Tears for Fears’ single The Tipping Point is out now. The album follows in February 2022.
‘If there is a God, this is what he put us on Earth to do’: the unlikely return of Tears for Fears
The life of the “semi-retired” musician is a strange one, Smith reflects. “You still write music, but you do other things. I was very much the stay-at-home dad, because my wife [the marketing executive Frances Pennington] has a career and is very busy.” With little in his Los Angeles home to suggest a successful career in music – no gold discs on the walls, or awards on the mantelpiece – Smith realised that, while he might not need such reminders to know who he was, his identity was mysterious to his children. One day at preschool, his eldest daughter was asked what her parents did. “Her answer was: ‘Mama goes to the office and Papa goes to the gym.’”
With the demands of family, acting, opera and gym workouts, not to mention management disputes and periods of acrimony between the pair, somehow 17 years have passed since Tears for Fears last recorded an album together. Today, though, they sit in the small, starkly lit boardroom of a Marylebone hotel, two radiant 60-year-olds eager to talk about their new material. The Tipping Point is a stunning record, taking in fine-fledged folk guitar and aggressive synthesisers, and encompassing loss, resentment, the Mistral wind of southern France, the healing that has taken place between them; plus the patriarchy, the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests.