Everybody Loves A Happy Ending

Tears For Fears

New Door, 2004


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


When Tears For Fears (TFF) broke up, they did with a lot of pomp and panache, leaving us with their lavish last hurrah The Seeds Of Love. And ironically, the band’s makeup album after fifteen long years of cold shoulder is their most low-key and simplest.

The basic recipe behind Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is most similar to Seeds than any of TFF’s other records, or even to Roland Orzabal’s releases under the TFF moniker. The heavy psychedelic Beatle-esque influence on Everybodynbtc__dv_250 resembles Seeds, but minus that disc’s extravagance. This is a bare-bones rock album according to TFF standards.

The allure of earlier TFF, and also Orzabal’s, records were the sumptuous instrumentation and the painstaking, intricate musical arrangements that encompassed elements from jazz to soul, and the pristine sounds that resulted. This is missing on Everybody -- which is not to say that Everybody doesn’t have pretty tunes. But if the opening cut – the title cut -- was from an older TFF record, its sweeping, dreamy intro would have continued into a complex and gorgeous number. But instead, it breaks abruptly and turns into a simple ‘60s frolicsome soundtrack to a musical, one that would suit a Paul McCartney album better. On the other hand, the following cut,“Closest Thing To Heaven,” has the same ‘60s appeal but is richer and hence has more depth, resonating with the TFF flair.

The sparseness on Everybody runs deep throughout the album and undermines the beauty of its tracks. “Size Of Sorrow,” the most melodic on the record, sounds awkward with its tawdry programmed percussions laced with a chintzy, uninspired guitar hook. But with some extra musical adornments bestowed on tracks like “Ladybird,” “Killing With Kindness,” and the exquisite closing number “Last Days On Earth,” they emerge beauteous and triumphant.

This is not the best TFF record; in fact Everybody is the band’s worst. But in their previous years, the band has set such high standards for their records that even their weakest work is a pretty good deal. TFF hasn’t lost the knack for writing beautifully grand numbers. But this is a band that is made for making those numbers complicated and flamboyant and taking them to wonderful places in gloriously atrocious ways with their musical ambitiousness. With this loss of pretentiousness, Everybody is left as just an ordinary album; a good album, but still ordinary.

Rating: B-

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