Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Change, You Can Change

'Change' is a song written and performed by English group Tears For Fears. Everyone over thirty-five years of age will likely know them for their big hit 'Shout' as a typical 80s staple. 'Shout, shout, let it all out, these are the things I can do without...'

They had that, and 'Everyone Wants to Rule the World,' among other much smaller hits like 'Mothers Talk,' 'Head Over Heels' and 'Sowing the Seeds of Love,' but the one that really strikes me is 'Change.' Recorded earlier than the aforementioned hits, it was an early hit for them in 1983 and charted well internationally, giving the band their first notice elsewhere than their homeland. It's a simple song that sounds kind of New Wave and kind of pop.

It was written (as virtually all Tears for Fears hits) by Roland Orzabal, and sung by bassist Curt Smith (Orzabal and Smith were basically the two faces of the group, while also being supported by Manny Elias on drums and Ian Stanley on keyboards). Apparently, according to Orzabal, there isn't much meaning behind the lyrics, or intent, and they are rather just 'cheap pop lyrics.' I like to add meaning to them, though, because they seem meaningful to some extent - 'you walked into the room/I just had to laugh/the face you wore was cool/you were a photograph...' then there's the big calling of the song: 'well it's all too late.'
That refrain really strikes me. I feel I can relate to it quite well, as well as the opening lyric about laughing at someone's entrance - social awkwardness, insinuating a wrongful reaction by mistake and impulse, and it's all too late to change it. I didn't mean to laugh, you looked perfect. You know.

In general, the song has a sombre tone to it, as if the focus is of one who has just had a let-down of a day or encounter. There's a bit of anxiety to the music as well, but in between everything there's also this soothing sense to it. 'Now what's happened to the friend I once knew/has he gone away?' Then Ian's keyboard bit takes off.

Curt Smith's vocals are part of what makes the song soothing to me - his voice sounds smooth and easy to listen to as he sings the 'it's all too late' refrain. That's what drew me to the song, as well as his bass playing and general tone.

All in all, it's a good if not gloomy song that I like due to its relatability, atmosphere and lyrics, and Curt's voice. Perhaps what makes Roland Orzabal say it's 'meaningless' is the main chorus - 'change, you can change' - as that kind of phrase has been around for a long time, by adding it into a pop song now (or then, when it was released) it's become meaningless. It's kind of like a cliche. Of course you can change. But I still enjoy the rest of it.

'Well it's all too late...'

Music: B+
Lyrics: B+

Justin C.

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