Sometimes, all you need is a needle-dropped moment in a movie to get you reeling. In a good way. Happened again to me this week (more on that later). Music of the ’80s popped up afresh. I’d noticed my music piece from more than a couple of years ago, Kyrie by Mr. Mister, started peaking coincidentally once more in my blog stats. Strange how the time of padded shoulders, leg warmers, and big hair keeps coming back. Certainly shaped me.
Even if I was a bit beyond my formative years when the decade landed — late-blooming, I guess.
At the time, living under the thought Ronald Reagan or the Russians would certainly turn the Cold War suddenly hot gave you a certain standpoint. Living for the moment in the most carefree way you could conjure, if a bit shortsighted for those around you tossed by the wayside as a result. Something to remember, as Robin Williams espoused in The Best of Times:
“…needs the distance of the future to give it a perspective so you can truly have a point of view and realize the viscosity of that quagmire.”
Reason why the British group so wonderfully named for the era, Tears for Fears, and their best album and song still registers with me. Everybody Wants to Rule the World, written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley, and Chris Hughes, remains their biggest hit of the period. Even if it wasn’t the headlined single from the Songs From The Big Chair album. Producers thought it a bit bland and not important at the time.
Wrong they were as such is how pop hits are born, especially in this decade.
I challenge anyone who lived any portion of their life near 1985 (the year of its release in that damn month of March) to try and get the song out of your head…or keep it from bobbing with the beat1. Like the cold virus, it remains catchy to this day. Primarily for that vivid intro. Roland Orzabal’s simple chords will throw your mind back in time faster than Doc Brown’s DeLorean. It’s Tears for Fears’ first US #1 hit. What producers envisioned for their “Shout” single, which would follow a couple of months in time.
For all the finger-popping joy the tune churns out these many years later, it’s still reflective of its time. Songfacts:
“Although musically this is quite a jangly and catchy song, its lyrical theme is actually pretty dark. “The concept is quite serious — it’s about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes,” Curt Smith explains on the band’s website.”
The music video was filmed on the outskirts of L.A., at the Salton Sea and Cabazon, by famed producer Nigel Dick. Got heavy play on the music video channel MTV, which cemented Tears for Fears status with American music fans.
As someone who was there, and not living in the supposed “…safest place in America in case of a nuclear war” of Taft, California, the song captured that right in a number of ways2. Buoyantly, in fact, in the same manner this span was known for. And like Gigi Hightower declared, retorting her husband Reno’s negativity and nuke-fear tactics toward her going off to Los Angeles to live her dreams as a singer, “You think they won’t hit L.A?”:
“Of course they would, but at least till then I’d be in the big leagues!”
This then was when Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Tears for Fears did just that. Gotta love the ’80s. What brought it back here? That’d be finally catching up with the truly delightful comedy by Lake Bell, In A World… My colleague Ruth of Flixchatter nailed why it captivated:
“This is the first time I’ve seen Lake Bell, though I’ve heard of her before this movie. She not only star in this but also wrote and directed her debut film, and I must say I’m impressed! She’s got excellent comic timing and a knack for accents, and the story is surprisingly engaging and downright hilarious. The tall and svelte Bell could make a living as a model but she really made herself to look very plain here as a tomboy whose ‘signature look’ is a denim overall. But she’s instantly likable and she surround herself with equally affable and amusing characters.”
Besides the film’s not usually seen City of Angels locations, which were showcased potently, In a World‘s diverse soundtrack boosted its material to grand effect. The inclusion of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, needle-dropped a couple of times in the film, was best used as the movie’s closing number. Sealed my attraction much like Tears for Fears’ impact with that antique Austin-Healey 3000 driving through the desert all those years ago. All to the tune of an infectious track. Still, “Nothing ever lasts forever”, ‘cept of course the ’80s.
Welcome to your life; there's no turning back Even while we sleep we will find You acting on your best behavior Turn your back on mother nature Ev'rybody wants to rule the world It's my own desire, it's my own remorse Help me to decide. Help me make the most Of freedom and of pleasure Nothing ever lasts forever Everybody wants to rule the world There's a room where the light won't find you Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down When they do, I'll be right behind you So glad we've almost made it So sad they had to fade it Ev'rybody wants to rule the world I can't stand this indecision Married with a lack of vision Everybody wants to rule the world Say that you'll never, never, never, need it One headline, why believe it? Everybody wants to rule the world All for freedom and for pleasure Nothing ever lasts forever Everybody wants to rule the world
- “It was written and recorded in two weeks and was the final track to be added to the Songs from the Big Chair album. The shuffle beat was alien to our normal way of doing things. It was jolly rather than square and rigid in the manner of ‘Shout’, but it continued the process of becoming more extrovert.” — Roland Orzabal ↩
- “The song was covered by Lorde for the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, which was released by Republic. She reworked Tears for Fears’ tune into a haunting dirge, bringing out its inherent darkness.” ↩