The Vinyl Vault: Tears For Fears – The Hurting

This album was purchased by one of my suite-mates when I was at UW Milwaukee. We made our way down to the record store near campus off of Locust and rifled through the stacks there and Dan R. (“Rocket”) as we called him, picked up this album. I don’t think he had any idea who Tears For Fears were, but liked the look of the cover, which was an import I believe. The U.S. cover looks like this.

At any rate we scurried back to Rocket’s room to check this out. It blew our minds.

This album side one is one of the most emotionally raw and yet rhythmic and hooky while still remaining minimal and stark string of music I had ever heard. The image of Curt and Roland on the cover made them look angsty and emo and exactly what we thought we were into. Of course we also bought “Men Without Hats” and “Planet P Project” so we were all over the board. It was the 80’s.

This album was played after classes every day for a long long time. Rocket’s roommate Andy hated it of course, but tolerated it. We would often just play side one over and over. It was probably a little hard to take. Side one is just SO damn good. Track list:

  1. The Hurting
  2. Mad World
  3. Pale Shelter
  4. Ideas As Opiates
  5. Memories Fade

Superb downtempo with drums right up in the mix bashing lonely rhythms. “Mad World” was my favorite and I put that track on a lot of mixes in those days. The chorus to “Memories Fade” made me imagine the pain on his face as he cried out the lyrics. If you don’t know the song, check this out.

Roland belts it out.

Side Two of “The Hurting” kicks things up a notch and gets more angry (?) and flirts with rockin out with more lush productions and denser music. Where side one made you want to lay on the roof and contemplate your place in the world, side two makes you want to come down, get a weird haircut and then yell at people for staring at you. Track list:

  1. Suffer The Children
  2. Watch Me Bleed
  3. Change
  4. The Prisoner
  5. Start Of The Breakdown

Here is another performance of a side two track “Start Of The Breakdown”.

The synths and drums punctuate this song and is the perfect ender to the album. When Rocket left UW Milwaukee I pined for our listening parties and wore out my tape of this album. Understand this was before “Tales From The Big Chair”.

That album is great too, but they played the ever loving grooves out of it on the radio and like all things that get massively overplayed I got turned off on it and for years would turn the radio station when songs from that album played.

It was some years back where I came across a cheap copy of “Tales From The Big Chair” and decided it was time to let it back into my life. I found that not only did it no longer make me cringe, but that I really dug it. From that came the memories of Rocket and I drinking Old Thompson whiskey and listening to “The Hurting”. I put this on my short list of used albums to look for on the occasion that I was in Strictly Disc. Over and over I went to the T section and could only find 12″ singles and endless copies of “Tales From The Big Chair”.

Eventually I ordered a new copy. I was happy to see that the image I was used to as the cover was included on the inner sleeve.

The 80’s foo has been strong in me lately and I am glad to have this album in my collection, finally on vinyl. I’ll leave you with this side one track… “Pale Shelter”

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