on June 22, 2006
This stunning album was the pinnacle of 80's UK invasion pop/rock, and a great album with 4 classic singles. An extremely cool reissue, with all the b-sides and 7" versions included, and the 12" singles section of disc 2 contains Shout (and it's dub), Mothers Talk, and Head Over Heals exactly as they were released on 12" single in America, but the version of Everybody Wants To Rule The World is the Urban Mix released in the UK, not the very different and superior "Extended Version" released on 12" in the USA in March 1985. Almost perfect....
on August 13, 2002
Tears For Fears music has endured very well, far better than alot of music from the 1980s. What TFF put in their music was depth and creativity, something alot of other music at the time and especially now lacks.
There were two huge hits off The Big Chair. Shout is one of the angriest and heaviest songs with it's blasting guitars and angry lyrics. Everybody Wants To Rule The World is the other one. EWTRTW is one of the best songs that 1985 offered. There was one lesser hit and that was Head Over Heals.
In my opinion I like the parent album version more than the version on both the Tears Roll Down(Greatest Hits 82-92) & Shout: Very Best Of TFF mainly because the song ends with a live performance of Broken as an attachment for a more incredible listen.
The best song though in my opinion is The Working Hour. This track my favorite song off The Big Chair. It's a very intense song that begins with as an eerie track but then African drums come in and then a huge wash of powerful synthesizers and rock guitars come in.
The other track to point out is the final track(On the 8 song editon of this CD)Listen. Listen is a very apocolyptic song with a cold brooding atmosphere that is more intensified with the industrial mechanical beats and sound effects combined with dark melodies.
The Big Chair was re-issued in 1999 with seven bonus tracks added. The Big Chair(song title), Empire Building, & Marauders are also available on the brilliant B-Sides rarities collection Saturning Martial Lunatic. One track called The Conflict was previously unrealeased. The other three are remixes.
For those who might be turned off by the excessively abstract bonus tracks I wouls say get the older edition but for those want to start their TFF collections get the remastered editions of their first three albums. They're all worth owning.
A great album that was very well handled in it's reissue The Big Chair deserves a place in everyones music collection.
After this TFF would morph into a whole different sound with the artistic pinnacle known as The Seeds Of Love
on March 12, 2006
First off, the sound quality to this remastered version of the album is magnificent ... In fact, I also own the Original Master Recording gold CD, and the sound/volume is notably louder and clearer on this reissue than on the gold! It's still nice to own both versions though, because the gold CD features bonus extended mixes of "Shout" and "EWTRTW" (Which includes a fantastic extended guitar solo in the middle of the track), which the reissue doesn't have.
I wasn't too fond of most of the bonus tracks on the reissue ... They sounded more like a hodgepodge of sound effects to me, rather than music. It's too bad that, in the space of those recordings, the extended mixes from the gold CD weren't used instead. I did enjoy the mixes of "Shout" and "Mothers Talk," though ... The slowed-down vocal in the middle of both remixes of "Shout" is hilarious, but I have no idea what he is saying! :) I could take or leave "Broken Revisited" ... The slowed-down, backwards vocal in the beginning freaked me out!
