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4.6 out of 5 stars
Songs From The Big Chair
Format: Audio CDChange
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2004
A while back I picked up "20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection" release issued by Universal Records in 2000. According to the liner notes, the songs have been remastered. I never really thought they sounded that great for remastering. I bought the remastered and reissued "Songs From The Big Chair" (which was actually issued in 1999) album a few weeks back and was blown away by the difference in sound quality. I really don't think the "20th Century Masters" collection was really remastered. Some tracks are quite dull. I've compared "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "Head Over Heels" on both discs and the versions on "Songs From The Big Chair" are much more crisp and clear. I have gained a whole new appreciation for these songs, among the many others featured on this disc. So thumbs up to Universal for at least offering this better, remastered version. For those who say this reissue isn't worth it, take a listen to the difference in sound quality. Then again, if sound quality isn't that important to you, then stick with your original copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2014
Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The blu ray audio in 5.1 captures the creative genius of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. This is there best recording ever; but with the help of fellow Brit Steve Wilson of (Porcupine Tree) these songs have been taken to a new level. The only way to appreciate what I;m saying is to listen to it yourself in 5.1. I can't stress this enough. For me it's the only reason why i bought this disc. I highly recommend this disc and I'm very happy it's part of my library of music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Songs From the Big Chair" was the first CD I ever bought; about four months before I actually had a CD player. But this was one of the first really hot CDs and it was where I got my infamous "three song rule." This rule states that if you are interested in an album by a new group all you need to justify the purchase is for the album to have three solid songs you would like to have. This one offered by "Shout," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Head Over Heels." I still listen to it about once a month and there is always a touch of regret that Tears for Fears self-destructed. The group produced a rather unique blend of synth-pop that made it stand out from most of what was going on in 1985 and the lyrics would have made for nice essay questions on a psychoanalysis exam:
They gave you life
And in return you gave them hell
As cold as ice
I hope we live to tell the tale
Who would have thought that primal scream theory would result in deep lyrics? Ironic to say the least. But then when you start talking about four leaf clovers you are just going to lose people who are going to go back to the melodies and not bother to figure out the words. Looking at the writing credits on these songs you would have said Tears for Fears was clearly Roland Orzabal's group, but by the time Curt Smith bolted they had produced only one more album in three years which had one decent song on it. So Tears of Fears does not exactly come under the heading of a One Hit Wonder, but they certainly only had the solid really great album. However, unlike other groups you might point to in similar circumstances from this same time period (e.g., A-Ha, Mr. Mister), this was the group I really thought had the musical talent to build on. My bad.
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One of the best albums of the 80's finally gets the 5.1 treatment. As always Steven Wilson has done a amazing job mixing this record. Wilson has the knack of being able to remix something in 5.1 yet keep the feel of the original stereo mix. I recently took this to a friends place who is not a big fan of 5.1. Even he admitted this is the version to get. The only down side is the limits of digital recordings from the 80's. They don't sound as full as they do today but again Steve Wilson seems to get around this somehow and really gets the tracks to kick. I am hoping the "...Seeds of Love" is being done as we speak. I am a huge 5.1 fan to me it's like hearing songs for the first time again but it's not for everyone. But if you have the system for playback and it's balanced right I don't see how you could not be impressed.
I grew up in the 80's but I am not a fan of a lot of the music but this is an exception. This album stands shoulder to shoulder with the great pop records of the last 40 years.
If you like great music buy the CD. But if you love great sound by the Blu ray audio you will be glad you did!
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on September 7, 2003
Not as raw and emotional as their debut "The Hurting", "Songs From the Big Chair" is the album that catapulted Curt and Roland into the international consciousness and captured them a place in music history.
Big Chair gave TFF two #1 hits, one for the primal "Shout" and the second for the pop perfection of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". My personal favorite on the album is the dark and thrashing combo of "Broken" and "Head Over Heels/Broken (Live)", which is every bit as good as the chart topping singles. Other standout tracks include "The Working Hour", "Mother's Talk" (which also placed on the charts) and "I Believe". All of the eight original songs are of exceptional quality, and highlight the songwriting and vocal talents of these two young artists. The remastered version also offers an additional seven bonus tracks, which aren't strictly necessary, but add a great glimpse into their creative process. Even if they're not up to the level of the original cuts, the bonuses are definitely enjoyable to listen to, and I'm not one to complain about getting extra TFF music.
