Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair Review

Please read Scott Gregory’s pick for Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair before reading and listening to our reviews below.

Quick Summary: 

Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair Review
  • Worth the hype?
  • Influence us and our tastes?
  • Would we recommend?


The songs we remembered from Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair were great. Unfortunately, most of us felt that the other tracks on the album didn’t meet the same standard. This album was from 1985 and was very successful for Rowland Orazabal and Curt Smith who hailed from Bath, England.
You definitely have to keep in mind that this album is over 30 years old and skirts the line of 80s pop and new wave music, which was very popular at that time. We invite you to listen to all our praises and rantings.
Our new audio format is exciting for us and allows us to chat and compare our opinions instead of blindly writing them down. We hope you enjoy the new format!

Our Individual Review Scores
Scott Coates:
Overall opinion: 2 (two hit singles)
Would I recommend?: 1
Influenced my tastes: 0
Worth the hype?: 1
Darren Scott:
Overall opinion: 2.5
Would I recommend?: 2.5
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 2.5
Scott Gregory:
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 5
Influenced our tastes: 4
Worth the hype? 4
Alain DuPuis:
Overall opinion: 3.5
Would I recommend?: 3.5
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 3.5
Greg Jorgensen:
Overall opinion: 2
Would I recommend?: 2
Influenced our tastes: 1
Worth the hype? 2

Review of George Thorogood & the Destroyers: Bad to the Bone

Please read Greg Jorgenson’ pick for George Thorogood & the Destroyers: Bad to the Bone before reading our reviews below.
Quick Summary: 
We like surprises in this group, and I think this album caught most of us off guard. Sure, some of us had fond memories of GT&TD but we weren’t sure how an album like Bad to the Bone would hold up.
Overall, we were impressed at the fact that that this album was still so fun. We had different opinions obviously, but most agreed that this album was a fun introduction into rockin’ blues. The band kept the rhythm and songs on point and it was just so fun. We would all recommend this album. Please read and listen to the reviews.
What was cool about this album:

  • Bad to the Bone. I mean… c’mon.
  • Introduced white kids to classic blues.
  • It just rocks.

What we didn’t find so cool:

  • Sounded similar across several songs
  • Not groundbreaking music at the time, but hit the right people at the right time..

We have also implemented a rating scale that you will see below in the reviews. All ratings are out of 5.
Our Reviews Average:
Overall opinion: 4
Would we recommend?: 4
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 4
Read our full individual reviews below. 
Don’t agree with us? Have a comment or suggestions? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or contact us.

