Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal | Tears For Fears - The Tipping Point | photo by: Frank Ockenfels
Music - album

Orzabal and Smith reach tipping point

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are back. 17 years after their last album, the two Brits return to remind us all why they were once considered some of the most influential artists on the music stage. With their seventh studio album, Tears For Fears serve us an intellectual and worldly lecture about life’s ups and downs and how talking about mental health issues can help heal deep wounds.

There, gone and back again

They were suddenly there with a big bang. The year was 1983 and a magical duo had just published their first album ‘The Hurting‘. On its second week out it reached no. 1 on the British charts with several top-10 song entries, selling Gold in just three weeks.

Two years later an even louder supernova struck the charts as the duo released their second installment, ‘Songs from the Big Chair‘, selling more than 10 million units, cementing two young and rather insecure artists a place in eternal fame.

Then things began to go south, and a year after their third album ‘The Seeds of Love‘ the duo split, leaving fans across the world in tears… Tears For Fears!

The two childhood friends, Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal, had grown apart – or at least very tired – and suddenly the elegantly layered lyrics stopped and a strong advocacy for putting mental health issues, abuse, domestic violence, and other dark sides of life on the agenda went quiet.

The duo’s third installment, however, still echo around the world to this day, and no true fan of popular music will ever dismiss the significance of, for example, ‘Woman In Chains‘, perhaps one of the most important songs at the time, declaring a culture ruled by possessive men hopelessly obsolete and socially unacceptable.

Despite Orzabals honorable attempt to keep the name, Tears For Fears, alive for a couple of albums – ‘Elemental‘ and ‘Raoul and the Kings of Spain‘ respectively – the massive hysteria around the two psychology-savvy Brits slowly evaporated.

Time to eat all your words
Swallow your pride
Open your eyes

Tears For Fears – ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love

Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

After 10 years of “not talking” Roland and Curt one day found themselves talking on the phone again – Roland in the UK and Curt in his new home in Los Angeles, USA. The two decided to pick up the thread and stay in touch, and after a dinner with a couple of friends, they decided to try to write music together – in the same room – ironically a thing they’d never really done before.

The result became the arguably best Tears For Fears album to date, ‘Everybody Loves a Happy Ending‘, and was exactly what it was. Written with acoustic guitars and a real piano (no synths or keyboards) and praised with scores of positive reviews, lots of airplay, and tsunamis of ecstatic fans – old and new – the album became exactly that grand finale the immaculate duo had aimed for and dreamt of…

… although it wasn’t really ‘the finale’ at all. Thank God!

Reaching a new tipping point in life

Each stage of life has its share of ups and downs. Some pass quickly, while others stay with you for life. What started out as a Primal Scream (the title of the psychology book that inspired Roland and Curt to form the band and to write the song Shout‘) in the early ’80s became a long mourn for Roland Orzabal in 2017 when his lost his wife and childhood soulmate, Caroline.

In several interviews he explains how his life suddenly spiraled out of control, sending him down the same path of alcoholism and self-destruction that had claimed the life of his wife.

At some point Orzabal manages to pull himself into rehab, and as he recovered he called Smith to tell him what was going on. Together they began putting the widower’s sorrow and feeling of loss into words and music, and with their experience writing songs with subliminal psychological themes woven in the two pulls the impossible.

25 February 2022 Tears For Fears released their seventh studio album – in our opinion their best so far.

Full of essential tipping points, both in the making and in the lives of the duo, the album simply carries the title ‘The Tipping Point‘. It covers everything from songs about Caroline and of losing loved ones, for example the title track ‘The Tipping Point‘ and the immensely heartbreaking ‘Please Be Happy‘, to freeing yourself from patriarchy in ‘Break the Man‘. According to Smith, a song about gender equality as well as a direct encouragement to his own daughter, to stand up to men who think less of women.

The album holds 10 incredibly strong songs for fans to dive into, and offers the listener hours of reflection into life’s peculiar odds and ends. It is in no way hard to relate to the feeling of not being good enough, described by Orzabal in ‘My Demons‘, the aching love in ‘Stay‘, or the revival of that ‘Primal Scream’, this time of freedom, in ‘No Small Thing‘.

Tears For Fears reached several tipping points during their 40-year career. Let’s hope they keep on reaching new ones, bedazzling us all with deep and meaningful songs that can make us stop and reflect. God knows, the world needs it!

The Tipping Point‘ is the best album Orzabal and Smith have made so far!

Raise your hand, bite your tongue
Conversation is over and done
We let ’em out, we let ’em in
We’ll let ’em know when it’s the tipping point

Tears For Fears – ‘The Tipping Point’

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