DVD Review (Posted on 06-11-2013)
(Apparently music videos are sometimes, if not often, considered short films. I never looked at it that way let alone many others perceiving it in such way, however, I decided to include this discreet review on one of my favorite musical artists of all time if ever considered.) Choose the Vimeo membership that’s right for you.
Hard to imagine witnessing a duo ruling the world with such eloquently-written lyrics sung in an enjoyable, yet timeless, fashion. To all fans of eighties music, it's impossible that you've never heard of Tears For Fears. Why do such musical artists like them have to be so underrated? According to a Yahoo! Music interview, Roland wasn't comfortable becoming a top-notched celebrity and was happy making music (that's understandable). Nevertheless, it has never stopped them from producing excellent tunes and seeing them on DVD makes it even better. You want timeless music with strong, lyrical messages? No need to run and find; it's here.
1. Break It Down Again (1993)
This features such lively editing and tons of cuts. Roland and the band sing in the studio as well as singing solo in the middle of the desert. Included are shots of an airport station—indoors—and time-lapsed footage mixed with it. The digital zoom-in and zoom-out of the images animating to the sounds of the keyboard may be dizzying to some but blend well. Other than that, it's a great video.
2. Shout (1984)
One of the few videos with a "title card" opening, this song remains to be invariably the most popular, catchy hits from Tears For Fears (TFF). As Roland and Curt both sing to the song, they walk down the stairs and stand by the ocean shore in front of "Durdle Door
" in the background. Then a herd of people walk down stairs and into the stage to sing along with the band. Also includes Roland's guitar solo. The stage may have also been used in their other music video "Everybody Wants To Rule The World".
3. Goodnight Song (1993)
(Image by Wikipedia)
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The scene opens in a bar/club with shots of the band and Roland himself, mixed with shots of street signs, stop lights and roads. Very much a generic music video. On the other hand, I must say that if this song hasn't gotten any radio plays, I think it should. I've heard "Head Over Heels", "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", "Shout", and to a less frequent extent, "Sowing The Seeds Of Love", "Mothers Talk", "Woman In Chains", "Break It Down Again", and from Roland's solo album Tomcats Screaming Outside
, I've heard "Bullets For Brains". I don't recall this song being played on the air so any radio DJs out there, I strongly recommend this track. Oh, and take note of that wonderful lyric, "take the best of me and then the rest let go."
4. Mothers Talk (1984 - Version 1)
Having looked at TFF's video library, I can see why the band were unhappy with this version. With a blue & black color scheme, immediately the video opens with a girl's left eye being checked, sleeping in bed, then waking up from a bad dream. The band sings along with the drummer playing in front of venetian blinds. Integrated with the singing, the girl frequently gets a check-up by the doctor while acting strangely all throughout (may be referring to the classic film Sybil
except for the presence of the Big Chair). Another was a chroma-keyed shot of Roland singing in what looked like 8-bit graphical rain, let alone featuring an 8-bit graphic of a horse running. According to the fan-made website MemoriesFade.com
, the female singer singing with Curt has been unidentified.
5. Head Over Heels (1985)
Without a doubt, one of my favorite tracks of all time. As much as I enjoy most of the TFF music library, if I had to choose one favorite, it would have to be this (yeah, I'm a loser for being a romantic dude as Roland states it's "a love song that goes a bit perverse at the end"). The opening shot is the sign "SILENCE" and panning over to the floor showing the people walking inside a library (that library is the Emmanuel College Library in Toronto, Canada, according to MemoriesFade.com). Roland brings his books in and sings to the librarian to whom he is romantically interested in. If you look closely, Roland wears some eye-makeup on this video. The monkey, "Zippy the Chimp," makes funny faces and reactions coinciding with the scenes of the band mates; Curt, who's dressed as a nerd, a style being sported today, and Roland (note that Zippy is wearing a Boston Red Sox t-shirt). While the band members are loafing around, Roland continues to chase the librarian, while Curt sings along with Roland. Note the mystery lyrics sung by Curt, after Roland sings "My mother and my brothers used to breathing clean air":
"Nothing ever changes when you're acting your age.
Nothing gets done when you feel like a baby.
Nothing ever changes when you're acting your age."
After that's sung, Roland shoots at his flame-to-be with a gun spewing out a flag saying "Bang?" The video then ends with Roland and the librarian at old age, having grew old together. It's great to be in love.
6. Advice For The Young At Heart (1990)
Video opens with a happy couple that just got married. The band plays in what looks like a tropical indoor setting looking lively and happy. Mixed with it are a couple about to get married, sending the message of growing old together portrayed by shots of older couples (likely a reference to the song's lyric "Love is a promise, Love is a souvenir; Once given, never forgotten; Never let it disappear"). The video ends with the happy couple at the beach.
