Music and British Identity: Tears for Fears


Primary members: Roland Orzabal, Curt Smith; Manny Elias, Ian Stanley
Band Biography
Albums of focus: The Hurting (1983) and Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
Songs for study:

The Hurting (released March 1983):
  1. "The Hurting"
  2. "Mad World"
  3. "Pale Shelter" (Live)
  4. "Ideas as Opiates"
  5. "Memories Fade"
  6. "Suffer the Children"
  7. "Watch Me Bleed"
  8. "Change"
  9. "The Prisoner"
  10. "Start of the Breakdown" (Live)
Selections from Songs from the Big Chair (1985):
  1. "Shout"
  2. "Working Hour"
  3. "I Believe"


About the band's name:

"It came from one of [Arthur Janov's] book called The Prisoners of Pain, just a chapter about children's nightmares, and it put forth a theory that if every child was allowed to be normal, they wouldn't invent monsters to be scared of. I mean, the monsters are invented because the children can't admit what they're scared of. And one of the ways to allow children to be natural, if they're upset about something and cry, is to let them. Tears as a replacement for fears, Tears for Fears."

-- Curt Smith, 7 August 2008

"And she [Orzabal's childhood guitar teacher] had a copy of [Janov's] The Primal Scream, and she said, 'Why don't you read it?' And I read it and it felt like a revelation. I identified with the feelings expressed in the book and this idea that you can unburden yourself of all those dark and tormented feelings. I took to it like the proverbial duck and became very evangelical about it as well. My only convert was Curt who identified with it as well. It was then pretty much us against the world. It was like we were born again."

-- Roland Orzabal, 26 October 2013

About the influences behind The Hurting:

"Influence-wise, we probably were harking back to Joy Division, doing a sort a pop version to begin with."

-- Roland Orzabal, 26 October 2013

"The Hurting" from The Hurting (1983)

Is it an horrific dream
Am I sinking fast
Could a person be so mean
As to laugh and laugh
On my own
Could you ease my load
Could you see my Pain
Could you please explain
The Hurting

Could you understand a child
When he cries in Pain
Could you give him all he needs
Or do you feel the same
All along

You've been told you're wrong
When you felt it right
And you're left to fight
The Hurting

Get in line with the things you know
Feel the Pain
Feel the sorrow
Touch the hurt and don't let go
Get in line with the things you know
Learn to cry
Like a baby
Then the hurting won't come back

"Mad World" from The Hurting (1983)
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places
Worn out faces

Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere
Going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression
No expression

Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow
No tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very very
Mad world
Mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday
Happy birthday

Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen
Sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me
No one knew me

Hello teacher, tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me
Look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very very
Mad world
Mad world
enlarged in your world
Mad world

 

"Pale Shelter" (from The Hurting, 1983; this version is live at Rockpalast, West Germany, May 1983)

"It's a kind of love song, though more referring to one's parents than to a girl."

-- Roland Orzabal

Note: The song's title was inspired by the work of British sculptor Henry Moore.

How can I be sure?
When your intrusion is my illusion
How can I be sure?
When all the time you changed my mind
I asked for more and more
How can I be sure?

When you don’t give me love
You gave me Pale shelter
You don’t give me love
You give me cold hands
And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command

How can I be sure?
For all you say you keep me waiting
How can I be sure?
When all you do is see me through
I asked for more and more
How can I be sure?

When you don’t give me love
You gave me Pale shelter
You don’t give me love
You give me cold hands
And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command

I’ve been here before
There is no why, no need to try
I thought you had it all
I’m calling you, I’m calling you
I ask for more and more
How can I be sure?

When you don’t give me love
You gave me Pale shelter
You don’t give me love
You give me cold hands
And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command

You don't give me love

You don't give me, love!

You don't give me love

You don't give me, love! (repeat)

"Start of the Breakdown" (from The Hurting, 1983; this version is live at Rockpalast, West Germany, May 1983)

"It was a reference to my father, who had a nervous breakdown. 'Dry skin flakes when there's ice in the veins...' He had arterial sclerosis, and breakdown is the nervous breakdown. At that time there were certain bands that allowed you to be that morbid, and they were cool bands—people like Joy Division—who really glorified that kind of pain and suicidal instincts."

-Roland Orzabal

Scratch the ice
Let the telephone ring
Sense of time is a powerful thing
And we love to laugh
Love to cry
Half alive
We love to

Go slow when we’re dancing for rain
Dry skin flakes where there’s ice in the vein
And we love to cry
Half alive

Is this the start of the breakdown?
I can't understand you
Is this the start of the breakdown?
I can't understand you
Is this the start of the breakdown?

Scratch the earth
Dig the burial ground
Sense of time won’t be easily found
And ten out of ten
For the ones who defend
Pretend too

Breakdown is a final demand
We stand firm with our heads in our hands
As we love to to cry
Half alive


Is this the start of the breakdown?
I can’t understand you
Is this the start of the breakdown?

"Memories Fade" (from The Hurting, 1983)

"The whole notion of repression in psychology is that although things are shoved to the back of one's mind, they still exert a force on your behaviour, creating phobias, depression, insecurities...You're using up energy when you're repressing things, which could be used for far better things..."

- Roland Orzabal

There’s only need
I love your need
So much I’m losing me
I cannot see the reason for the Pain
With hungry joy
I’ll be your toy
Just hoping you will play
Without hope my body starts to fail

Memories fade but the scars still linger
Goodbye, my friend!
Will I ever love again?
Memories fade but the scars still linger

I cannot grow
I cannot move
I cannot feel my age
The vice-like grip of tension holds me fast

Engulfed by you
What can I do?
When History’s my cage
Look forward to a future in the past

Memories fade but the scars still linger
Goodbye, my friend!
Will I ever love again?
Memories fade but the scars still linger

The more I talk
The more I say
The less you seem to hear
I’m speechless in a most peculiar way
Your mind is weak
Your need is great
And nothing is too dear
For you to use to take the Pain away
Memories Fade
No don’t pretend you can justify the end
Memories fade but the scars still linger

 

"Ideas as Opiates" (from The Hurting, 1983; this version is live on British TV, 1983)

"That's the chapter from Janov, and it's really a reference to people's mindsets, the way that the ego can suppress so much nasty information about oneself—the gentle way that the mind can fool oneself into thinking everything is great."

-Roland Orzabal

"It really was all about that kind of thing—the psychological answer to religion being the opiate of the masses, whereas we thought ideas were, more than anything else."

-Curt Smith

Note: scroll to 4:34 minute mark to start
Say what you want
Say what you want
Say what you will

Say what you want
Say what you want
Say what you will

'Cos I find
You think what makes it easier
And I find
You think what makes it easier

Say what you want
Say what you want
Say what you will

Say what you want
Say what you want
Say what you will

'Cos I find
You think what makes it easier
And I find
You think what makes it easier

And lies spread on lies
We don’t care
Belief is our relief
We don’t care

 

"Suffer the Children" from The Hurting (1983)

It's a sad affair
When there's no one there
He calls out in the night
And it's so unfair
At least it seems that way
When you gave him his life
And all this time he's been getting you down
You ought to pick him up when there's no one around
And convince him
Just talk to him

'Cos he knows in his heart you won't be home soon
He's an only child in an only room
And he's dependent on you
And it seems so strange
That at the end of the day
Making love can be so good
But the Pain of birth
What is it worth
When it don't turn out the way it should

 

"Watch Me Bleed" from The Hurting (1983)

Heaven comes to he who waits
But I know I'm getting nowhere
And all the deeds of yesterday
Have really helped to pave my way
Though there's no one near me now
How come everyone can touch me
You see the torture on my brow
Relates to neither here nor now

Watch me bleed
Bleed forever

Although my face is straight, it lies
My body feels the Pain and cries
Here the table is not bare
I am full but feeling empty
For all the warmth it feels so cold
For one so young I feel so old

Watch me bleed
Bleed forever

It's not allowed to be unkind
But still the hate lives in my mind
I'll make no noise
I'll hide my pain
I'll close my eyes
I won't complain
I'll lie right back and take the blame
And try to tell myself I'm living
And when it's all been said or done
Where do I go?
Where do I run?
What's left of me or anyone when we've denied the hurting?

 

"Change" from The Hurting (1983)

You walked into the room,
I just had to laugh
The face you wore was cool,
You were a photograph
When it's all too late,
it's all too late

I did not have the time,
I did not have the nerve
To ask you how you feel,
Is this what you deserve?
When it's all too late,
it's all too late

Change
You can change
Change
You can change

And something on your mind became a point of view
I lost your honesty
You lost the life in you
When it's all too late,
it's all too late

We walk and talk in time,
I walk and talk in two
Where does the end of me
become the start of you
When it's all too late,
it's all too late

Change
You can change
Change
You can change

What has happened to
The friend that I once knew?
Has he gone away?
When it's all too late,
it's all too late

 

"The Prisoner" from The Hurting (1983)

Here behind the wall
I feel so small
Breathing but not perceiving
Here anger is me
Love sets me free
Feeling and not believing

Here in my mind
Biding my time
Waiting but not relating
Here anger is me
Love sets me free
The Prisoner is now escaping

 

 

"Shout" from Songs from the Big Chair (1985)

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

In violent times,
you shouldn’t have to sell your soul
In black and white,
they really really ought to know
Those one track minds
that took you for a working boy
Kiss them goodbye,
you shouldn’t have to jump for joy

You shouldn’t have to jump for joy

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

They gave you life,
and in return you gave them hell
As cold as ice,
I hope we live to tell the tale

I hope we live to tell the tale

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

And when you’ve taken down your guard
If I could change your mind,
I’d really love to break your heart

I’d really love to break your heart

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without
(I’d really love to break your heart) Come on, I’m talking to you
Come on

 

 

"The Working Hour" (Live on The Tube, British TV, 1985)

These things
That I’ve
Been told
Can rearrange
My world
My doubt
In time
But inside out

This is the working hour
We are paid by those
who learn by our mistake
This is the working hour
We are paid by those
who learn by our mistake

This day
And age
For all
And not for one

All lies
And secrets
Put on
Put on and on

This is the working hour
We are paid by those
who learn by our mistake
This is the working hour
We are paid by those
who learn by our mistake
And fear is such a vicious thing
It wraps me up in chains

Find out
Find out
What this fear is about
Find out
Find out
What this fear is about


"I Believe" from Songs from the Big Chair (1985)

I believe
That when the hurting and the pain has gone
We will be strong
Oh yes, we will be strong

And I believe
That if I’m crying while I write these words
Is it absurd?
Or am I being real?

I believe
That if you knew just what these tears were for
They would just pour
Like every drop of rain

That’s why I believe
It is too late for anyone to believe

I believe
That if you thought for a moment,
Took your time,
You would not resign yourself
Resign yourself to your fate

And I believe
That if it’s written in the stars,
That’s fine,
I can’t deny that I’m a Virgo too

I believe
That if you're bristling while you hear this song
I could be wrong,
Or have I hit a nerve?

That’s why I believe
It is too late for anyone to believe

I believe
That maybe somewhere in the darkness,
In the nighttime,
In the storm,
In the casino,
Casino Spanish eyes

I believe
No, I can’t believe
That every time you hear a new born scream
You just can’t see the shaping of a life
The shaping of a life

It's too late now

 

GRAFFITI STUDY WALL: MUSIC & VIDEOS
SEX PISTOLS
KRAFTWERK
THE CLASH
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD.
JOY DIVISION
SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES
AU PAIRS
COCTEAU TWINS
ARTERY
HUMAN LEAGUE
HEAVEN 17
THE SPECIALS
CABARET VOLTAIRE
TEARS FOR FEARS
DEPECHE MODE
THE SOUND
THE GLOVE
STEEL PULSE
THE CURE
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN
A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS
GANG OF FOUR
NEW ORDER
U2
THE POLICE
CRASS
NEW MODEL ARMY
ELVIS COSTELLO
SPLIT ENZ
THE THE
XTC
THE EXPLOITED
DISCHARGE
THE SMITHS
THE HOUSEMARTINS
RADIOHEAD
PORTISHEAD
PET SHOP BOYS
M Y BLOODY VALENTINE
SLOWDIVE
CRASH MUSIC
MUSIC OF THE TROUBLES

VIDEOS:

SEX PISTOLS
SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES (LIVE)
THE CURE (LIVE)
COCTEAU TWINS (LIVE)
NEW ORDER (LIVE)
PORTISHEAD (LIVE)
JOY DIVISION MINI-DOCUMENTARY
NUCLEAR WAR PREPAREDNESS: PROTECT & SURVIVE MANUAL