"EWTRTW" and "HOH/Broken (Live)" were two of my favorites, because they sounded the most upbeat to me. The beautiful yet eerie "Listen" was the true highlight for me, because it sounded like the most experimental and surreal track on the album. I love how the synthesisers emerge from the crowd cheering, from the previous track, plus there are loads of amusing sound effects throughout the recording. The song also overflows with beautiful keyboard sounds and the guitars really rock, too! "Listen" is a creative explosion, and reminds me of something from "The Moody Blues" ... My brother thought it sounded like "Enya," too! :)
In my book, the factor of brilliant sound quality outweighs the factor of bonus tracks that I'm not crazy about, when it comes to this re-release. As for the original album, I wouldn't change a thing ... It's a perfect ten by me! :)
*There is one interesting tidbid that I wanted to add ... On the gold CD, near the end of "Head Over Heals," there are two extra bars of the chorus chanting, before the final lyrics, but I'm not sure if this was material that was edited down for the reissue or looped just for the gold CD release! :)
A while back I picked up "20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection" release issued by Universal Records in 2000. According to the liner notes, the songs have been remastered. I never really thought they sounded that great for remastering. I bought the remastered and reissued "Songs From The Big Chair" (which was actually issued in 1999) album a few weeks back and was blown away by the difference in sound quality. I really don't think the "20th Century Masters" collection was really remastered. Some tracks are quite dull. I've compared "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "Head Over Heels" on both discs and the versions on "Songs From The Big Chair" are much more crisp and clear. I have gained a whole new appreciation for these songs, among the many others featured on this disc. So thumbs up to Universal for at least offering this better, remastered version. For those who say this reissue isn't worth it, take a listen to the difference in sound quality. Then again, if sound quality isn't that important to you, then stick with your original copy.
on April 23, 2006
If you like this band, this is the release that will most familiar to most as it was its best selling sophomore release as well as one of 1983's best sellers period. It was remastered in 2001 with additional cuts as well as US mixes of 2 hit singles, the massive hit Shout as well as the lesser ranking Mothers Talk.
This is a hard review as the original release was perfect so who could argue with a decent remastering job? Especially is you are replacing a cassette or a CD purchased in the 1980a that has probably seen better days. So if either of the above apply, I would do it without a doubt. If you are not interested in their individual releases, and want their greatest hits you should stick to Shout: The Very Best Of Tears For Fears, which was also released in 2001
My main (yet workable) qualm with this remastered release is the that it highlights that it has bonus tracks (which hard-core fans usually year for in principle), and with the exception of being able to hear the differences between the album versus US single cuts of Shout and Mothers talk, all the other bonus cuts make it clear that they should have remained in the vaults.
I wish that had included some worthy B-sides, dance/extended remixes, as they did in ther brilliant rerelease of The Hurting, instead of what sound like working sessions/dubs of the main body of the release. The liner notes highlight that some did not think that the release, which only had 8 cuts did not constitute a full album and that those dissenters would be pleased to know that this release now had double the number of cuts.
My response to those comments are as follows:
To the critics: 8 great cuts beat some of the navel gazing artists who max. out a CDs running time just to give the impession that more means better, or even wrose put out 2 CD releases without any merit.
To the writer of the liner notes and team behind this release. First, 15 cuts is less than 16 so while nit picking the number of cuts has not been doubled. The real problem, as highlighted above is that cuts 9-13 are true fillers.
Final thoughts: I purchased this CD and made my own 5 star mix by recording the 8 original cuts (now remastered) and added cuts 14 and 15. The extraction of cuts 9-13 is essential unless you want to keep pressing for next song.
I am a huge TFT fan and would recommend that any fan buy this collection, as long as they are not doing so due to the belief (those marketing knuckle heads) that they will be getting some unreleased gems. If money is tight and you already have the original CD, stick with that and save your money to consider purchashing their Ultimate Collection 3 CD release (2 CDs plus ! Bonus), which covers all their best, including great songs released when the group's popularity went down. It's not cheap but it has almost all the songs that any true fan would want. Not all, but pretty darn close.
Thanks again to all of you for keeping this forum relevant and for your kind notes. Since you've helped me so much in discovering new artists or staying away from products that I might have otherwise bought.
on August 6, 2001
This is a remastered edition of the group's second album (originally released in February 1985). It contains the original eight tracks plus seven bonus tracks (including two special remixes).
The sound is big and bold, and the music of Tears For Fears is timeless. The group thrives on confronting psychological issues within the context of their music (the album was inspired by the movie "Sybil" starring Sally Field -- the "Big Chair" is what the character called her analyst's chair, and was a place where she felt safe) and their life-affirming message comes across clearly through this material.
