Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
Possibly the only act to pull off the much-desired transition from pseudo-New Romantic synth duo to mid-eighties globe-straddling stadium rock megastars, Tears For Fears had been suspiciously quiet since their infamous Live Aid no-show, last sighted in public with an hilariously lazy rejigging of Everybody Wants To Rule The World - as Everybody Wants To Run The World - for hastily carpet-swept-under Live Aid spinoff Sport Aid. Whenever anyone took such a breather in the mid-late eighties, ill-founded rumours invairably suggested that they were hard at work in the studio, intricately labouring over their Own Personal Sergeant Pepper. Except in this case, the rumours were actually very well founded indeed. NINE POINTS.
Brought His Mellotrode And Freaked ‘Em All Out
Jangly guitars, rippling backing vocals, that descending chord sequence, dreamy woodwind break, weird synth noises, gospel-inflected extemporising (courtesy of Oleta Adams), spoken word bits hidden deep in the mix, demented Hammond-hammering, phasing – and varispeeded phasing at that – and, of course, Penny Lane trumpet. This has got the lot, including the kitchen sink, which Curt Smith once onlyhalf-jokingly claimed was sampled for one of the percussion sounds. Plus, and gaining it that all-important extra point, the only appearance of a genuine ‘mellotrode’ in this entire contest. TEN POINTS.
On The Bus Or Off The Bus?
Wow, now we’re talking. Any song that starts off by claiming that it’s “high time we made a stand, shook up the views of the common man” has to be on to something, and indeed the lyrics go on to tie in all that overhyped peace and love stuff with modern-day Acid House shenanigans, urges vigorous reading of books, and promises “an end to need, and the politics of greed, with love”. Meanwhile, hidden in the middle of all this is a vitriolic second verse that lays into a certain ‘Politician Granny’ with high ideals who has no idea how the majority feels, and throws in an entirely gratuitous swipe at Paul Weller for good measure, shaming him into mounting his own attempts at sounding A Bit Like The Beatles two years too late. And, as if it needs to be pointed out, “every minute of every hour, I love a sunflower”. Taxi for New Kids On The Block! TEN POINTS.
The Green And Purple Lights Affect Your Sight
Roland and Curt lip-synch their way through a maze of whirling planets, clouds, guitars, fish, hands, paisley wallpaper, newspapers, darboard boxes, brass map things, drinking birds, sunflowers, animated thingymajigs off a late eighties ‘Tonight… On BBC2!’ trailer, and blonde women with Yahoo Serious hair. It only loses a couple of points for being quite obviously rendered in that same video effects package that was commonly used around then everywhere from Enya videos via Sylvester McCoy-era Doctor Who to, yes, ‘Tonight… On BBC2!’ trailers. EIGHT POINTS.
I’m Picking Up Bad Vibrations
Quite aside from inflating the indignance of all those characters in school who red-facedly scowled that it “sounds exactly like a Beatles song that I don’t know the name of but it sounds exactly like it!!”, Sowing The Seeds Of Love and its associated lengthy studio sessions were instrumental in causing a rift within the band itself, with Curt departing in somewhat less than ‘Musical Differences’ circumstances immediately after they finished touring the album. Priceless. TEN POINTS.
Ha Ha Ha… We Blew Your Mind!
Said parent album, The Seeds Of Love, was indeed an ambitious neo-psychedelic offering from start to finish, especially the fab Swords And Knives (which includes weird backward-but-forward snatches of Sowing The Seeds Of Love in the background), and while Curt’s curt departure prevented the band from exploring this sonic avenue much further, it must be pointed out that the single’s original b-side, Tears Roll Down (Laid So Low), later became a bona fide hit single in its own right. SEVEN POINTS, bringing them to a not exactly acrimonious total of FIFTY FIVE POINTS.
And so, the results… in last place come Bros, staring into their bank balance with a sorry-if-identical-looking NINETEEN POINTS. Just above them are Danny Wilson and New Kids On The Block, whose game but not quite convincing efforts net them TWENTY FOUR POINTS and TWENTY SEVEN POINTS respectively. Madonna’s mixed bag nets her THIRTY FOUR POINTS, and Hue & Cry’s similar shortcomings find them just slightly ahead with FORTY ONE POINTS. Taking off into the stratosphere, Jason Donovan makes FORTY SIX POINTS, Swing Out Sister FORTY NINE POINTS, but the clear winners are Tears For Fears with an unassailable FIFTY FIVE POINTS. Looks like we’d better split the trophy in two, then.
Anyway, everyone at Out On Blue Six hopes you’ve enjoyed this voyage to Not-Quite-Trip-Out-City, and that you’ll join us again in a couple of days for news of an exciting Christmas bonanza…