Posted in Album Reviews

Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point (2022)

Reading websites that focus on reissues, Tears For Fears’ The Seeds of Love was something of a holy grail of albums waiting for the deluxe treatment.  It finally came out in 2020 and with a Greatest Hits album from 2017, the duo were back in the public eye. While their 2004 reunification barely caused a ripple, The Tipping Point seems to have struck a chord with old and new fans alike.

Appearing on several TV shows and in videos, Smith looks healthy and tanned, Orzabal wise with a longer hair and a greying beard.  The sound has a mature feel with light electronics sprinkled throughout. The duo ease the listener into the album with the acoustic guitar of “No Small Thing”. First single and title track, adds those electronics to the mix with a cascading guitar on a song about Orzabal’s wife who had recently passed away.  “So who’s that ghost knockin’ at my door?/you know that I can’t love you more”.  His relationship with his wife is touched on again later on “Please Be Happy” where Orzabal sings the heartbreaking line, “I still believe this love can grow”.

For “Long, Long, Long Time”, Smith takes over the vocals with help from Carina Round on the chorus that provides a nice change of sound.  The feminist theme of “Break the Man” is obscured for the casual listener by a poptastic chorus. “Master Plan” takes on a more expansive sound on the late album highlight. With plenty of great tracks to choose from, Orzabal and Smith have made a classy album nearly 40 years on from their debut.

8/10

Posted in Album Reviews

Trainspotting: Music from the Motion Picture (1996)

Trainspotting based on the Irvine Welsh novel follows the lives of several Scottish mates, most of whom are addicted to heroin. The movie depicts the staggering destruction the drug can do in a person’s life but also mixes in plenty of laughs and one of the best film soundtracks ever.  Mixing alternative classics, Britpop and techno – the soundtrack was massively successful upon release in 1996.  The album starts with the first of two big indie disco night hits with Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”. Originally released in the late 70s, the song gets a new release on life as a whole new generation discovers the classic drum beat from Hunt Sales.

The album immediately takes it’s foot off the gas for the ambient sounds of Brian Eno and the bubbling dance sounds of Primal Scream. Sleeper performs a very good faithful cover of Blondie’s “Atomic” before the New Order’s “Temptation” sings of “Oh, you’ve got green/blue/grey eyes”.  The album then takes one of the highlights from Blur’s underrated first album with “Sing”.  Lou Reed soundtracks one of the most powerful scenes in the movie when “Perfect Day” plays while Renton (Ewan McGregor) ODs before being revived in the hospital. The song’s deadpan singing of a wonderful day out perfectly fits the harrowing scene.

Originally a b-side, Pulp makes an appearance with “Mile End”, a fitting track that describes an unlivable flat in London that captures the domestic lives of the characters. Nearly bookending the album, Underworld’s smash techno crossover hit “Born Slippy .NUXX” appears. Playing in the final scenes of the movie, the song with it’s “lager lager lager” lyrics is regarded as a landmark electronic track. 

Arriving a few years before Napster and online streaming, the Trainspotting soundtrack plays like an excellent mixtape that people used to pass on to one another. While the segue from Iggy Pop to Brian Eno is an odd one, several of the tracks flow nicely from one track to the next.  Like any good mixtape, it has well known favourites and a few unknown gems for listeners to discover.  Like the movie, the Trainspotting soundtrack still holds up 25 years later.

9/10