The first new album from English pop-rockers Tears For Fears in 17 years is inspired by a series of personal and professional “tipping points”, such as the tragic death of founding member Roland Orzabal’s wife in 2017. Orzabal and Curt Smith have been fearless in tapping into these events to create “The Tipping Point”. Given that background, it would be easy to expect a rather downcast record, but that is not the case. The initially Johnny Cash, Bob Dylanesque opener, “No Small Thing”, begins quietly but builds to an anthemic chorus and Sergeant Pepperesque ending. The title track contains a synth beat that is reminiscent of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, but doesn’t reach that song’s epic heights. “Break the Man” showcases Orzabal’s baritone and Smith’s falsetto well. One of the saddest songs on the record, “Please be Happy”, a heart-breaking track with haunting piano chords which speaks of a loved one suffering from alcoholism “curled up in your chair”, still contains optimism – “I still believe, this love can grow” – futility is part of the tragedy. None of the songs reach the bombastic heights of the band’s biggest hits “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, but that does not mean the album doesn’t have real depth. It is as emotionally honest as their 1983 debut album, “The Hurting” but reflects where the band are today, experienced and weathered. It still contains trademark catchy choruses and thoughtful lyrics, but somehow sounds more mainstream than they have in the past, and a little like Coldplay in places. Still, with this record, Tears for Fears have turned tragedy into a life-affirming song cycle.
4/6 | Anne-Marie Forker
Release date: 25 February 2022