Overall Big Chair is a phenomenal release from a pair of artists whose angst and raw energy permeates their work. It's unfortunate that this is the only Tears for Fears album that receives significant attention, as their entire catalogue is of exceptional quality. This is one of those rare albums that is able to transcend its origins ('80's pop), and it belongs on any list of all time classic albums.
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on December 5, 2003
While "The Hurting" is surely an artistic triumph "Songs From The Big Chair" made Tears For Fears songs.The arrangements
are fuller and a full band sound is evident but their lyrical themes haven't changed-more people just were able to share in them.The result are the classic radio hits "Shout" and "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"-not to mention the John Lennon-like "Head Over Heals".It's obvious these guys spent alot of time not just with new wave but with John Lennon and Cat Stevens albums-the songwriting is classic and the aforementioned songs sound timeless despite this albums fairly recent vintage.The uptempo "Broken" is actually very dancable and "I Believe" is a simple,almost Beatlesqe ballad of high note.Mabye in the next twenty years or so "Songs From The Big Chair" will emmerge along with the "Sgt.Pepper"'s and "Pet Sound"s of all-time classic rock albums!
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on October 3, 2000
The original album 'Songs From The Big Chair' features the worldwide smash hits 'Shout', 'Everybody Want To Rule The World' (No.1 in the USA) and 'Head Over Heels'. However, it was only eight-track long and didn't fully showcast Roland Orzabal amazing talent at writing meaningful and out-of-the-mainstream compositions. The extra tracks on this re-release of 'Songs From The Big Chair' paints a better picture of what the duo was about. All the extra tracks were available on the b-sides of the singles when they first came on vinyl. Most can also be found on the brilliant Tears For Fears collection of b-sides 'Saturnine Martial and Lunatic' album. If you don't own a Tears For Fears album this is the one to get. Overall it's a good blend of pop chart hits and soundtrack quality b-sides. And the mind-addictive 'Shout' will have you muttering the lyrics to yourself for weeks.
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on October 13, 2000
Tears for Fears seems to have aged more gracefully than most other 1980s music, in part because the band relied more on real instruments than synthesized noise, in part because they really sang. Fifteen years after its release, Songs from the Big Chair remains the essential album from this duo.
Beyond having two huge hits, which sound great even now, the album has a consistency and continuity. 'Head over Heels', for example, just fits best when it is bookended by the live recording of 'Broken'. 'Working Hour' is a fantastic vocal and instrumental romp -- why it never made it to the 'Greatest Hits' set is beyond me. While it might be stretch, I have always thought of 'Big Chair' as one of few 1980s concept albums. Every track is distinctive, but you cannot help but listen to the whole thing through.
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This is a remastered edition of the group's second album (originally released in February 1985). It contains the original eight tracks plus seven bonus tracks (including two special remixes).
The sound is big and bold, and the music of Tears For Fears is timeless. The group thrives on confronting psychological issues within the context of their music (the album was inspired by the movie "Sybil" starring Sally Field -- the "Big Chair" is what the character called her analyst's chair, and was a place where she felt safe) and their life-affirming message comes across clearly through this material.
4 Stars...sixteen years later and this group can still bring down the house. I especially love the remix of SHOUT included in the bonus tracks.
Enjoy.
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on February 19, 1999
I got this album on the day my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1987. It helped me get through the next three months until his death. Roland Orzabal sings with such feeling and emotion - he helped me to confront the sadness and anger I felt over the loss of my dad. The song "Shout" is a great release (in both meanings of the word), and "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" is wonderful during a long drive to think things over. But it is "I Believe" - so sweet and true - that lets you know things will get better. I find it hard to listen to this album now - but every now and then you need to return to a time when you learned about what is really important in your life - and music can take you back.
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