The Seeds Of Love

Tears For Fears

Mercury, 1989

REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane


The Seeds Of Love was one of the most anticipated albums of 1989, maybe even of the decade. This came as no surprise seeing as 1985’s gigantic Songs From The Big Chair had turned Tears For Fears into one of the world’s biggest and most important bands. It seemed the entire universe had been waiting for over three years to hear what Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith had been so diligently crafting in what would later be revealed as intensely organic live studio sessions.

After three years, four producers, nine studios and over one million pounds, The Seeds Of Love was released in August of 1989 and met with worldwide praise.

Although it’s conceptually and aesthetically very different from the duo’s first two albums, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Seeds Of Love remains a favorite amongst fans and critics and the album contains the band’s most sophisticated and refined work to date. The band’s success with Songs From The Big Chair had taken them on a unending tour of the United States and in 1986 Orzabal and Smith were feeling burnt out. It was during this U.S. tour that the duo would first see Oleta Adams perform at a hotel in Kansas City and her performance became the inspiration for the programming-free and live-band approach to the material on The Seeds Of Love. Tears For Fears wanted to get back to basics and the end result is an album immersed in soul, jazz, blues and of course the band’s signature pop.

Having been so moved and inspired by Oleta Adams, the duo would ask her to lend her phenomenal pipes and elaborate piano playing to album highlights “Woman In Chains,” “Badman’s Song,” and “ Standing On The Corner Of The Third World.” Similar to TFF’s first two albums, there isn’t a bad song here. Naturally the album’s standout track is “Sowing The Seeds Of Love,” an uplifting protest song, which Orzabal says he wrote in response to the re-election of Margaret Thatcher. The song is overwhelmingly intricate and somehow simultaneously infectious and catchy. “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” would become one of the biggest hits of the 1980s, which was remarkable considering Tears For Fears had already produced “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Shout”; two of the biggest, most popular and most successful singles of all time.

The Seeds Of Love saw the departure of Curt Smith from the group, who only co-wrote and performed on one of the album’s tracks, “Sowing The Seeds Of Love,” and so the album brings the most important Tears For Fears era to a close. Everything released thereafter would really just be Orzabal solo projects disguised as Tears For Fears albums. Although Songs From The Big Chair is far and away their most important album, Tears For Fears proved with The Seeds Of Love that they were pop visionaries that the world needed to take seriously. What a powerful way to close out the decade. 

Rating: A

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© 2009 Kenny S. McGuane and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury, and is used for informational purposes only.