Tears for Fears more than "Elemental"
Aug. 23, 1996
They used to "rule the world," and now with a new album, Tears for Fears will try to regain control — of the charts at least.
The new Tears for Fears release, "Saturnine Martial & Lunatic," combines the band's older socially-aware hits with a more innovative musical style.
The album is more than a mere compilation of old hits that have been remixed. Nor is it only a mixture of typical b-sides and previously unreleased songs, by the band whose style was extremely popular during the mid to late 1980s.
The Tears for Fears CD instead challenges the band's typical musical style. The first track on the album, "Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams," is the band's b-side for the popular song "Advice for the Young at Heart," which was originally released on the "Seeds of Love" album.
The track actually features most of the original song's lyrics in a radical form for the band. The lyrics are sung as a rap and are "combined with a Talking Heads style chorus sung over the chord structure" of another one of the band's popular hits, according to the band's notes.
The first track is like most of the songs on the 18-track album in that it is powerful music with just a dash of techno skillfully added.
But even the first track is superseded by Tears for Fears' "Lord of Karma," the 12th track on the album.
The song, which is the b-side of the band's "Laid So Low," is an upbeat piece with a great deal of sophistication. The song is multi-layered, and is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic," according to the liner notes.
The song's lyrics aren't terribly impressive at first listen, though one could say they are as entertaining and thematically similar to the band's previous work.
Other songs on the album are quite impressive, although the 18 tracks do become monotonous with time.
After a while of playing the album, anyone would become fed up with drum machines, and this Tears for Fears album certainly uses drumloops far too often. However, the band does seem to make apologies for the drumloops, which were used in b-sides during the 1980s.
Sometimes, too, Tears for Fears seems to be mimicking the style of other bands. For example, the track "Schrodinger's Cat" is reminiscent of recent Boingo, and many songs seem to exude the Talking Heads musical style.
Still, the album is promising. It's a very innovative album from a band whose last album, "Elemental," was a disappointment to many fans.
And the album does capitalize on former hits to a large degree, helping to "sow the seeds" of success.