Songs From the Big Chair.
I adore this album. It ranks very, very high on my Top Ten Albums of All-Time list, and today I have the distinct pleasure of celebrating it’s 30th “Birthday”…which is quite frankly impossible considering I am only in my twenties. How’d that happen?!?
I’ll go down the line, song by song with my thoughts, including the video as possible.
I can’t think of a better opener. This album was created back in the day when full albums mattered, and this song does a great job of grabbing you by the ears and pulling you under for more. Even better? Singing it with the band live. I’m sure diehard fans are sick to death of this one, but for the rest of us, it’s an anthem for the ages.
The working hour:
When I’m feeling pensive, this is the song I go for. Opening with a beautiful sax melody, it feels dreamy and relaxes me away from the day. By the time the main melody begins, I’m already completely drawn in. At 6:32 in length, this is not a radio length song, but aren’t those the best kind?
Everybody wants to rule the world:
A tough song for me to listen to any day of the week, but an important one. My father lived and died by this song, quite literally. The melody took him down many a road in our motor home during our summer vacations, and the words…well, I’m not entirely sure he ever listened to the words (nor did he EVER get the name of the band right), but the lines “nothing ever lasts forever” or “there’s a room where the light won’t find you, holding hands while the walls come tumbling down, when they do I’ll be right behind you” mean a lot more to me now than they ever did back in the 80’s. Granted, the song has far more to do with being consumed by power than my dad or I ever considered, but the upbeat tempo and bright melody continued to send him on his way until the day he passed.
This song demonstrates how well sampling can be used on a record without losing its own identity. I like the underlying pulse of power that is felt throughout the song, as though underneath it all – there’s this constant energy that just does not let up.
Some may say that they’re not lovers of the ballad, and in many cases I would agree, but on this album – by the time we get to I Believe, I’m ready for a breather. This album is so intense on so many levels, I really appreciate I Believe. I love the piano backed by the sax and drums, it’s very beautiful.
From the downbeat, you know you’ve had your rest and it’s time to get into the frenzy again. Broken has a fantastic, frenetic sort of energy to it, barely bridled…the song is like deconstructed Head Over Heels, but obviously serves as a segue to that song.
HEad over heels:
The lyrics to this song remind me so much of what the dating scene was like – admiring from afar…and then something goes a little wacko at the end (much like dating!). Someone needs someone else just a little too much. Truthfully the song served me a good many times over the years. I can remember singing loud, singing proud more than once on a late night drive home from where ever I might have been.
Hands down, I think that Tears For Fears wins for picking the best opener and closers for their albums. Listen is an incredible song to close the album…definitely introspective rather than loud and brash, it draws you in. To listen. With only four real lines of lyric along with plenty of background, it leaves you thinking.
Songs From the Big Chair is an album that has stood the test of time, and in many ways, is one that I learned to appreciate more and more as I grew. It was not an album I fell hard and fast for, instead – it was one that I sat with for many years. I find that I love it more now than ever.