As a major Tears for Fears fan growing up, I was curious what the bands co-founder, Curt Smith's first solo album in ten years would sound like. Smith freely admits that his new album Halfway, Pleased, is semi-autobiographical and explores his relationships with his children, parents and friends. "It's where I find myself at this moment," he says. Making the transition from my carefree thirties into the responsibility of being a father; from the need to protest into the desire to protect."
Halfway, Pleased begins with the lush and melodic "Perfect Day." The Lush and melodic tone is the polar opposite of the sad lyric: "Black velvet Elvis is dead/Looks down his crown on the bed/As he's led to the edge of town/September Pardon the son/The hardest part is the one/That you hold in your hands dear." While it would be easy to say that the chorus of the song, "This is the perfect day to blow myself away," makes it easy to identify as a song of depression, After listening to "Perfect Day" a couple of times, I could help but hear a deeper message about the fear of a father letting down his son.
The sensual rhythm and lyrics of "Seven of Sundays," seems bound to be a radio hit. I imagine couples everywhere will be listening to this one during quiet evenings at home. In a four minute song, Curt has managed to express what a lot of people feel most deeply with their life partner: a true sense of safety and security. The calming beat of the title cut, "Halfway Pleased" makes the song hard not to sing or hum along with.
"Greatest Divide" is one of my favorite songs from the album. The use of the lush harmonies stands out Smith's voice is so quiet on this one; the song feels like a traditional spiritual theme of sorts. On the flip side, "Coming Out" is a song of decisive declaration: "Don't cut me down/Don't bring me round/Don't break my fall/I'm coming out today."
"Aeroplane" is a lovely song that could be about searching for a higher power. I say could, because I don't think any of the songs on Halfway, Pleased have a set meaning. Every listener to the album is likely to find a different meaning behind each song. "I prefer writing slightly cryptic lyrics, Curt confides, "that take some thought, and rely on the things that are left unsaid but hinted at."
Cryptic though he may be, Curt Smith has delivered a lush, deeply personal album that contains some very touching music that a lot of fans will be able to relate to in their own way. After listening to Halfway, Pleased, I was very pleased with the end result.