The obvious response to this 1984 compilation's title is, \"yeah, if only Epic had bothered to promote, or even release, these songs back when they were recorded, they might have been hits.\" A quick cash-in on the Tourists' back catalog designed to entice the curious after singer Annie Lennox and guitarist Dave Stewart had found success as Eurythmics, this ten-track set actually doesn't even give a good overview of the band's career. Although Lennox was the primary lead singer and Stewart produced some of their material, the Tourists were largely Pete Coombes' band. This compilation skews toward the Lennox- and Stewart-penned material, giving Coombes short shrift. This is a shame, since the five Coombes-penned tracks, especially the angsty \"The Loneliest Man in the World\" and \"It Doesn't Have to Be This Way,\" have it all over the others. (Fans of the cult favorites New Musik will find Coombes to be a kindred spirit to that band's mastermind Tony Mansfield.) The album leads off with their biggest hit, a workmanlike cover of Dusty Springfield's \"I Only Want to Be With You\" that gives no indication of this band's many strengths. Sorry, Epic, but this should be filed under \"too little, too late.\"
Songs from the Big Chair received generally positive reviews. Barry McIlheney of Melody Maker wrote that \"none of you should really be too surprised that Tears for Fears have made such an excellent album\", calling it \"an album that fully justifies the rather sneering, told-you-so looks adopted by Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal on the sleeve\", before concluding, \"An awful lot of people will, of course, go on and on about overcoats, The Lotus Eaters and an alleged lack of depth. And an awful lot of people will have to eat an awful lot of words.\" In Sounds Johnny Waller gave the album four and a half stars out of five and said that compared with their debut, \"Tears for Fears have lovingly crafted a new masterpiece with softer, smoky vocals, more tempting melodies and less abrasive rhythms\". He called the record \"glorious pop\" and that \"within accepted confines, Tears for Fears are stretching and growing, expanding both their imagination and their horizons\". Ian Cranna of Smash Hits described the album as \"looser, more exploratory\" than the band's previous work and praised its \"unflinching lyrical honesty\". Rolling Stone reviewer Don Shewey found Tears for Fears reminiscent of various other acts, noting traces of \"U2's social conscience, the Bunnymen's echoing guitars and XTC's contorted pop wit\" in the album's music, but commented that Chris Hughes' \"sparkling\" production \"nudges Songs from the Big Chair slightly ahead of the pack\". 1e1e36bf2d