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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > New Wave > Pop > British > Music Video > Documentary > Tears For Fears – Scenes From The Big Chair (DVD-Video) + Song From The Big Chair – Deluxe Edition CD Set

Tears For Fears – Scenes From The Big Chair (DVD-Video) + Song From The Big Chair – Deluxe Edition CD Set


Picture: C+     Sound: B-/B     Extras: C/B     Film: B     Album: A-



Tears For Fears recently tried a reunion, but unfortunately, it was not the comeback we needed from the duo.  However, their classic music is not going away anytime soon.  We previously listened to their original three albums as collected in the Chronicles set, which you can read about at the following link:





Though their early work is inarguable, the biggest hit remains Songs From The Big Chair and Universal Music wisely reissued the underrated DVD-Video companion Scenes From The Big Chair at the same time they made the actual album one of their excellent Deluxe Edition CD sets.  Too bad it was not an SACD, as I believe it would have been an even bigger hit.


The CD set offers the album with some extra tracks, then a second CD of alternate takes all worth your time as follows:



Disc 1


1. Shout

2. The Working Hour

3. Everybody Wants To Rule The World

4. Mothers Talk

5. I Believe

6. Broken

7. Head Over Heels/Broken (Live)

8. Listen

9. The Working Hour (Piano Version)

10. The Marauders


Disc 2


1. The Way You Are

2. Mothers Talk

3. Shout

4. Everybody Wants To Rule The World

5. Head Over Heels (Remix)

6. I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording)

7. Mothers Talk (US Remix)

8. Shout (US Remix)

9. Shout (US Dub Version)

10. Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Urban Mix)




With the music industry in flux and music of the 1980s in particular being remembered in strangely revisionist ways, it is amazing how when the great albums of that decade are talked about, this one is not noted as often as it should be.  In the previous review, I got technical about it.  Listening to it again, it is even more of a classic now than ever before.  I am amazed at the depth of the lyrics, the amazing engineering, sonics that hold up extremely well for their time and how much of a peak work this was in New Wave, Alternative and Rock.  A Punk aesthetic is at work, as well as an amazing sense of energy and confidence that only an album as savvy as The Hurting could have made possible.


There were many remixes of the songs at the time at a time when this was very uncommon or only for discos and a small number of radio stations.  The post-modernism of current music has finally caught up with the music and these alternate takes.  Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal were at the peak of their powers, even if they did not know it and at times, the album sounds like it was recorded yesterday.


Not only was the music often innovate and bold, but Mercury Records was smart enough to take a chance on the film and Music Video medium by producing the full-length music documentary Scenes From The Big Chair, showing the band on tour, making their classic Videos for the album (especially Head Over Heals, which is more on the money than ever) and shows the full-length clips to boot.  Orzabal and Smith were having fun and that translated into every single thing they did.  This program has been in print almost constantly since its debut on VHS and Beta, and for good reason.  If some can argue the merits of the album (bring ‘em on!), it is even harder to argue that Scenes From The Big Chair is one of the first truly great long-form Video programs, shot entirely on film.


The 1.33 X 1 image for the new DVD (a second release) is a little softer than it should be, but is still very watchable and the Videos look as good as ever.  Needless to say Universal needs to make this one of their first HD-DVD/Blu-ray catalog releases.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 mixes are not bad, but fidelity is limited in either mix and the choice will be a personal preference.  I liked the 5.1 slightly more, though it is no match for the CD, especially this one.


The PCM 2.0 16-bit/44.1kHz Stereo sounds better here than the DVD where applicable, a little better than the single CD from the Chronicles set and even has some detail over the long out-of-print 24K Gold audiophile CD (not reviewed on the site) from the original Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.  Again, why this is not an SACD is mind-boggling, but it is the preferred version of the album to date, give or take those audiophiles who like the vinyl preference.  Of the many Deluxe Edition CD sets, this is one of the best to date.


While the extras for the CD set are the bonus tracks and a nice booklet typical of the Deluxe Edition CD series, the DVD only has direct Video selection and a really good interview with producer Chris Hughes about the album and the band.  Both releases are terrific and highly recommended, though we have a suggestion for Universal.


If Scenes From The Big Chair was issued in HD-DVD and Blu-ray, would it not be a great idea to include the original music album and bonus tracks in 192kHz/24-bit DTS HD Master Audio and/or Dolby TrueHD at the same sonic rate?  That would be better than the slowly defunct DVD-Audio format and you could have 5.1 and 2.0 options.  The material is great enough.  We’ll hold on to these editions until then.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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