Seventeen years after their last album Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, the duo behind hit 80s' songs “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” will return in 2022 with their next project, The Tipping Point.
Tears for Fears have set their new album's arrival for February 25 via Concord Records. Ahead of the release, they have shared The Tipping Point's title song, artwork, and full tracklist.
The title track was built out of a "haunting backing track idea" created by the band's co-producer Charlton Pettus, and comes with a new video directed by Matt Mahurin. It was inspired by a series of professional and personal “tipping points” in the years following Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith's 2004 album. For Orzabal, a personal tipping point was the tragic passing of his wife Caroline in 2017.
“It came at a time when my (late) wife was very ill. I was watching her become a ghost of her former self. So the song’s narrator is in a hospital ward looking at people about to cross the threshold that we call death,” he told Rolling Stone.
“The line in the song says, ‘Will you ever know when it’s the Tipping Point?’ meaning, will you ever know when a person has crossed that threshold from life to death when you cannot even perceive that ‘vague and distant void’ as it’s described in the lyric. I have to admit that even in March 2016 when I was read the riot act by doctors about Caroline possibly not making it through the weekend, I was still in denial. I think that when you’ve been close to someone for decades, they are living within you as well as without. And consciously I did not believe she would die, though subconsciously I was, without doubt, preparing for the inevitable, arming myself against the future shock.”
Tears for Fears hadn’t intended to take a seventeen-year hiatus between albums. “I would say life and geography got in the way,” Smith admitted to Rolling Stone, adding that while the band still toured often, they didn’t want to be “helicopter parents” to their then-young children.
Pitchfork reports the new album had originally been set for a 2017 release; the duo discussed the delay in a statement with the album announcement. “Before everything went so right with this album, everything first had to go wrong. It took years, but something happens when we put our heads together,” Orzabal said.
When it came time to create a new album a few years back, the duo noted they were encouraged by previous management to work with “today’s hitmakers,” each of whom tried to "recreate a Tears for Fears classic." The sessions ended up being a total disaster and were another tipping point for the band.
So Orzabal and Smith decided to do something they hadn't done since they were teenagers: they sat in a room holding their acoustic guitars and just made music. What came of that was the opening track “No Small Thing,” the spark that ignited the rest of The Tipping Point.
Tears for Fears plan to have an extensive tour in support of their 2022 album. While dates have yet to be announced, tickets for their July 9 show at the Lytham Festival are available now on Ticketmaster. The Tipping Point is also available for pre-order.
Listen to "The Tipping Point" below.
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