It's madness indeed when this album, one of the best debut's that I can recall, has been essentially relegated to early '80s obscurity. Even recently, it nearly killed me when I heard a remake of the song "Mad World" at the end of a Smallville episode, especially seeing as how a version that should have benefitted from 20 years of production advances was still so clearly inferior to the original.
This first collaboration between Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith is full of beautiful music and introspective lyrics. You can't listen to "Pale Shelter", "The Hurting" and "Mad World" without being permeated by Roland's angst. (he penned every song on the album) There's a darkness here that's never been so ably repeated on a subsequent TFF album, and the raw, unrefined talents of these two men is altogether frightening. Although eclipsed by the later commercial success of "Songs from the Big Chair", "Hurting" may indeed be the more ambitious and significant musical statement. I truly believe that were this album released today, it would be every bit as fresh and provocative as it was twenty years ago.
As for the remastering.....if the tempo has indeed been tampered with (which I had not noticed, but will now listen for) than its a criminal act. The bonus remixes of some great songs are always appreciated, but not entirely necessary. The real benefit comes from the added clarity, and being able to hear some subtleties of the recording that were unnoticeable on the older version. All told, "The Hurting" is an album that deserves to be remembered, and here's to hoping the rumored TFF reunion and new album comes to pass.