[17] Tears For Fears, ‘Woman In Chains’

Tears For Fears and Oleta Adams

Junior empathised with everywoman’s plight, wailing and batting the highchair tray with frustration and torment. Or maybe she was annoyed that I kept leaving the room to mix formula/mash Weetabix. Or perhaps she thought it was a rubbish song.

‘Sowing The Seeds Of Love’ was the first, and most obvious single from the album. Its Beatles pastiche-y effects palled quickly, though. ‘Woman…’ was the genuinely strong track, right-on message and all, and it has the beef and production sheen to sound heavyweight today. Really, it fitted in well at the time, lifting TFF from pop conquerors to serious CD-era quality MOR purveyors. Debatable whether that constitutes “lifting”, of course – the songs were stronger on the previous album, but I don’t think the megalomaniacal Roland Orzabal was happy with the band’s residual teen appeal, nor the joint billing with pretty boy Curt Smith.

He found his preferred foil in Oleta Adams, discovered pumping gas/waiting tables/singing in seedy dives/selling the Big Issue – God, I dunno – somewhere in America. Lovely voice, fine song.

So, this record killed the band. Way to go, Ro-land.

[8] Tears For Fears, ‘Shout’

More mid-’80s pop heavyweights. These two perhaps even outdid their contemporaries for bad hair, what with Curt’s rat’s tail and Roland’s wind-tunnel accident, though this didn’t stop them releasing huge single after huge single. This was one of the biggest, a mantra to fit in with their primal scream philosophy.

They were lucky I bought this. Previous single ‘Mother’s Talk’ had me skipping back to WH Smith twice, when my record player refused to pay the limited edition green vinyl. I had to settle for standard black. I couldn’t even get a picture sleeve for ‘Shout’, so was lowering my sights all round.

It’s a song about facing your demons, so Junior looked suitably fearful for the first few bars. Eventually, she was flinging herself over the edge of the inflatable and laughing. No one took Tears For Fears seriously in the long run.