Wednesday, 11 April 2018

one album

I'm sorry for saying yesterday that everything sucks, and also I'm sorry for repeatedly trying to pressure you into looking at Alex's painting. The fact is, some things do suck and some don't. Trite but true. Yesterday was thoroughly rotten but today was not intolerable. Anyway I really, really don't want to whine about it so instead, here is one album that I would put on Facebook if I was going to do the ten albums in ten days thing that people are doing.  If I put it here instead I will not feel obliged to pick out ten albums, or remember to keep it up for several days, and I will be able to write a thousand words right now about this one without feeling self-conscious and, importantly, I won't have to have an awkward conversation about it with twenty-six people.

I'm fairly sure I bought this shortly after Songs From The Big Chair was released in 1985, or 1986. I have that album too. The Hurting was Tears For Fears's first album and it had come out a couple of years before. Here is a Youtube playlist allegedly of all ten tracks.

I was so fascinated by this record. I think I learnt some very important things about myself from it, or I began to learn them, at least. Hindsight is a seductive thing. This was before I got onto The Smiths, who immediately displaced all my other musical interests and in many ways simplified things, erasing some nuance in the process, just because they were so straightforwardly great and so easy to love.

In the interests of not succumbing too quickly to the charms of linking The Hurting with lots of aspects of my later life, I'm very happy to acknowledge that one of the things I liked most about Tears For Fears was Curt Smith's eyes and dark hair and pale skin and the curves of his face and how his mouth looked when he opened it to sing. Yeah, I had a lot of pretty lustful thoughts about him in particular and also Roland Orzabal, although it was a bit complicated with him because I found him sexy and also at the same time weird and repulsive. I think that Curt was easier for me to crush on because he was as beautiful and elegant looking and sounding as a girl, and his sexuality came across as more simple and more like my own. Roland was troubling because he seemed to me obviously the smarter of the two, or at any rate the more literary (although I was already sceptical about equations of cleverness with the habit of carrying books around) and it felt as if not being in love with the smartest person would be a very warped and impossible thing indeed. I liked the way he did his hair and the clothes he wore and I adored the way he moved, but at the same time, I found his earnestness about all of these fashionable gestures highly cringeworthy. I was reading Brideshead Revisited throughout these years and I guess it shaped what I thought about pretty English boys, how lovely they were, how unlikely it was that they really existed, and how impossible it was to see them without irony, although I very much doubt I consciously made that link at the time. The book I definitely did connect with Tears for Fears is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13& 3/4. If you've read this you might possibly remember very late in the story Adrian is sick in bed and he asks his dad for three t-shirts in shades of grey and a razor blade, which his dad provides, too worried at this obvious sign of delirium to enquire why. Then as soon as Adrian is a tiny bit better he makes himself "monochrome rags" to wear, reassuring his family that he's not going to die, he's gone right back to being a ridiculous teenager. I knew Tears For Fears were like those monochrome rags, and I responded to them, not just their stylings but their music, with scepticism and curiosity and embarrassment and love and desire.

Look at the insert and you'll see:


It must have been a music magazine which supplied the information that the songs on The Hurting were influenced by Arthur Janov's primal therapy, and I suspect that the few things I knew about what primal therapy might actually be probably came from the same source. It's easy to forget how difficult it used to be to find out anything not covered by the World Book encyclopedia. Again a grain of salt must be applied to what I think I then made of the intense and angsty focus, in song after song, on the inner scars left from an unhappy childhood: I think I was extremely interested in this idea but a bit sceptical about the authenticity of the overall project. Without putting it anything like this explicitly to myself at the time I reckon I might have suspected some affectation and posturing, or at least some book-derived augmentation of personal feelings was going on. Taken as a whole the album has got a strange sort of new wave prog rock quality - a concept album about 1970s californian psychobabble. That said at least half the individual songs on the album still stand up well enough to make me think, now, that the record came from a place of lived experience, and it doesn't really matter that the cultural material they used to express themselves turned out to be junk.  And it's still really fun music to dance to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh very helpful taking down your test about Are You Successful. I did it and apparently I am which surprised us all.

But what I WANTED to comment about is this MUCH BETTER test that I found where you look at photos of 6 people's feet (female members of the British Royal Family) and you match the feet to the Royal People and then an Expert explains what personalities they have based on their feet. If you google all the key words eg feet personality British Royal Family I'm sure you will find it.

I came out of all this testing not only successful but smug as well and AMAZED at the absolute horror of Some People's Feet.

Cheers Marie in Perth