Friday, March 21, 2008

Music You Should Know: Raoul and the Kings of Spain

I've been a fan of Tears For Fears since they arrived on the scene in the 80s. "The Hurting" is a fan-freaking-tastic set of tunes, and Roland and Curt's follow-up recordings, "Songs From the Big Chair" and "The Seeds of Love" solidified their status as one of the best - and most cerebral - bands of the era. After "Seeds", Roland and Curt had, to put it kindly, a very bad falling out. Curt went his own way, and Roland continued to perform under the name "Tears For Fears." And you know what? Roland reaaaally didn't need Curt. Under the Tears For Fears moniker, Roland put out two fairly amazing CDs, "Elemental" and "Raoul and the Kings of Spain." The Sasquatch and I got to see Roland on the "Raoul" tour - holy moley, did it ever kick ass. "Elemental" got more play than "Raoul" did, and I think a lot of folks really missed out. If you missed out on "Raoul", go find yourself a copy on SecondSpin. You won't regret it. Enjoy the video for the title track:

After "Raoul", Roland put out another recording under his own name - "Tomcats Screaming Outside." While a bit less commercial than either "Elemental" or "Raoul", it's damn good, and after a few listens, it will really grow on you. One of my friends has declared this to be his favorite Tears For Fears CD, as a matter of fact, no matter whose name is on it.

Yeah, Roland and Curt have healed their rift, but frankly - as as evil as this sounds - I wish they hadn't. "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" just didn't do it for me. I'd rather hear more from Roland alone.

I passed on the overpriced tickets for the "Happy Ending" tour when they came to DC in late 2004. But I still got to see Tears For Fears. At least the half I wanted to see, that is. Stopping by a coffee shop on the way to work, I saw Roland sitting in a corner, nursing a cup of tea. And, since I am the Person Who Will Talk To Anyone, I went over and introduced myself. Had a nice 10-minute conversation with him and left with an even better impression of him than I already had (and that was pretty darn good, already.) No cell phone camera back then, alas. Just warm fuzzy memories.

More solo stuff, Roland. Please.

(You really don't need Curt. Seriously.)


Anonymous said...

Seeing Tears for Fears will always bring back great memories for me. First off - they really introduced me to my favorite singer/songwriter Michael Penn. In I think 1990, I was working for Circuit City and won tickets to see TFF in a sales contest - Michael happened to open for them and that's really where it started for me. It was the Sowing the Seeds tour which also introduced the world to Oleta Adam's fantastic vioce.

I then saw Jellyfish and TFF together second row tower theater a few years later. Not a Jellyfish fan, but it was an awesome show.

But you hit the nose on the head - there isn't a TFF album I dislike - and I think Elemental and especially Raoul are horribly overlooked. I wouldn't say Roland doesn't need Curt - the first two CDs don't exist without him - but you're right, those albums are as good in a different way.

I'll have to whip those out this weekend. Thanks

Merujo said...

Seeds of Love came out when I was living in Moscow. I will never forget taking a weekend trip to Warsaw and hearing the title track in a cab from the airport - it would be months before I could get my hands on the CD. I just watched the video for "Woman in Chains" the other night - so very cool that TFF basically discovered her. I may have to post that video, too.

And, *damn*, man - TFF and MP? Good god, that had to have been a freaking amazing concert!!

Anonymous said...

Funny story - as part of my prize, I had a back stage pass but didn't realize it until years later. Could have gone back stage - it probably would have failed to impress as much as it would now, but still