I’m starting this thread for two reasons. First is to move discussion of the topic here and end the hijack of this thread, which admittedly was my own damn fault. Second is to clear up what I actually think regarding these two bands.
Ok, to start off: The Beatles. I don’t like them. I respect them for everything they invented, and I am grateful to them for everything they have inspired, but as musicians, I don’t like them.
In the other thread, I was blasted for calling them “simplistic”, and was given by way of argument two songs with interesting meter changes. Two songs. With one interesting musical element. Now, one good element does not a good song make, and how many songs did the Beatles do, anyway? Granted, they got far better about this in the later years, adding more elements to their music than in the “yeah yeah yeah” years…but they developed this tendency too far in the opposite direction, traversing from the interesting into the incoherently bizzare. There’s a reason that so many suspect that the primary influence behind the later albums was LSD. And this is coming from a guy who likes most of Radiohead’s “Kid A”. There is a difference between complex music and abstract noise. That difference lies in the eye (well, the ear) of the beholder, and in this case, that’d be me. To the person who mentioned their innovative chord progressions: C-A-D is C-A-D, and three-chord is three-chord, whether they invented it or not. That they were the first to use it does not change its objective quality in my mind; see the above paragraph. Same with their innovative use of key change; if anything, I indirectly blame them for the fact that every modern song that’s trying to be “dramatic” raises itself in key before the last verse.
On Tears For Fears: yes, I think they are a fantastic group. Yes, I think Roland Orzabal is one of the greatest musical minds of the 20th century. No, I do not worship him as a god, and I do not believe that he is the greatest genius ever to exist. Do I think he, as a person, is more musically competent than The Beatles? I really don’t know. Being honest with myself, and looking at the times in which they lived, I would judge that Roland is roughly equal in musical prowess to John Lennon. I base that judgement in terms of their respective ability to rise among the musical “sea level” of the time, and create new and innovative material that rises above the rest and rings true as a masterpiece of the era. It’s when you go beyond the men, and the times, and the situations involved, to get to the music itself, that I think Tears For Fears surpasses the Beatles on nearly every level. I believe I stated it to the best of my ability in the other thread, so I’ll quote myself here.
I do not like the music of The Beatles. I find the music of Tears For Fears superior in quality and in scope. For evidence of that, one need look no further than the latest Tears For Fears album, “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending”. If you listen to it, it sounds, well, like a Beatles album. Like a good Beatles album. Roland and Curt created it by piddling around on acoustic guitars and keyboards for the better part of year, and the end result is equivalent to the better works of their predecessors. And – here’s the kicker – it is nowhere near as complex, involved, interesting, or innovative as some of their earlier works. One need only look as far as The Seeds of Love, or Roland’s solo albums “Elemental” and “Tomcats Screaming Outside”, to see what the raw quality and complexity they are capable of producing.
It doesn’t mean they are any smarter, musically, than The Beatles. It certainly doesn’t mean they are any more influential…I’d have to be a fool to argue that. It means only what I said above: that the innovation has surpassed the invention in terms of objective quality. Eventually, there will be better than Tears For Fears. Even recently, there has been a group (Radiohead) that comes pretty damned close. At the moment, though, TFF is the singular best music I have found. That is my feeling. Whether or not you agree, that is my opinion, and the above is its basis. Hopefully we’re clear now.