roland Orzabal released after the duo 'split' in the early 90's. There are no tracks here from 'Raoul and the Kings of Spain', Tears For Fears's last album, and another solo project by Roland Orzabal. For the record, there is a new album (not another compilation, but a collection of new songs) due for release in April 2004 titled 'Everybody Loves a Happy Ending', featuring the original duo line up of Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal.
If you're looking for a solid collection than spans around fifteen years, then 'Shout: The Very Best of Tears for Fears' is the one to get.


The Seeds Of Love
The Seeds Of Love
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £5.60

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING TURNING POINT, 1 Mar. 2004
This review is from: The Seeds Of Love (Audio CD)
This is the third album from 80's duo Tears For Fears, and it has a very 'live' feel to it compared to the first two albums, 'The Hurting' and 'Songs from the Big Chair'. This album is much more 'mature' than the first two, both in composition and sound, but not necessarily superior because of that -- it's just different.
Whilst Tears For Fears was finding its footing with 'The Hurting' and discovering computer programming and drum looping with 'Songs from the Big Chair', this album is much more influenced by jazz compositions and cabaret performances, especially the tracks featuring Oleta Adams, who gives a whole new layer to the Tears For Fears sound. Oleta Adams was 'discovered' by Tears For Fears in a cabaret in New Orleans during the 'Songs from the Big Chair' tour, and her voice and attitude on stage mesmerized Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal so much so that she became a major influence on this album.
In terms of content, 'Sowing the Seeds of Love' is much more 'positive' than the first two albums, especially with the title track and 'Advice for the Young at Heart'. 'Woman in Chains' stands out in terms of simplicity and yet somewhat powerful, emotional and heart-wrenching track (sang as a duet with Oleta Adams and Roland Orzabal).
The additional tracks on this album are somewhat of a mismatch, but worth the listening, especially 'Johnny Panic and the Bibles of Dream', whose title is lifted from a Silvia Plath book of the same name. The verse of this song is taken straight from the 'Seeds of Love' and sang in 'rap' style over a typical Tears For Fears melodic riff and drumloop.
Finally the re-mastering on this album is nothing short of amazing, thanks to Chris Hughes, who was the producer of 'Songs from the Big Chair', and who has taken a lot of care into making this re-release a true gem for fans of Tears For Fears and music lovers everywhere.


Songs From The Big Chair
Songs From The Big Chair
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £13.13

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC ALBUM WITH FANTASTIC RE-MASTERING & EXTRA TRACKS, 1 Mar. 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.


Tears Roll Down [Greatest Hits 82-92]
Tears Roll Down [Greatest Hits 82-92]
Price: £4.92

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOLID COLLECTION SPANNING A DECADE, 1 Mar. 2004
This is a solid collection of Tears For Fears from 1982-1992, and basically includes all the singles released from that era. The chronological order of the songs is somewhat odd since it keeps jumping from tracks from the 'Sowing the Seeds of Love' album to 'Songs from the Big Chair' and 'The Hurting'. There is also a non-album track, 'Laid So Low', which was released as a single after the 'Sowing the Seeds of Love' album and before the 'Elemental' album.
Finally, the USA compilation 'Shout: The Very Best of Tears for Fears' features all these songs, plus additional tracks from 'Elemental' all in chronological order, making it a more complete and attractive collection of singles if budget is not an issue. However, this is still a fine collection and a good introduction to the music of Tears For Fears.


"Tears for Fears"
"Tears for Fears"
by Philip Kamin
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Pictures -- Little Information, 31 Dec. 2003
This review is from: "Tears for Fears" (Paperback)
This is really a picture book with sketchy information on the band. It doesn't reveal much in terms of background and so on, certainly not more than what you could find from old music magazines. The book does feature two so-called 'biography' of Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal. Too bad that a full-size picture of Curt Smith can be found in the Roland Orzabal biography and the caption even tells us that Curt is 'Roland'!! A little care would have been welcome, especially when publishing a book for fans. There is a 17" x 22" full-colour poster in the middle. This books is published in the USA, so it might be hard to find in the UK or anywhere else.


"Tears for Fears": Tales from the Big Chair
"Tears for Fears": Tales from the Big Chair
by Will Hall
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Biography on Tears For Fears, 31 Dec. 2003
This 64-page book is a very comprehensive biography on Tears For Fears during the mid-80's. The book looks into their roots, families, inspirations and music. It covers Roland's and Curt's beginning as the band 'The Graduates' and a excellent discography, which includes not only albums, but also 7" and 12" released. There are plenty of rare photographs, both staged, live and from album sleeves. There's even a detailed account of a dispute with Bob Geldof during Band Aid in which Tears For Fears pulled out at the last minute because the band felt it had been 'forced' into playing instead of been asked. Great book for fans.


"Tears for Fears"
"Tears for Fears"
by Jo-Ann Greene
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Background on Tears for Fears, 31 Dec. 2003
This review is from: "Tears for Fears" (Paperback)
This is a pretty comprehensive biography of Tears For Fears, complete with black-and-white and colour promo and live photographs. It begins with an introduction of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith and how they met at high school in Bath and have been together since then (the book published in 1985 only covers the band up to the release of the Album 'Songs from the Big Chair'). It even mentions Roland and Curt's former band 'The Graduates', which had a hit in Spain with a song called 'Elvis Should Play Ska' and five singles released.
On the downside, shame that on page 1, Orzabal's name is misspelled 'Orzabel'. Also, the photos do not have captions. The book includes a discography on the last page, but it's far from complete, given all the different a various mixes that came out from this group in a variety of packages, including picture dics, coloured vinyls and so on. The single 'I Believe' is not there with a unique 'Shout' remix that can be found on the b-side.
Overall, it does offer a solid background on the group's foundation and history right up to 1985. At only 48 pages, it's strictly for fans because of the high price.


The Last Life
The Last Life
by Claire Messud
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND BELIEVABLE TALE, 19 Oct. 2003
This review is from: The Last Life (Paperback)
'The Last Life' is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Sagesse, a cynical character whose family struggles to find its place in the world -- they are repatriated French Algerians, who try too hard to given themselves an identity.
Claire Messud writes beautifully about displacement and the need to belong somewhere in society -- she knows what it's like to be someone unwanted, and she succeeds wonderfully at capturing the essence of the rising madness that one can suffer when the demons of the past are constantly knocking on the door. Claire sends us on a fascinating and colorful voyage to war-torn Algeria, the South of France and New England. There are many passages that read like postcards, and others that are movingly disturbing.
If you like beautiful prose with a strong and true protagonist's voice, then 'The Last Life' should be on your must-read list. It is a book that will stir you for a long time after you've finished reading it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


The Last Life
The Last Life
by Claire Messud
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SENSITIVELY AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, 19 Oct. 2003
This review is from: The Last Life (Hardcover)
'The Last Life' is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Sagesse, a cynical character whose family struggles to find its place in the world -- they are repatriated French Algerians, who try too hard to given themselves an identity.
Claire Messud writes beautifully about displacement and the need to belong somewhere in society -- she knows what it's like to be someone unwanted, and she succeeds wonderfully at capturing the essence of the rising madness that one can suffer when the demons of the past are constantly knocking on the door. Claire sends us on a fascinating and colorful voyage to war-torn Algeria, the South of France and New England. There are many passages that read like postcards, and others that are movingly disturbing.
If you like beautiful prose with a strong and true protagonist's voice, then 'The Last Life' should be on your must-read list. It is a book that will stir you for a long time after you've finished reading it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


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