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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Roland Orzabal has Iberian ancestors - and a son called Raoul? - so one wonders whether this might explain the strong Spanish references that recur throughout this CD. Not only are they present in the sleevenotes and some of the song titles, but one wonders if the anti-clerical feel to `Secrets', `God's Mistake', and `Don't Drink the Water' are also vestiges of this Spanish romantic tragedy. And do we see shades of the dark drawings of Goya in the song `Sketches of Pain', with its Spanish instrumentation and raucous sounds of bullfights?

This album is very much rock-orientated; sometimes the rock bears a very hard edge (as in the title track and in `Sorry'). Jangly guitars can be heard in `God's Mistake' and a more pop-influenced feel pervades `Humdrum & Humble'. But there are three ballads too: `Secrets' even reminded me of those rock ballads of the 1970s, and the soothing voice of Oleta Adams returns in `Me & My Big Ideas'. Orzabal sings in the ballad `I Choose You' that it is "Not my intention to amuse or confuse", and indeed many of the lyrics are full of (the usual) bitter anger and frustration. The accusatory tone, though, is finally assuaged at the end by the apology and redemption offered by Orzabal in the penultimate track, `Me & My Big Ideas'. And peace finally arrives - the "ghosts all gone" - in the final track reprising `Los Reyes Catolicos'.

Overall the sound is less slick than earlier albums. There is also less production, which now feels more traditional and therefore less brilliant than before: is this "Colour for the colour-blind", as Orzabal sings in `Humdrum & Humble'? Listening to this album a few days after those of Tears for Fears that came before, I sensed occasional riffs from some of Orzabal's seminal tracks from the past, but somehow I could not quite put my finger on them. What I would say, though, is that, playing the CD now in 2012, it does not sound as good as it first did when purchased and listened to back in 1995.
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on 15 March 2014
This is a wonderful album. IMHO up there with the first three TFF albums. My personal favourite (though they are all great songs) is "Me and My Big Ideas". Roland Orzabal is a genius. Highly recommend "Raoul And The Kings Of Spain".
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on 9 May 2006
I have always admired the work of Tears for Fears, especially the excellent 1989 "Seeds of love" album and Roland Orzabel always struck me as a genius in pop terms. I first came across this album in Q or MOJO magazine back in the autumn of '95 and remarked what a ridiculous title it had and subconsciously decided to avoid it as tosh. Thanks to curiosity and the positive reviews of the kind folk at amazon.co.uk, I was acquainted with the album when the title exploded into my head at work for some reason.

The opening strumming of the title track assured me that this was a grower, a well structured riff bursting with instruments and clear production. "Falling Down" the second track is a grower based around a languid guitar riff and the third track "secrets" is a jaw dropping classic(I kid you not!) an excellent melody, tasteful key changes and a soaring classical strings section, this is the sort of song that pop idols should be covering." God's Mistake" is AOR with a catchy riff and infectious chorus and the beautiful "secrets of pain" is a Peter Gabriel world music type track which bursts into a flamenco guitar/castanets interlude befitting the album's Iberian theme.

The album is like a sumptuous feast for the ears like a concept album in some ways although songs are very strong individually. Some of the later tracks are banal 80s rockish type things but they do sort of grow on you. Orzabel is assisted in this project by excellent sessionersincluding Gail-Ann Dorsey of David Bowie's band on bass. Unfortunately Curt whatsisface is nowhere to be seen.

In short an epic, melodious well produced album which grows on you at different rates. I don't remember that it ever shifted that many copies but if there was justice in the world then this album would have a much higher profile. On the plus front, the lucky few that have it have discovered a rare gem indeed! Long live the King (and Raoul for that matter1)
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on 10 October 2007
I have had this cd since '95, and have played it through the years since, and I must honestly say that I am never bored of it, there are no fillers on this one!, the whole cd is just so well written and is a musical treat. Each song is different and I don't want to name just one because they are all good. It's now 12 years on since it first came out but I still love it and would not lend it to anyone but my closest mates, that's how much I rate it. I'm no music critic just a good music lover, please try it, and get 'Elemental' too, another great record!.
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on 17 August 2011
I couldn't find this in any record shop when it was released, now in this on-line age it's just click on Amazon...

