Song of the Day #398: ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ – Tears for Fears

tearsforfears20 Best Songs of the 80s – #8

I have a half-baked theory that it takes three great songs to make a great album. Not three pretty good songs, but three really great ones. The realization goes something like this… “Does [ALBUM NAME] have [SONG A]? Cool. Oh, [SONG B] too? That’s a really good one. Wait… it has [SONG C]? Really? Damn, that’s a great album.” Doesn’t really matter what else is on it.

So by that standard, Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair (1985) is a great album. ‘Shout,’ ‘Head Over Heels’ and ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ are three truly great songs (‘The Working Hour,’ ‘Mothers Talk’ and ‘I Believe’ ain’t shabby, either). If I were to make a list of the best albums of the 80s, this one would be high on that list.

Today’s song is the one I remember best, partly because it was their biggest hit and partly because it was featured memorably at the end of the classic 1985 comedy Real Genius, in which Val Kilmer showed comic chops he didn’t really revisit until his wonderful turn in 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ played over the end credits of the film, accompanying the image of the bad guy’s house converted into a gigantic popcorn popper.

I’ve embedded the climax of the film at the bottom of this post, though I recommend you click through to the song link first to appreciate it apart from the popcorn.

Welcome to your life
There’s no turning back
Even while WE sleep
We will find you
Acting on your best behaviour
Turn your back on mother nature
Everybody wants to rule the world

It’s my own design
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
Everybody 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 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

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #398: ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ – Tears for Fears

  1. Dana says:

    First, this entry reminds me that I must see Real Genius again, I think I only saw this movie once, and it was in the 80’s. Time to rediscover it with my kids!

    As for the song, love it! I agree that the album is also very good. For a time in the 80’s, I was a big fan of Tears for Fears. Amy not so much, although she will inevitably use this post to feature another Idol clip–Adam Lambert singing Mad World (he actually does a very good job). Incidentally, if you haven’t heard the album preceding Big Chair, The Hurting, it is worth checking out. It contains Mad World and Change (another song I really love)

    Looking back, I realize that the vocal style (Euro and a bit over the top at times) is one I often ridicule in others (like Morrisey). Yet, it somehow worked for me with Roland Orzabal. I think much of my appreciation for their music was just how damn well it was produced.

    It’s unfortunate that Tears never really made their way out of the 80’s. Their next album was good, but not quite as good as Big Chair, and I think people kinda got annoyed with their heavy handed messages in songs like Seeds of Love. Of course, breaking up in the early 90’s didn’t help either.

  2. Amy says:

    Why listen to this song without watching the final scene from Real Genius? What is the song without it?!

    If I could have found Adam’s original performance of “Mad Love,” I would have embedded it just to make Dana happy 😦 Unfortunately, I can’t (though there are lots of versions from each concert stop he’s made) Dana is right that I quickly tire of Tears for Fears – something about them grates on me. Still, this song in this movie do provide a great splash of 80’s nostalgia.

  3. Kerrie Rueda says:

    I really loved Tears for Fears – even saw them on the concert tour for this album. Great song featured in a CLASSIC 80s film. I actually watched “Real Genius” about 3 weeks ago on Netflix (it’s available through the “Watch Instantly” feature) and loved it as much now as I did then (although I have seen it many times before the latest viewing). Dana, you MUST watch this again – you and the kids will all love it. (It does have some “adult humor,” though.)

    But back to Tears from Fears. I think my favorite from this album was Head Over Heels but I like this one, too. And even if you hadn’t brought it up, my first thought on hearing it is always of the end of “Real Genius.” 🙂 YAY FOR THE 80s!!! I’m so sad this theme is winding down…

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