7. Everybody Wants To Rule The World (1985)
Like "Shout", this becomes the second video opening with a title card. Before the song plays, a kid walks out of his garage and to the sidewalk about to ride his toy bike, then transitions into Curt driving a nice car with the song playing. As the song goes on and Curt continues driving, he makes a stop to make a phone call, then continues driving on the highway with a flock of dinosaurs in the background. During the instrumental, two slick dancers dance away in front of two gasoline pumps mixed with footage of dirt bike riding. Near the end, Curt fills up the car at an Exxon gas station then enters into the freeway. After the song is finished, the drive-by sound of an 18-wheeler is shown.
8. Sowing The Seeds Of Love (1989)
Having mentioned my favorite song, how about my favorite video? Tough choice, but I'm going to go all out and say it's this one. Opening with an animated scene, it transitions into the chroma-keyed duo singing to the song, continued with more brilliant animation in the foreground and background. The blond woman 'floating' on top of Roland happens to be his wife Caroline. My favorite scene features the sun while Roland and Curt walk together—similar to the sun featured on the CD album cover of both The Seeds of Love
and Tears Roll Down - Greatest Hits (82-92)
. Another scene features Curt napping in the second floor inside the house, while Roland is outside planting a sunflower seed, hence the lyric "'i love a sunflower'." Roland was asked about this:
""I love a sunflower" is a piece of graffiti on a wall near my home. I see it every day. I didn't know what to sing on a guide vocal for the track so I sang that instead of "dada dada dada". Then all of a sudden, "Sowing The Seeds" is just about to come out and the Ecology Party do really well in the Euro-elections and their emblem is the sunflower. I didn't know that, it all seems to be fitting in now. These things are synchronous."
(Source from MemoriesFade.com)
The video closes with a sunflower blooming from the seed Roland planted, and transitions with just the sunflower itself in space with the text "an end to need---with the politics of greed, with Love." According to MemoriesFade.com, "this video won two MTV Video Music Awards the following year: Breakthrough Video and Best Special Effects." Excellent!
9. Woman In Chains (1989)
Filmed in black & white and featuring Oleta Adams, the video opens with a boxer and a nightclub dancer—the boxer's girlfriend. While the band sings ever so seriously, the couple constantly argues portraying a violent, abusive relationship (likely a call for attention to stop domestic abuse). And if that wasn't enough, the following lyric is heart-wrenchingly true: Somebody somewhere is trying to breathe
. Roland did mention this song is "sexism to a certain degree" and about the women's movement, despite being one of the few men to write such a song. As the couple continues to argue, they both make up and everything is settled. I love happy endings, don't you? Unfortunately, the lone lyric Curt sings is difficult to transcribe as the best guess is "Is this my world?" sung after Roland sings, "will not accept the greatness of man." Being a man myself, this is possibly the most powerful video from TFF. As I believe in women's rights, it's such a sad sight knowing domestic abuse and rape still plague women. I strongly recommend this to anyone pursuing women's history (or should I say 'herstory').
10. Mad World (1982)
Despite being the last video of this DVD, this is actually the first official music video by TFF. Opens with a calm lake and Curt sitting by the window looking very depressed. As he sings, a shot of a child depressingly stares at a candle is shown and a bunch of adults have fun during a birthday party. While Curt sings and looks out the window, Roland can be seen outside and eventually dances to the song. The video ends with an eerie shot of Curt and Roland and...is that a third person next to Roland?? Having been covered numerous times by various artists, this indeed is TFF's very first video. Oh by the way, it's spelled "Hlaajian."
With ten video tracks, it's a must have for TFF fans. No other DVD has released the first version of "Mothers Talk" along with other classics such as "Break It Down Again" and "Goodnight Song"—all of which are rare and hard to find. As great as this release was, Universal could've stuffed in a few more. Referring back to MemoriesFade.com, the following videos have never been released, or remastered, on DVD:
The Way You Are
Everybody Wants To Run The World
Tears Roll Down
Famous Last Words
Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams
Raoul And The Kings Of Spain
Secrets (version 1)
Secrets (version 2)
Closest Thing To Heaven
Personally, thanks to online video-sharing websites, I have seen all except
"Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams" (so can you). Even if I have already seen them, it'll be nice to see the full DVD quality of it. Looking at the list, that's quite a chunk that's never been included. Better days are ahead and I truly believe the companies will release all of these videos, but we may never know when. Mark this DVD review a huge reminder (hope you fans will speak out as well!).
Nevertheless, the three rare videos previously mentioned are worth the purchase. Note that this was only released in Europe (UK) so you may want to log into the UK auction sites to search for it. More could've been included, but for this price and package, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
"Break It Down Again" credits
Gail Ann Dorsey
"Goodnight Song" credits
Gail Ann Dorsey
"Mothers Talk" credits
"Head Over Heels" credits
Zippy the Chimp
"Advice For The Young At Heart" credits
"Everybody Wants To Rule The World" credits
"Sowing The Seeds Of Love" credits
"Woman In Chains" credits
"Mad World" credits