Song Meaning Shout – Tears for Fears

Members of the Tears for Fears group (“Tears instead of fear”), in their youth, were carried away by the works of the American psychoanalyst Arthur Yanov. He is known for his Primal Cry Therapy, with which he helped patients cope with childhood fears.

Roland Orzabal and Kurt Smith were so impressed by his ideas that even the name for their team was borrowed from the work of Yanov. The history of some of the first songs of the group is also connected with them.

The history of creation and the meaning of Shout – Tears for Fears

In 1984, Tears for Fears released the single Shout (“Scream”). Fans and critics immediately came to the conclusion that Orzabal and Smith continued to develop a favorite theme in this composition. But it turned out that not everything is so simple.

Let’s hear what Roland had to say about her:

The song was written in my living room right on a small synthesizer and drum machine. At first, I only had a chorus with very often repeated words, like a mantra. I played it to Ian Stanley, our keyboardist, and Chris Hughes, the producer. It seemed like a good album track to me, but they convinced me that it would be a worldwide hit.

And here is the impression that the song Shout made on Chris Hughes during the first listening. His commentary is published on the liner notes of the single:

We were just recording Mothers Talk when Roland first played us a rough cut of a new song he was working on. Then it was very slow and very simple. I remember I said, “It’s so easy, it’ll take us about five minutes to record.”

Now we can return to the meaning of the Shout song. As mentioned above, most listeners thought that the text refers to the research of Arthur Yanov, but Orzabal denied these assumptions:

A lot of people think that Shout is another song about primal scream theory that builds on the themes of the first album. In fact, it is more about political protest. It was born in 1984, when many were still worried about the consequences of the Cold War, so it is essentially a call to protest.

Kurt Smith, co-writer of Shout, had a similar comment about the song:

It has something to do with protest, as it urges people to do nothing without carefully examining the issue. People act without thinking, because that’s the way it is in society. So it’s a universal song about how society accepts whatever misfortune is thrown at them.

Musically, Shout differs significantly from the songs that Tears for Fears performed before it. Suffice it to say that the song contains a long guitar solo, atypical for the band’s work.

Release and achievements

Shout was released as a single in 1984. It peaked at number four in the UK and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. It became one of the most successful songs of 1985 and reached the top ten in twenty-five countries.

Watch the video clip of Shout – Tears for Fears.

Interesting Facts

  • At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the song Shout for England, written on the basis of Shout, became the unofficial anthem of the British national team.

Shout Lyrics

Shout, shout
Let it all out
These are the things I can do without
Come on
I’m talking to you
Come on

In violent times
You shouldn’t have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really really ought to know
Those one track minds
That took you for a working boy
Kiss them goodbye
You shouldn’t have to jump for joy
You shouldn’t have to shout for joy

They gave you life
And in return you gave them hell
As cold as ice
I hope we live to tell the tale
I hope we live to tell the tale

And when you’ve taken down your guard
If I could change your mind
I’d really love to break your heart
I’d really love to break your heart

Shout Lyrics

Scream, scream
Say it all
I can do without it
I turn to you

In cruel times
You shouldn’t sell your soul
Black on white
They really need to know
These narrow-minded
Who thought you were an errand boy
Say goodbye to them
You shouldn’t be jumping for joy
You shouldn’t scream for joy

They gave you life
And in return you gave them hell
Cold as ice
I hope we live to tell the story
I hope we live to tell the story

And when you took down the guard
If I could convince you
I would love to break your heart
I would love to break your heart

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