Album Review: Tears For Fears (re-issue)

Tears for Fears album

Tears For Fears -‘The Hurting.’ (Universal)

December 2003. The expected UK Christmas No.1 is from The Darkness, an eighties-rock influenced band who have been doing massive business for the past six months. Debate has raged about whether they are serious or tongues are firmly in cheek. The single ‘Christmas Time’ is completely over the top, and full of knob gags that are scarcely more subtle than Mrs. Slocombe’s Pussy.

However, in the end, the no.1 record is ‘Mad World.’ Performed by Michael Andrews with vocals by Gary Jules, it’s a cover of a Tears For Fears song that features on the cult movie of the time, Donnie Darko. Despite the Andrews/Jules version have been cited as an example of cover versions that are better than the original, within a very short space of time, everyone is proclaiming the Tears For Fears version better, and a rapid growth of interest in their back catalogue starts. It’s perhaps a bit like a sudden re-writing of history like Winston Smith in 1984 knowing that Oceania is sometimes at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia, and sometimes the other way round, but this seems to have a happy outcome.

Tears For Fears, then -and now- consist of two men, Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal. Taking their name from Dr. Arthur Janov’s psychology work (which also gave Primal Scream their name), the two got together in Bath. It’s perhaps surprising to discover that most of the album was written on an acoustic guitar, when this is widely – and rightly -regarded as a new wave, synth pop classic.

Knocked into shape over the course of many months, the album spawned four hit singles in the aforementioned ‘Mad World,’ ‘Pale Shelter,’ ‘Change’ and ‘Suffer The Children.’ These are all excellent points into the album, but it’s also worth remembering the title track and ‘Ideas As Opiates.’ Yup, the band had produced a concept album, looking at ideas about moving from childhood to adulthood. Yet, this didn’t alienate people at the time. The band were feted by sources as seemingly different as Smash Hits and John Peel; ‘Mad World’ made no.5 in Peel’s Festive 50 in 1982, and they also recorded a session for him. They had, after all, released an excellent album.

Re-issues should offer the buying public something extra and this is a fairly deluxe passage. As well as a concert film (not that us reviewers got this!), there is a disc of edits and remixes and a disc of sessions including the aforementioned Peel one and two they recorded for David ‘Kid’ Jensen. The edits disc is for completists who really feel that they have to have every version – it does get rather grating listening to a handful of the singles over and over again. The sessions disc provides us with insights into how the songs came into being, and it’s always good to see Radio sessions being available commercially rather than having to rely on illicit mp3s uploaded from ancient cassettes.

So a full package, but one that shows this as being a ‘new pop’ classic that holds up well, thirty years since its original release.


The Hurting is reissued by Universal on October 21.

Forthcoming from Tears For Fears

Tears for Fears -

Amongst the many emails to arrive in the 17 Seconds inbox (which I would describe as resembling a warzone, were that metaphor possibly singularly inappropriate at the moment) was this: a press release concerning the thirtieth anniversary of Tears For Fears’ debut album, The Hurting, due out on October 21.

Now there’s no doubt that a certain cult film about ten years ago did much to raise the band’s profile – but some of us still loved the band from of old.

This was the album that gave us such awesome tracks as these…

The full tracklisting over the 3 CDs and DVD is as follows:


The Original Album

The Hurting
Mad World
Pale Shelter
Ideas As Opiates
Memories Fade
Suffer The Children
Watch Me Bleed
The Prisoner
Start Of The Breakdown


Singles, B-Sides, Mixes & Rarities

Suffer The Children (original 7″)
Pale Shelter (original 7″)
The Prisoner (original version)
Ideas As Opiates
Change (new version)
Suffer The Children (remix)
Pale Shelter (original 12″)
Mad World (world remix)
Change (extended version)
Pale Shelter (reissue 12″)
Suffer The Children (instrumental)
Change (7″ edit)
Wino (B-side)
The Conflict (B-side)
We Are Broken (B-side)
Suffer The Children (promo CD)


The BBC Sessions

Ideas As Opiates (Peel Session)
Suffer The Children (Peel Session)
The Prisoner (Peel Session)
The Hurting (Peel Session)
Memories Fade (Jensen Session)
The Prisoner (Jensen Session)
The Start Of The Breakdown (Jensen Session)
The Hurting (Jensen Session)
Start Of The Breakdown (Live)
Change (Jensen Session)


‘In My Mind’s Eye’ – Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1984.

