steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Tears For Fears

"Everybody Loves A Happy Ending" CD

New Door / Universal

Genres: pop, rock

band website

Dec 6 - 12 2004

Of course, you'll recognize Tears For Fears for their 80s hits "Shout" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - but are you aware that recently they've been hard at work recording Everybody Loves A Happy Ending?  Their first release in nine years, this is the latest entry in the band's legendary but equally inconsistent discography.  And while they eschew their trademark eighties sound, the band still has an eye for quality pop music, adopting some modern trends but applying them to the band's own, distinct sound.

On Everybody Loves A Happy Ending, we see a band obsessed with elaborate, epic-sounding arrangements that really take the songwriting to an elevated level.  The title-track is a fine example - it sounds like it belongs in a rock musical.  It comes complete with Beatles-esque vocal harmonies and jumpy rhythms, as well as copious numbers of instruments - among them multiple guitars, organ and brass.  The climactic ending sounds like it's the beginning of a giant production - such is desired effect, one would assume, given the theatre curtains on the album's cover.

The rest of the album finds itself in the same vein, taking different approaches to the band's signature pop, but retaining a definite sense of grandeur.  "Closest Thing To Heaven" is like a modernized Simple Minds or Duran Duran track, while the minor modern rock hit "Call Me Mellow" sounds largely influenced by The La's' "There She Goes."  The Beatles influence continues on the dark and surprisingly complex "Who Killed Tangerine?," while "Ladybird" is the type of sweet, lovely pop tune that few bands can make successful.

I hope many listeners will disregard their prejudices about "comeback bands," because this album is far from a money-grab.  Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is a surprisingly unique and inventive release, and it is certainly a new concept for Tears For Fears.  I can't see anyone disliking pop music as lovely and accessible as this; if you've got a bit of cash lying around, run out and buy this album as soon as you get the chance.


Fun Fact: Surprisingly, Tears For Fears peaked at a respectable 46 on the Billboard 200.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by Universal, released 2004]