Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith's legacy within the 1980s is arguably incomparable - their debut, 'The Hurting', released in the early rungs of the decade, was a violently passionate scrapbook of adolescent angst and unanswered questions. By 1985 the duo had restocked their ammo, ready to fire in a different direction - 'Songs From The Big Chair' was, arguably, less angry and perhaps less conceptual than its predecessor, though no less philosophical. They had adopted a more 'user-friendly' sound, and in return received worldwide acclaim and the plaudits they rightly deserved.
By the time the now gargantuan fanbase had waited for a follow-up to 'Big Chair', Smith and Orzabal had swerved in yet another direction. Having waited four long years for the third LP, the public was finally treated to 'The Seeds of Love', an album which reputedly broke several banks in one fell swoop. The album would also be the duo's last creation together until their surprise reunion in 2003.
'The Seeds of Love' is grandiose. If it were any grander, it'd be a theatrical production. The new direction TFF chose to point in was more luxurious, more orchestral, perhaps more poignant, than previous works. This is not, however, the type of album you listen to and immediately enjoy - as my own experience has led me to believe. Each song, from the jazz-fuelled venom of 'Badman's Song', to the solemn yearning of 'Woman in Chains' and 'Famous Last Words', and to the air-guitar-inspiring 'Year of the Knife', is so deep, and so thick with layers of instrumental experimentation and words of philosophy, of vengeance, and of sadness, that immediate enjoyment is virtually impossible - this is the sort of album that will grow on you the more you give it time to work its soul.
The most commercial song by far is the successful single 'Sowing the Seeds of Love', a dynamic Beatles pastiche with what I believe to be Roland at the vocal peak of his career. Though it is hard to compare three songs by TFF, one form each of their 80s albums, next to each other ('Mad World' against 'Shout' and 'Sowing The Seeds' for example), it is perfect evidence that the band were, and still are, an outfit which grows a little with each album. It's hard to say whether this tops 'Big Chair', 'Hurting', 'Elemental', 'Everybody Loves a Happy Ending' or to a lesser extent 'Raoul and the Kings of Spain', but I'll be damned if it's not in the running.
If you've listened to and enjoyed ANY of Tears For Fears' other albums, particularly 'Happy Ending', there's no doubt in my mind that this is a very wise purchase. However, be prepared for your love for this album to grow gradually rather than be instantly immediate.
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