I got up early this morning to do some server maintenance, but as I was sipping my coffee and absentmindedly glancing at Twitter, I noticed that Tears for Fears — one of my favorite bands from the ’80s — was trending.
Half the time, when someone’s trending, it means they just died. With a band, hard to say. But it’s definitely a coin toss between something tragic or something completely irrelevant outside the warped world of Twitter, and in this case, it was the latter, in the form of a tweet asking people to pick between them and Hall and Oates.
Hall and Oates or Tears For Fears? These are the only two choices… No ties… If you don't like either, keep scrolling!
— Official Account of "Bad" Brad Berkwitt (@BadBradRSR) October 1, 2021
Well, of course I had to get in on this. Below is a lightly edited version of the tweet thread I produced on the topic.
I have to guess from the fact that Tears for Fears are trending but Hall and Oates aren’t, that more people prefer Tears for Fears. Oh, where do I begin?
First, yes. Hall and Oates.
I love both, but they can’t really be compared.
Second, anyone who is even inclined to make the comparison is apparently unaware of a thing called “the ’70s”.
Hall and Oates had already accomplished more in the ’70s than Tears for Fears ever did, and they hadn’t even gotten to the stuff they’re best known for.
That said, Songs from the Big Chair is one of the absolute best albums of the ’80s, and is probably better than any album Hall and Oates produced in that decade. Probably. I mean, Private Eyes, H2O and Big Bam Boom are all amazing, but inconsistent. Big Chair is a cohesive work.
Still, if you compare by any criteria: number of big albums, number of hit songs, length of their “relevant” period, the wide range of their appeal (I didn’t even get into that), Hall and Oates have to come out on top.
Which group do I still listen to more now, though? It’s kind of a toss up. I have both Private Eyes and Songs from the Big Chair on vinyl and they are spinning frequently, but on Spotify I probably listen to Tears for Fears more.
Bottom line: two things.
- Comparisons are stupid.
- Both of these bands are amazing and if this stupid comparison gets more “young folks” to check them out, that is, as we said in the ’80s, awesome.
And in conclusion, please watch… this video of my favorite Tears for Fears song.
You should also watch Rick Beato’s awesome “What Makes This Song Great” video about it.
P.S. OK, yes I had forgotten initially that they actually toured together this year. I haven’t really been ready to go to a crowded concert venue yet, plus I didn’t hear about their stop here until about one hour after it started!