4 Stars...sixteen years later and this group can still bring down the house. I especially love the remix of SHOUT included in the bonus tracks.
on February 27, 2015
I got this Blu-Ray the other day and immediately realized it's one of the best sounding music discs I own. I had been disappointed / unimpressed with some other Blu-Ray audio discs I have purchased. But this...WOW!!
Don't even bother with the original stereo mix or the basic 24/96 mix. Meh.
Instead: The default mix is (wisely) the DTS Master 5.1 mix.
FIRST AUDITION ON HEADPHONES:
The DTS Master 5.1 mix is stunning. It's luscious, superb and many other superlatives. It has everything you might dream of (technically) as far as sound quality: Clarity, Punch, excellent Bass, Air, Soundstage and that ever elusive and hard to find: Warmth Without Muddiness.
And yes, I'm hearing many things - instruments, sounds, that I've never heard before till now.
Did I mention that I get this kind of sound quality using my cheapo $30.00 Sony headphones and a consumer grade home theater (Pioneer VSX-1021 which I admit does have DTS decoding) and $200 Sony Blu-Ray player? I can only imagine what this would sound like on a high end system.
OVER MODEST 5.1 SPEAKERS: For speakers I just have Panasonic towers and surround from an older $650 bundle HTIB kit of which I replaced the center speaker with a Definitive Technologies Mythos and the receiver with the Pioneer. This album sounds wonderful and immersive over my present speakers, you are in a whole "world". The only 5.1 mix I can liken it to as an equal for technical competence and clarity is a Jurassic Park 5.1 Blu-Ray that I own - a particular older version before they messed with the screen color rendering.
"Listen"ing ; ) to some of the songs on this Blu-Ray is an out of body experience. (no drugs involved here) I laid on my back on the living room floor looking up at the ceiling taking this all in. Something I don't normally do.
Regardless of using speakers or headphones, I find I can turn this up to ridiculous levels and it doesn't hurt my ears. (be careful with this!) and my ears don't usually tolerate high volumes anymore. Maybe it's the total lack of "Loudness Wars" - I don't know. I just know it's great.
The mixer of this album, Steven Wilson, is at the top of his game here. Highly Recommended. It's great music that doubles as an audio demonstration disc. Value for Money: 11 out of 10. If you like this album and this band and have a Blu-Ray player, BUY IT!!!
P.S. I also tried the 5.1 PCM mix which has a higher bitrate even than the DTS Master. It's a hair more crisp but, to me, it's a bit clinical and has less "soul. There's something about that heavenly DTS Master 5.1 mix I keep coming back to.
P.P.S. This disc proves to me that Blu-Ray Audio, done correctly, is a more than viable replacement for SACD format. (I own a few SACDs that I dearly appreciate and love).
on March 29, 2002
For many TFF fans, The Big Chair album will be forever remembered for it's giant hits 'Shout' and Everybody Wants To Rule The World' as well as the lesser number 3 hit 'Head Over Heels'.
For me while Shout and Everybody Wants To Rule The World are some of the best songs the 80s had to offer, this album has far more to offer than just those two songs alone. I enjoy the parent album versions of Shout and EWTRTW more than the shortened versions that have often appeared on many 80s compilations. I hate when they shorten the great Shout to only 4 minutes. It decreases it's listenability. On the other hand I love the 6 and a half minute version far more.
While Shout and EWTRTW are absolute classics, I often find myself listening to a lot of the other songs on this album more than those two major hits. For example, The Working Hour is in my opinion an incredible song with a strong disturbing melody filled with passion that burns like fire and radiates more emotion and talent with the first few notes of the synthesizers alone than anything that most of todays throwaway artist exhibit on their entire albums. The Working Hour is one of the best songs TFF have ever composed and is one of the major highlights.