Start Of The Breakdown
Mothers Talk
Pale Shelter
The Working Hour
The Prisoner
Ideas As Opiates
Mad World
We Are Broken
Head Over Heels
Suffer The Children
The Hurting
Memories Fade

Sugarcubes re-post

I received feedback from an American reader today asking me if I could re-post the Sugarcubes tracks I had posted a few weeks ago, so here they are, bjork and her merry men (and woman):

Sugarcubes -‘Birthday.’ mp3 [the original version, 1987’s Festive Fifty no.1)

The remixes from 1988, with the aid of Jim and William Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain:

Sugarcubes -‘Birthday (Christmas Eve).’ mp3

Sugarcubes -‘Birthday (Christmas Day).’ mp3

Sugarcubes -‘Birthday (christmas present).’ mp3

Sugarcubes -‘Petrol (live).’ mp3

And a few extras:

First up, the original Icelandic version of ‘Birthday.’

Sugarcubes -‘Birthday (Icelandic).’ mp3

A track, originally the b-side to the UK single of Birthday:

Sugarcubes -‘Cat.’ mp3

And finally, as Jeremy had politely asked for it, the 1982 Festive Fifty no.5:

Tears For Fears -‘Mad World.’ mp3 (Mrs. 17 Seconds says she prefers this to the Gary Jules version, and I think she’s right).

As for other people who’ve emailed asking for reposts, please hold on, I’ll try and get there ASAP.

In other news, I interviewed Foxface today, so will try and post that here soon.

Peel Slowly and see

Ah the legendary Mr. Peel. Famous quotes (many more of which can be found here
Peel’s compering debut on TOTP: “In case you’re wondering who this funny old bloke is, I’m the one who comes on Radio 1 late at night and plays records made by sulky Belgian art students in basements dying of TB.”

And of course, his comment about Aretha Franklin’s duet with George Michael ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’:”You know, Aretha Franklin can make any old rubbish sound good, and I think she just has.”

First up, from one of the greatest travelling albums of all time, Big Science, Laurie Anderson’s deeply spooky ‘O superman’
Laurie Anderson -‘O Superman.’ mp3 (1981 Festive Fifty no.34)

The Wedding Present had 47 entries in the various Festive Fifties between 1986 and 2004, including two entries in the millennium Festive Fifty as well as doing nine sessions. David Gedge’s other band, Cinerama had 13 entries in the Festive Fifty, and did ten Peel sessions. (When I have more time on my hands I will work out who did best out of David Gedge, Morrissey and Mark E. Smith)

Cinerama -‘King’s Cross.’ mp3 (1999 Festive Fifty no.18)

Throughout 2004, it was clear that Bloc Party were very definitely gathering pace, and they had three entries in the final ever Festive Fifty, including this:

Bloc Party -‘Little Thoughts.’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty no.44)

The stranglers were accused of being bandwagon jumpers during punk, Johnny Rotten labelling them short-haired hippies, but they did have some fantastic songs. Best of all was this:
The Stranglers -No More Heroes (1978 Festive Fifty no.33, 1979 Festive Fifty no.45, 1980 Festive Fifty no.58)

My all-time favourite single by The Jam:

The Jam-‘Strange Town.’ mp3 (1979 Festive Fifty no.27)

And a handful you might be a little surprised to see made the Festive Fifty. After all, weren’t they a little, y’know, poppy? What the hell, I think they’re great tracks and so did many of his listeners, evidently:

It’s easy to heap scorn on Gary Numan/Tubeway army, due to his sheer …what?, but he is slowly becoming critically rehabilitated over the advancing years, and this is a stellar track.

Tubeway Army – ‘Are Friends Electric?’ mp3 (1979 Festive Fifty no.39)

According to the website, Depeche Mode never did any sessions for Peel, nor had any entries in the Festive Fifty (nor did Erasure,, for that matter), but Vince Clark did score with two of his other, less-long lasting projects. The first ended up being a one-off, featuring none other than Fergal Sharkey on vocals (the Undertones had split up a few months previously)

Assembly -‘Never Never.’ mp3 (1983 Festive Fifty no.23)

…then the two albums only project that was Vince and none other than Alison Moyet.

Yazoo -‘Don’t Go.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.60)

Is this a guilty pleasure? Oh, whatever. I’m not the only one.

Blancmange -‘Living On The Ceiling.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.34)

This was the only entry Tears For Fears had, in those hallowed days of ‘new pop.’ It is a fantastic tune, and seems to have actually dated quite well, IMHO.

Tears For Fears -‘Mad World.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.5)

This is my 35th post this month, or something BTW. Hope you are enjoying them. Please leave feedback, I don’t bite!