Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tears For Fears -- "Sowing The Seeds of Love" (1989)

What if you had a worldwide smash album and your record company basically handed you a blank check for the follow-up?

Tears for Fears had this opportunity after Songs From The Big Chair, and they spent it, all right. This multi-million bomb of an album that took four years to make was an overindulgent frozen rock that perhaps signaled an end to kitchen-sink productions like The Seeds of Love.

I was hanging out with the guys who worked at Sam Ash on Queens Boulevard when somebody said to check out the new Tears For Fears song. People accuse Oasis of lifting from the Beatles, but Tears for Fears crammed just about every psychedelic Beatles production trick in the book in this one 6 and a half minute song: flanged drums, megaphone vocals, backwards reverb, woodwind section, solo trumpet right out of "Penny Lane," the verses were close cousins to "I Am The Walrus," and screeching strings from that very same song.

Musical history is littered with rip-offs, and I actually like this song, despite the Fab Four lifts. It's still catchy and fun, but it goes on for far too long. It runs out of gas around the time the big organ chords come in at the 3:30 mark. If Tears for Fears lobbed about a minute to 90 seconds off "Sowing The Seeds of Love," they could have made their point and saved themselves thousands of dollars in production.

Somehow you feel that a ridiculous amount of music was left on the cutting room floor for "Sowing The Seeds of Love," but somehow through the magic of editing, they put it altogether for this epic mess. No surprise that the next record was a greatest hits compilation and the band's two members split apart, with Roland Orzabel continuing under the TFF name.

I liked Tears for Fears much better when they were suicidal and depressed on their first two albums. Some bands are meant to be that way.

The video for "Sowing The Seeds of Love" seems like a no-expense-spare effort as well. Once you get past Roland Orzabel's teeth for the first 45 seconds or so, it takes off into a dream-like New Age spaced out reverie that looks like Jim Morrison's peyote trips from Oliver Stone's film "The Doors."


capewood said...

Wow, I thought the song was full of excess, but the video really is over the top. But I've always liked the song as well.

Unknown said...

I am absolutely loving the run of UK artists under the spotlight... agree about Rolands teeth too, before he was a musician, he was actually a racehorse in the UK, he still has a thing for sugarcubes apparently.

I still remember the absence after songs from the big chair and all the rumours about infighting in the studio and eventully Curts departure, hard not to think that the racehorse was trying to make the point that he could manage without his jockey, debatable if he suceeded or not imho...

still think Mad World, Shout and change are brilliant pop tunes

Also never commented on Graham Coxon previously, but summary view is I loved Blur before Think Tank, think Damon Albarn is awesome, but he cant do it all... hoping the reformed Blur will tour New York, and if so, Mr Music Geek... the tickets are on me!!!