The song Head Over Heels is a rich and powerful song. The version on the Tears Roll Down and Shout: Very Best Of TFF CDs ends with just the voice echoing away. On The Big Chair LP, the ending merges with a live performance of Broken that greatly increases it;s listening capibility. It ends with the sound of a crowd cheering ushering in Listen. Listen is a very ominous song with almost apocolyptic lyrics and a dark, brooding atmosphere and thundering beats that sends chills through me during every listen.
The version of The Big Chair I,m reviewing is the remastered version. The original version realeased in February of 1985 had only eight tracks. The remastered edition features seven bonus tracks for an even greater spectrum of TFFs incredible talent. The first three bonus The Big Chair, The Maurauders, and Empire Building, tracks are also available on the B-Sides Rarities collection Saturnine Martial Lunatic. These are moslty quirky instrumentals that casual fans might not enjoy too much but for me, I love every second of them. The Conflict is a song that was previously unreleased. It's a cool song with almost Phil Collins-like beats and bizarre electronic blips. The other three bonus tracks are remixes. Broken Revistited is longer than the original version although less powerful and not as heavy but still great.
The remix of Mothers Talk was the hit version, not the heavier parent album version. I love both versions. The remix version is more jazzy and not quite as aggressive. The U.S. remix of Shout is an eight minute mix that is great. Although it does not do the original version justice at least this is like a good reworking of the song.
I,m so glad I got the remastered version of this CD. In fact I have all three of TFFs first three albums remastered.
For all fans of 80s music get this incredible CD. I would recommend the Remastered edition more because it's almost twice as long as the 1985 version and with 15 tracks instead of just 8.
This is definately one of the best albums of the 20th Century. Don't stop there get the Seeds Of Love next. You'll be surprised at the difference between these two masterpieces. Get The Hurting as well but get the Big Chair and Seeds Of Love. Grrrrrr... Just get every TFF CD. They are all worth owning.
on September 7, 2003
Not as raw and emotional as their debut "The Hurting", "Songs From the Big Chair" is the album that catapulted Curt and Roland into the international consciousness and captured them a place in music history.
Big Chair gave TFF two #1 hits, one for the primal "Shout" and the second for the pop perfection of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". My personal favorite on the album is the dark and thrashing combo of "Broken" and "Head Over Heels/Broken (Live)", which is every bit as good as the chart topping singles. Other standout tracks include "The Working Hour", "Mother's Talk" (which also placed on the charts) and "I Believe". All of the eight original songs are of exceptional quality, and highlight the songwriting and vocal talents of these two young artists. The remastered version also offers an additional seven bonus tracks, which aren't strictly necessary, but add a great glimpse into their creative process. Even if they're not up to the level of the original cuts, the bonuses are definitely enjoyable to listen to, and I'm not one to complain about getting extra TFF music.
Overall Big Chair is a phenomenal release from a pair of artists whose angst and raw energy permeates their work. It's unfortunate that this is the only Tears for Fears album that receives significant attention, as their entire catalogue is of exceptional quality. This is one of those rare albums that is able to transcend its origins ('80's pop), and it belongs on any list of all time classic albums.
on April 11, 2006
This has always been and probably will always be one of my favourite all-time albums. Tracks like "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" and "Head Over Heels" will also be among my all-time favourite songs. However, overall, this album still falls short when compared with their brilliant debut "The Hurting". TFF goes blatantly commercial here and succeeds overwhelmingly with this album becoming their best-selling ever. This version, though remastered does not sound as good a job as with what they did on "The Hurting" as well. The sound is still pretty muddy here and I hope they do a better remastering job soon with just the original 8 tracks and in an mlps format. The additional 7 bonus tracks here are quite horrible and perhaps with the exception of the last two tracks are just so obviously fillers with no artistic or creative merit whatsoever. As Economics 101 teaches us, more is better than less, however that's not the case here as the bonus tracks are so bad that they actually take away from the overall enjoyment of the album. My advice would be to wait for a better remastered album without these bonus tracks to be released.