Artist – Tears for Fears
Album – Songs from the Big Chair
Year – 1985
Genre – New Wave
Keep in mind I will be reviewing the section of the song that goes until 4:20 on the video.
I saw an article that stated if you had to choose one of the most seminal albums of the 80’s, Songs from the Big Chair would take that title. I wholeheartedly agree. The album, which spawned several huge hits, included “Head Over Heels” one of my favorite Tears for Fears songs. It may come across as all 80’s glitz and flash and may seem all show at first listen, but this is actually a heartbreaking song about unrequited feelings.
The opening piano, strings and guitar are all very New Wave-y sounding and seem to paint the picture of the song as happy and sunny, but upon further listen this is certainly not the case. However, singer Roland Orzabal’s early vocal antics, including some great falsetto jumps, really hook you. His trademark sound is deep, but very melodic and clear. The steady beat drives the song to the chorus, with some synth in the background to keep it interesting.
The melody of the chorus in this song is why it’s a hit. The sad, yet strangely upbeat tempo and tone in Orzabal’s voice, as well as those continued falsetto jumps keep you firmly engaged. The synth behind the chorus also adds some lush texturing and adds a nice body to the vocals. The verses and chorus have their own unique qualities and melody that work together to create one great whole, as opposed to two alright halves.
As the song continues, after some more verse/chorus repetition, there’s a really cool chorus section with some guitar work over the top that, again, keeps the song interesting. This continues to the end, capping off a song that is melodically vocally very well done, and has a lot of interesting tones and textures. Keep and ear open for some cool flanger effects thrown in as well.
To be honest, I never really paid too much attention to the lyrical content and emotion when I used to listen to this song. I always thought it was just a cheesy tune from the era of hair metal and one hit wonders. However, this song is very sad and you can feel Orzabal’s emotion as he sings once you put the lyrics into context. From the beginning, Orzabal sings of just wanting to get to know a girl on the most basic level, something most every guy does. However, as evidenced by the chorus, he quickly develops romantic feelings for her, which are (going back to the verse) seemingly unrequited and he’s left feeling like she’s just wasted his time and trashed his heart.
The way Orzabal hits those high notes and sings the chorus, you can feel his frustration. He channels the feelings echoed in the lyrics straight into his performance for all to hear. You really get the senses he’s fed up with being through this scenario so many times, and is sick of just being lonely. It’s hard when you put yourself out there with nothing given back, or when you’re outright ignored. To that extent, I relate to this song in every way. I can directly mirror my own experience with the lyrics. It’s that ability to relate and emote in a song that makes it truly great. So if anyone’s looking for a great song about wanting to fall in love but it not ever seeming to work out, look no further than this song.
Thanks for reading everyone. I’d be head over heels for you if you leave a like, comment, follow this blog, or share it today! Or anytime really.