Our Full Reviews

Greg-JorgensenGreg Jorgensen’s Review
The first time I heard this album – back when “rock and roll” meant Def Leppard to my untrained ears – music like this was fun but strange. It had elements of badass rock and roll, but also seemed aimed at the band camp geeks at school (who mixes electric guitar with saxophone??). And what’s with the drums? They were strong but not crazy, and of course I knew that REAL drummers threw their sticks up in the air and tossed their sweaty hair around. and just when things got going, the next song would be a slow shuffle where the drummer used one of those weird whisk things. What was this stuff?
What a blast from the past. It’s no wonder this one has stood the test of time. While listening it struck me that this would be the perfect set list of a live gig – hard, driving, blues songs broken up by slower pieces that show off the band’s talents on their individual instruments and let the front man connect with the crowd.
The songs were suitably different from each other that each one shined on its own merits. Standouts for me were Back to Wentzville, which started things off with a bang, New Boogie Chillen, and the down-tempo It’s a Sin/As the Years Go Passing By, both lovely, relaxed little pieces that are perfect stories to be told by George’s somewhat-shaky vocals. I liked Wanted Man too, but it somehow felt it should be a song by Bon Jovi from the Young Guns soundtrack.
And then there’s Bad to the Bone. Man, those guys sure struck gold on this one – there are only a handful of songs out there that are immediately recognizable from the first note, and even less that remain so toe-tappingly listenable after nearly 4 decades.
One of the negatives for me were that some songs sounded like a diary entry: “I was walkin’ down the street” followed by a rush of music. Then another statement: “And my shoe came off.” More music, as in No Particular Place to Go, which seemed to repeat the same few verses over and over. Not awful to listen to, just…stretching the boundaries of what a ‘song’ is I guess.
Overall this is a great listen, and I’d love to see a live set of this album from top to bottom. These guys are in total control on every song.
Overall Opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend: 5
Influenced my tastes: 0
Worth the hype: 4.5
smcoates-About-Picture-200x300Scott Coates’s Review
Bad to the Bone sounds about as classic as it gets. I’ve seemingly known the title track as long as I’ve been old enough to make my own musical choices. The opening guitar lick, lyrics and attitude exude rebelliousness in a pretty innocent way. Diving into the album as a complete work, I was quite surprised how vintage many of the songs sound despite being released in 1982. Not vintage in a bad way, but a good number of the tracks sound as though they’d fit better into the 1950s than the eighties when Bad to the Bone was released.
Thorogood was definitely tapping blues and jazz roots, laid down decades before by mostly black musicians who brought a new musical style to the forefront. He and the Destroyers put a safe Caucasian polish on the style, making it accessible to the masses. Most songs on the album are toe-tapping fun that can be listened to and enjoyed by a wide cross section of society. It’s a pretty safe and stylish format.
Bad to the Bone is a classic winner that will stand the test of time. No need to go on further about this very well known staple. It’s a Sin is one of the more surprising tracks on the album. It’s pure fifties I can imagine high school sweethearts dancing to at the annual Under the Sea ball. For that matter, it would have been a great song on the Back to the Future soundtrack. No Particular Place to Go was a standout, laying down some fun blues-rock vibes with lyrics that could be the soundtrack of any weekend strolling around town. Showing a side of diversity, Wanted Man grabbed my attention. It’s more of a country song than a rock or blues one and could just as easily appear on a George Straight album.
Overall Bad to the Bone is a fun, easy going album you could put on almost anytime, for any crowd and it wouldn’t offend. I’ll dive into some other Thorogood albums in the near future, but likely won’t come back to Bad to the Bone frequently as I found it a bit repetitive at times. That said, when I need something predictable, fun, and a bit rocking, it will grace my speakers.
Overall opinion: 3.5
Would I recommend?: 3.5
Influenced my tastes: 3
Worth the hype?: 4
Darren ScottDarren Scott’s Review 
Please check out my audio review of this album as we are trying new things here at The Sonic Collective. We figure it might be more informative and entertaining to have these reviews as audio or even video going forward. Hopefully we make the time to execute on this.

The Summary of my review is:
I’m sure not many under 35 music fans have any idea who George Thorogood & The Destroyers are, but I really loved this album though when I was in high school we listened to George Thorogood and The Destroyers live album which was a few years after the release of Bad to the Bone.
I don’t actually see his music style as an influence (name another boogie oogie blues band) but what he did was taught 80s white kids the blues. Think of a blues riff? Does it sound like Bad to the Bone? Yup. By introducing white north American kids to the blues he opened doors and eyes for young aspiring bands to seek out the roots of rock. This was very influential to upcoming rock artists. However, his style of music was a bit of a dying art form.
This is a great introduction to Blues and is fun as heck. Lots of covers here that many would not know they are covers. I really liked this album and had fun with it. Great band and worth a listen.
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 4
Worth the hype?: 4
Scott GregoryScott Gregory’s Review
I don’t know why, but I seriously couldn’t get into this album. I always considered myself a fan of George Thorogood, and who can argue with the pure testoterone oozing out of the titular track, Bad to the Bone, but I guess I’m a fan of George being spread out over a playlist. These reviews are about full albums, and I apparently can’t sit through a whole George Thorogood album.
He’s an incredible guitar player, and has one of those signature styles I really appreciate, but that didn’t seem to enough to carry me through. Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s talk about the one thing I definitely enjoyed: the slower tracks. I never associated George with a super bluesy slow jam, but there are a couple tracks that really forced me to expand my perception of GT.
As The Years Go Passing By is a very emotional track. I don’t listen to a lot of blues, so there could be tons better saxophone out there. I’m comparing it to George Michael’s Careless Whisper and Tim Capello’s I Still Believe off the Lost Boy’s soundtrack (great track), so that should let you know how qualified I am to judge sax work. Still, I know what I like, and I liked this one. You might like it too.
It’s A Sin is my second-most-favourite song titled It’s A Sin. While not quite as up-tempo and political as the Pet Shop Boys track, I think I can relate more to George’s plight. While I would gladly karaoke either song, I think George’s song would be easier after six or seven shots, and actually still sound very authentic. Plus, more sax. Maybe I’m turning in to a sax addict?
I think we’ve established I’m not a blues fan, new or old, even when performed by someone whom I think has a great voice and is a talented guitarist. If you’re in to the rhythm and blues thing, I think this one was meant for you instead.Bad to the Bone is on this album, and who can resist singing along to that?
Worth at least one listen, and if you don’t like it you can add that one song to your singing in the shower playlist and be done with it.
Overall Opinion: 3
Would I recommend: 3
Influenced my tastes: 1
Worth the hype: 3
alain-dupuisAlain Dupuis’ Review 
When I saw the email come in enlightening me that this month’s pick would be Bad to the Bone, I groaned. My knowledge of George Thorogood didn’t exceed any further than the title track, “Bad to the Bone”, a song that I really don’t care for. I figured I’d be in for a disappointing review this month. Happily, I was wrong. I actually really enjoyed this album. It has just the right mix of rock, country, blues,  and southern storytelling to keep me intrigued. It’s very different from the kind of music I tend to reach for.
Three songs on the album stood out to me as instantly likeable. The first track, Back to Wentzville is fun, fast-paced, and exudes rock and roll. It has all the hallmarks of one of those classic old-timey rock songs. Saxophone solos, pianos, blues guitar chords, and an ode to his car. Nobody But Me, and No Particular Place to Go are equally enjoyable for most of the same reasons, with varying degrees of bluesy guitar solos and sax solos. I loved the energy and the storytelling.
Where the album is weakest is with the slower songs. (I’d hesitate to call them ballads.) Songs like It’s a Sin just aren’t that fun to listen to. Thorogood’s vocals are…  well, lets just say he could be outshined by any of the regulars at the bar where I host Karaoke. Wanted Man is another one that really just doesn’t keep me too engaged. I’m not even gonna talk about Bad to the Bone because I hate it. I’ve heard it ad-nauseum since I was a little kid.
I liked the album overall. Does it hold up to modern music? Not a chance. The bravado-oozing, self-congratulatory lyrics are best served in hip-hop music these days. The songwriting isn’t groundbreaking. In fact, it’s pretty elementary. The vocal skills of George are not exactly gonna set hearts and minds on fire. But, all together with the skillful instrumentals to accompany him, listeners are able to just forget about the real world and enter a world where cruising around in a Cadillac Coupe DeVille trolling for  groupies all night appears to be the greatest thing ever. I don’t know what it is about the album, but I just really enjoyed it. Great pick, Greg! I’m glad I was wrong about this one.
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 3
Worth the hype? 4

Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair

If you’ve tuned in to a couple reviews, you’ll see I rate many albums by how inclined I am to add it to my morning shower karaoke. I’ve also managed to hide it for over a year, but I’m also deeply addicted to 80s music, particularly from either the UK or Australia. I can fight it no longer. I’m Broken. I have to Shout the name of this band that has me Head Over Heels. Ladies and gentlmen, I give you Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears.
tears-for-fears-songs-from-the-big-chairWhen first looking it up, I didn’t expect the album to have only 8 tracks, and for half of them to be singles. It made me all the more curious how the entire thing would come together. Will the new songs weave my favourite singles in to a greater story previously unknown? What emotional journey might await?
Numerous music magazines list this as not only one of the top albums of the 80s, but on their “must listen to before you die” lists, so I’m very hopeful. It’s the second studio album by the band, and normally I’d be a little leery of a sophomore slump, but considering the #1 chart rankings for both the album and singles across multiple countries, I think we’ll be ok.
So feather that hair and get ready to belt out some old favourites while hopefully meeting some new ones! My only regret is that the song with the greatest <https://youtu.be/u1ZvPSpLxCg?t=2m15s> is off a different album. (That’s right Michael Jackson, I said it.)
Songs from the Big Chair on Wikipedia
Album link on iTunes
Official Tears for Fears website
More awesome 80s dancing