Tears for Fears’ “Shout” Lyrics Meaning

Like many classic rock songs, part of the appeal of “Shout” is its ability to allow the listener to interpret it in his or her own way. However, Tears for Fears wrote the song to inspire people to protest. This becomes obvious upon studying its lyrics. And to some degree, they even encourage the audience to do so on a literally, collective level, as in directly confronting authoritative institutions in their lives both on a personal and collective level.

Tears for Fears are known to have subscribed to the teachings of a psychologist named Arthur Janov who had a procedure called Primal Therapy Treatment, a method by which patients would directly confront childhood trauma through actions which included screaming (as in ‘shouting’). So when the band encourages the listener to “let it all out”, it is apparently based on the idea that doing so will prove to be therapeutic to them.

But as far as how as that theory actually applies to the song, it would be more on an ideological than literal level, as once again the track is imploring the listener to do so as an act of protest, not necessarily relief. But as with Primal Therapy Treatment, “Shout” is also calling on the listener to confront unfavorable parts of the past – or as Curt Smith, who sings backup vocals on the track, put it in his own words, to criticize “the way the public accepts any old grief which is thrown at them”.

Thus we can conclude that the singer is actually angry – for lack of a better word – at the addressee. This is why he expresses pleasure at the prospect of “breaking his heart’, which is symbolic of the inevitable discomfort this person will experience in challenging what they themselves believe in and live by. So in summation, “Shout” is a song designed to inspire people to confront pressing issues around them, with the singer being a bit furious that they aren’t already doing so.

Lyrics of "Shout"

Who wrote “Shout”?

This song was written by Tears for Fears’ members Roland Orzabal as well as Ian Stanley. And it was produced by Chris Hughes.

Orzabal has stated that he wrote “Shout” as “basically an encouragement to protest” in 1984, during “the aftermath of the Cold War”.

Lead Vocals

Roland Orzabal performs lead vocals on this classic. He is supported by fellow-band member Curt Smith on the chorus.

Success of “Shout”

Succinctly put, “Shout” is “one of the most-recognizable song from the… 80’s”, and it charted accordingly. For instance, it reached number 1 on the US-based Billboard Hot 100 as well as in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland

It also broke the top 10 in a number of countries, including

  • Austria
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • South Africa
  • The United Kingdom (where it peaked at number 4)

Release Date of “Shout”

“Shout” was released as the second single from Tears for Fears’ commercially successful album Songs from the Big Chair on November 23, 1984. The band’s global hit single “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” also appears on this album. FYI, Songs from the Big Chair went on to become Tears for Fears’ best-selling album ever!

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