Review: “The Seeds Of Love” by Tears For Fears (CD, 1989)

Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the 1989 third album The Seeds Of Love by duo Tears For Fears. Is this album full of Love, or will it feel like it’s just gone to seed? Read on…

Tears For Fears - Sowing The Seeds (1989) album

I admit that I have heard this album before, a few times, simply because my sister used to borrow the LP version of it from our local library. It’s been a good 25 years since I’ve heard it though, so was happy to rescue it on CD when I saw it in a second-hand music store in Brighton.

The album opens with the chugging bassline of and arpeggio guitars of Woman In Chains, the second single from the album for the duo, and a springboard for featured vocalist Oleta Adams, who sings here with Roland Orzabal. Reading the sleeve notes, I spot that Phil Collins gets a credit here as the drummer, but I’ll let that pass.

Second track Badman’s Song bursts in, much rockier than Woman In Chains, and Oleta’s vocals here really work well alongside Roland’s. The track weighs in at 8m 33s, and is a progressive song that builds and evolves throughout – lots of stadium rock sounds (it was written whilst they were on tour), and plenty of jazz styling in here too.

Next up is the lead single and huge hit Sowing The Seeds Of Love – a brilliant anthem of the summer of 1989. It came complete with an attention grabbing video, that no doubt helped it fly up the charts to #5 (how this missed #1, i’ll never know). There’s some serious Beatles meets Wall Of Sound styling going on here, and that really helps to make this track sound so grand.

This is followed by third single, Advice For The Young At Heart, which sees Roland take back seat, and allows bandmate Curt Smith to lead on vocals. I really quite like this song, and find it catchy. The strings and vocal harmonies really make this a delight to listen to. Sadly it stalled at #36 in the UK charts.

Standing On The Corner Of The Third World is gently eased in with what sounds like some synth panpipes. Oleta returns here, but this time only on piano. The song kind of wanders through its 5m 34s, again in a jazz style. It’s mellow, with it’s bass, although gets a lift at about 3 mins in, when backing singers Tessa Niles and Carol Kenyon let rip, backed with trumpets. Then the track returns to it’s slinky jazz sound.

This is followed by Swords And Knives which arrives amongst piano and a gentle synth. Roland’s vocals sound soulful here towards the beginning, and not unlike George Michael.

This flows almost flawlessly into next track, Year Of The Knife, which sounds like a live track at the start, but seems to give way to a studio one. This one is quite up-beat, and again carries an air of The Beatles at times, particularly the A Day In The Life-esque sequence at about 4 mins in. The rest of the song is quite an up-beat rock number.

The album aptly closes with Famous Last Words, which was both the final single from the album, and the final single from the duo, who decided to call it quits shortly afterwards. This is a really nice song – again, carrying quite a rocky feeling, but one that grows and then fades, with plenty of piano, and the final moments being just Roland and a piano.

Lead single, ‘Sowing The Seeds Of Love’


Overall, this is a great 80s rock-pop album. A couple of the tracks feel a little bit too long, but most pass without clock-watching. Oleta’s vocals work beautifully here alongside those of Roland, the latter of whom really knows how to belt out a song.

The album was swiftly followed by a tour (including Oleta, whose own solo album was released at this time), a book, and a video compilation. The album took almost a year and a half to record, and cost £1m to do so.

Rated 3 stars! It's a nice album.
  • POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 1989 UK ALBUM CHART POSITION: #1, certified Platinum.
  • POP RESCUE 2014 COST: £3.00 from HD2Brighton in Brighton.

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