Why Tears For Fears Keep Coming Close to Breaking Up

Tears for Fears duo Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith reflected on the fact that they still come close to breaking up, saying it was part of the “marriage” that made their music work.

They just released their seventh studio album The Tipping Point, which arrived 18 years after its predecessor, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. The 2004 record came after Smith had been away for nine years. In a new interview with Variety, he said he’d come close to quitting in 2019, a period he used as inspiration for the song “Stay.”

“Well, what keeps me here is the fact that I’m enjoying it now,” he explained. “At the time that was written, I wasn’t enjoying it…  I’m not saying even that it was bad. I just didn’t feel an affinity with it.” He described “Stay” as a sad song because it didn’t suggest a feeling of “stamp your feet, ‘I want things my way’,” but instead a feeling of “It would be sad to leave this behind.”

He continued: “In that sense, that is a constant struggle. But it’s the nature of the struggle of being in a duo. Both of us will go through periods where we don’t know if we should be working together… But I think that’s not an ego thing… You may be walking away to say, ‘Well, if that’s what you want to do, you go ahead and do that. I’m with you, but I can’t be a part of it.’”

Listen to Tears For Fears’ ‘Stay’

Orzabal said the difficult times were “much easier” to deal with than in the past, noting:  “We’re never too worried about taking each other too seriously. But I do think that we have a more profound respect for each other… If we bicker now or if we argue now, it only lasts a couple of minutes, and then one of us says: ‘OK, shall we have a cup of tea?’” Smith added: “In marriage terms, we’ve got to the ‘Yes, dear’ stage of our relationship.”

Orzabal argued that their sense of maturity was “the beauty” of The Tipping Point, adding: “You’ve got people coming to terms with themselves, coming to terms with each other through a relatively – relatively – at times turbulent relationship. And also people who, as artists, are keen to share our perspective on the world: how we see it; not coming from a position on the left or a position on the right, but trying to spread education, information and awareness to try and make the world, dare I say, a better place.”

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