British duo Tears For Fears have released “No Small Thing,” the second single from their upcoming album—the duo’s first in 17 years—The Tipping Point (Concord Records), out Feb. 22.
A gripping look at the imbalances and misconceptions around freedom, “No Small Thing” is a constant chug, and thug, at resetting the collective mindset—Reason gonna bind you / Cripple and confine you / Listen as your poor heart breaks / Take a trip to America / Let the wind blow right through your hair / We’ll buy beer and some hope to share—with accompanying black and white video footage “showing the conflict between individual freedoms and collective responsibility.”
The video, inspired by Koyaanisqatsi (also the Hopi word for “life out of balance”), the 1982 experimental, non-narrative film directed by Godfrey Reggio, also examines the separation between humanity and nature.
“In early 2020, Curt and I sat down together with just a couple of acoustic guitars, the first time in decades,” says Roland Orzabal. “We needed a meeting of minds, a coming together psychically. We were literally going back to the drawing board looking for some depth, heart and soul with which to complete our album. Curt came up with this simple folk-country riff, a little bit Dylan, a little bit Johnny Cash, and then we were off.”
The song ended up being the complete opposite of what the pair had been doing for many years, adds Orzabal, trying to write more hits. “We felt suddenly unencumbered, free if you like, no longer worrying about the market, about success, but drawing on influences from our childhoods,” he says. “It was at this point that the whole album started opening up. ‘No Small Thing’ was the key, the thing that turned a red light green.”
Curt Smith adds, “‘No Small Thing’ feels like it could have been a song from a ’70s or ’60s acoustic folk album with how the track starts. The fact that we felt confident enough to go from there to the end of the song to where it’s just absolute mayhem speaks to that sense of freedom, and that’s our comfort zone musically.”
“No Small Thing” follows previous single, “The Tipping Point,” which captured the grief of losing a loved one to long-term illness. Orzabal lost his wife of 35 years, Caroline Johnston, in 2017 after a long battle with cancer.
The Tipping Point encompasses deeper reflections of the tribulations the pair have endured personally and professionally in their nearly 40-year career.
Tears For Fears are scheduled to embark on a U.S. and U.K. tour during the summer of 2022, the duo’s first since 2017.
Photo by Frank Ockenfels / BB Gun Press