And it's really very good, almost 5*, maybe with Curt's vocals to give a bit of variety it would have been. Better than either their previous *1 or succeeding *2 albums. 19 tracks including decent "Bonus tracks" is good value, most are good so it's hard to pick favourites. TFF does hip-hop sounds implausible but "Humdrum and Humble" is quite fun. I've seen the "Hostal dos Reis Católicos" many times but not yet afforded to stay there.

*1 "Elemental". The single "Break it down again" and Beatles parody "Cold" were great, the rest of the album was ok but they used to do B-sides that good.

*2 "Everybody loves a happy ending". Succintly described by a friend as "pleasantly innocuous" - good to see Curt back, and all very nice, but mostly instantly forgettable, only "Who killed Tangerine?" with its Beatle-esque chorus is at all memorable.
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on 18 April 2001
I`ve had this CD since it came out in 95 and it remains on my playlist,I never get bored of listening to it,Humdrum and Humble,God`s Mistake,Secrets are all classic songs,and with Oleta Adams singing on Me And My Big Ideas it just makes this nearly perfect.
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VINE VOICEon 9 August 2007
I thoroughly enjoy listening to this album, there is a wide variety of music and styles all on one CD. It really grows on you the more you listen to it.
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on 31 October 2008
Was a big fan of Tears for Fears back in the 80's and 90's but missed this album as I was into american house music in a big way.
Now as my musical tastes have matured, I dont listen to what I heard on the the last Saturday night out, I am coming back to the bands I loved then. Street Fighting Years by Simple Minds being a prime example.
The amazon reviews have helped with my purchase.
This album is fantastic, the song writing and, as the other reviewers have stated, the more you listen then more you are drawn in. It has a real depth to it and the productiion and arrnagements are very tight.
The first three songs are superb, love Falling Down and Secrets. The album then takes a different tact, with a few low key numbers again great to drive to or chill with, espcially with a couple of toddlers in the car.
Oletta Adams makes a welcome return for a very emotional song.
I cannot recommend this album enough, if you were a fan back then and missed it, it does stand the test of time and if released today would sell very well.
Wonder how many more hidden gems are out there I missed, thanks Amazon reviewers!
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on 5 March 2010
This album is seminal for TFF, and illustrates that Orzabal is the real creative agent behind the band. It's an unusual theme, but is done so well that it is the favourite of all my TFF albums. I get the sense from the album that Orzabal at last had full creative licence in the writing of the album, and his voice is superb, having developed to be strong and independent in its own right from the voice of Curt Smith. My favourite track on the album is Me and My Big Ideas, which is truly beautiful. The album is slightly more rock than TFF fare from the 80s, but shows what Orzabal is capable of and how he was constrained by Smith's more pop style. I like the hard edge this album has in places, such as 'Sorry', and has softer, contemplative moments such as 'Secrets' and 'Sketches of Pain', and even more traditional TFF tunes such as 'Humdrum and Humble' and 'Don't Drink the Water'. I discovered the album by accident, but it is surely an indication of how Orzabal never needed Smith anyway.
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on 17 July 2010
When I mentioned "Tears for Fears" later work to people, (anything after "Seeds of Love"), most people have had no idea that TFF has had not three albums, but six, (seven if you count Roland Orzabal's solo album). "Raoul..." is TFF's fifth album, and like their fourth album, "Elemental", it is excellent and lives up to, and in some ways, surpasses their first three albums. "Songs from the Big Chair" and "Seeds of Love", if they have any weaknesses, are arguably over-produced. "Raoul.." has a lot more guitarwork, and is more raw than any other TFF album. This is more of a rock album than a pop album. There are no weak tracks on the original albums. Most of the B-sides added to this rerelease, (tracks 13-19), are worth a listen but it is obvious to the listener why they were left off the original album, so leave them off your Ipod. It is a true shame that this album was not a hit.
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