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Songs From the Big Chair, Tears for Fears

Head over Heals, Breaking the Anti-dance Spell

During my teenage years in the 80’s, I embodied the quintessential anti-dancer. While my peers enthusiastically embraced the dance floor at parties, I lingered in the shadows, adopting an identity stubbornly rooted in my love for rock music and its rebellious attitude, strange for a school nerd like me. For me, music should be guitar riffs and pounding drums, not cheesy melodies to dance over.

This obstinate attitude made me an outlier at social gatherings, particularly weddings where traditional songs like the Macarena induced jubilant dancing, smiles, and synchronized movements that resembled a choreographed play. I found myself lingering on the periphery, a swirling mix of discomfort knotting my stomach, yearning for an escape. While everyone around me surrendered to the rhythm, I struggled to bridge the chasm between myself and the dance floor, my gaze often fixated on the dinner tables in search of someone with whom I could share my unease and release the pent-up pain. Although my anti-dancing, rocker identity aligned seamlessly with my music preferences, it proved to be a barrier to my social life, particularly when it came to connecting with the opposite sex.

Discos were a whole other level of horror for me, and I visited them only once or twice, driven by the fear of missing out. Those nights were filled with pulsating beats that did nothing to alter my anti-dancing stance, except to reinforce it. Oh, how I wished I was at a Van Halen concert in those moments, but in those days, rock concerts were still a rarity in Mexico.

Then, like a twist in a coming-of-age movie, "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears burst onto the scene. This song caught my attention like no other dancing one before. Something inexplicable happened, and that knot in my stomach, the one that always resisted the call of the dance floor, began to unravel.

One fateful evening, as "Head Over Heels" was played at a “quinceañera” party, I found myself swept up in the music's magic. For the first time, I willingly stepped onto the dance floor, shedding my anti-dancing persona. As I moved to the rhythm, I realized that there was joy in letting go, in dancing with abandon, and in allowing music to wash over you, even if it wasn't the thunderous rock anthems I loved.

That night, "Head Over Heels" became my bridge to the world of dance, and I embraced it wholeheartedly. It wasn't just about dancing; it was about shedding inhibitions and embracing a new side of life. As the music pulsed through me, I felt a connection, not just with the dance floor but with the people around me. The feeling was liberating and slowly started to change the course of my social life over the years. Certain things still bring back that knot in my stomach, like the notes of mariachi, the rhythms of cumbia, or the beats of merengue, and still remain firmly outside my dance repertoire. Some old habits die hard, and my heart will forever belong to the rock anthems I still love. May I reveal that these genres were banned at my wedding? May God may bless Marilu.

"Head Over Heels," much like the other standout tracks in "Songs from the Big Chair," serves as a musical time capsule, capturing the essence of a whole era. It's an anthem of its time, and its true magic comes alive when experienced in the context of the entire album. Songs like "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Shout" were regular fixtures at parties, and the album as a whole is a great piece of music.

In their heyday, Tears for Fears may have seemed like a fleeting pop sensation, but they were, in fact, a sophisticated musical duo with the ability to craft timeless songs. Their later creations, like "Mad World" and "Sowing the Seeds of Love," are evidence of their enduring musical legacy.

In 2022, Tears for Fears made a remarkable comeback after a long hiatus, embarking on a tour. This presented me with a golden opportunity to break free from the confines of my teenage self. It was a liberating experience, a joyful reunion with the music that had once transformed my perspective on dancing and, in a way, redefined a part of my identity. Just like their music, Tears for Fears had proven that some things are timeless, and the connection between great music and the joy of dancing is one of them.

Here is Head over Heels during that tour here in Cleveland

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