The Tipping Point, by Tears For Fears
This album admittedly came as a surprise to me. I have seen Tears For Fears performing concerts, but as it had been more than fifteen years since their last release (which I will get around to reviewing soon, hopefully), I thought that they were content to perform their earlier songs. Instead, we get a new album that has sold enough copies to make the top ten albums and chart songs on the AAA charts that I enjoy (namely the title track so far). So how does this album hold up? What kind of album are we getting with such a title?
The album begins with an ode to freedom in “No Small Thing,” a reflection on childhood and the way that the world is hard to those who see freedom in a way that seems to call back to some of their earliest concerns about the relationship between childhood and the adults who misrule this world in their debut album. The title track follows, with a tense and somewhat experimental instrumental track that reflects the anxiety of contemporary life and its concern with the ghosts of the past and the failure of communication. “Long, Long, Long Time” offers a gorgeous reflection on the passage of time and the experience of life’s ups and downs. “Break The Man” offers a beautiful but rather ambivalent account of a female that appears to be a part of a dysfunctional relationship, and something that people might relate to but not want to see themselves as. “My Demons” offers a somewhat ominous perspective on fame and the lifestyle that comes with it. “Rivers Of Mercy” directly examines the violence and turmoil of contemporary society, and instead of feeding the violence, they call for mercy and healing instead. “Please Be Happy” is a sensitive and reflective call to a loved one to overcome anxiety and melancholy and bravely face the world. “Master Plan” is a beautiful song that reflects on the relationship between our plans for life and the sort of life that we end up having anyway. “End Of Night” offers an optimistic and hopeful view of the end of darkness and the dawning of a new day. “Stay” ends the album with an acoustic reflection on the ambivalence and mixed messages of life and relationships.”
Having listened to this album, it is beautiful to see that it has found a considerable degree of sucess. If Tears For Fears is no longer a band that appears on mainstream pop charts, this beautiful and bittersweet album offers a lot of reflective and beautiful synth pop music for those who are willing to hear it and reflect about it. The group–as has been true their entire career–make an album hear that speaks to our own times and encourages listeners to overcome the ghosts and demons of their past and present lives to create a better future. This album fits right along with their career concerns about matters of communication, the misrule of the world, and the way that children are harmed by the failures of adults. Yet despite their understandable concerns about these subjects, the result is not one of despair or anger, but rather hope for a better future.