Tears For Fears star Roland Orzabal had to leave the recording studio every time they played back a song written in tribute to his late wife.
He and bandmate Curt Smith have reunited to release their first new album in 17 years, titled The Tipping Point – the seventh studio release from the acclaimed new wave and synth-pop duo.
Orzabal’s wife of nearly 40 years, Caroline, died in 2017 after struggling with depression, which is explored within the song Please Be Happy.
The 60-year-old told the PA news agency: “That’s a very moving song for me. Watching my wife struggle with depression to the point where it was was killing her, as was the alcohol.
“And those two things are sometimes indivisible and until you take alcohol and pills out of the equation, you’re never going to get to the heart of someone’s mental problems.
“Watching her was heartbreaking and that’s a very poignant part of the record, I must say.
“Because Curt sings it beautifully, and every time we do a playback together in the studio, the whole thing builds up with (previous tracks) My Demons going into Rivers Of Mercy.
“And then the first line that Curt sings, I have to leave the room. Oh, yeah, I can’t bear it. But that’s what we’re here for.”
Since their formation in 1981, the group has written songs about mental health and they hailed how the topic had become normalised in recent years.
Orzabal said: “This is progress. I think the role of the artist is to try and progress things in society and make things that were not acceptable become acceptable, slowly.
“And there’s no better way of doing it than in music.
“It seeps in through your eyes and creeps inside your brain. Or something like that – to quote one of my lyrics from the new album.
“We’re happy about it – very, very happy about it indeed.
“And having had my own mental illness struggles recently after the death of my wife, I am glad we can talk about it now.”
Smith, also 60, said their management had initially encouraged them to work with other songwriters but they achieved “honesty” on the new album by going it alone.
He said: “When music comes from a place of honesty, it just is more powerful. Simple as that.
“And I think that the things we were attempting to do, writing with all these other songwriters, wasn’t particularly honest. It was us attempting to be something we are not.
“That’s what happens by the nature of working with other people outside your key group – it becomes their work.”
The duo, known for hits including Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Shout and Mad World, are embarking on a UK tour next year.
Orzabal suggested their 1982 hit Mad World had transcended its era and become a “standard” following the release of a 2001 cover version on the soundtrack of the film Donnie Darko.
He said: “One of our biggest hits is Mad World and when that was redone by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews, exposing its true heart and exposing these beautiful lyrics, you kind of realise that well, OK, that song doesn’t actually belong to an era now.
“That song has become a universal accepted piece of work, like a standard, like My Way or Happy Birthday.
“And so we had to, not tap into our past, but tap into our soul, if you know what I mean.”
Tears For Fears embarks on their UK tour in July 2022, supported by Alison Moyet.
The Tipping Point will be released on February 25 via Concord Records.