Album: Rule The World (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • This was one of two new tracks on Tears For Fears' 2017 greatest hits collection, Rule The World (the other being "I Love You But I'm Lost"). Most of the group's tunes were written by co-lead vocalist Roland Orzabal, but this one was penned by Curt Smith, the other half of the '80s New Wave duo. Smith told Billboard the song is about "having to give up something that you are loath to give up, but only because of the history. Say if there's a marriage that was going horribly wrong but you invested 20 years in them, it's hard to give up. And so the chorus is 'Stay, don't stay, don't go.' So it's sort of more of a… I don't know, I guess a song about grief to some degree."
  • "Stay" is also the closing track of Tears For Fears 2022 album The Tipping Point. Work on the record began in 2013, but the process proved difficult as their then-management company wanted them to work with other younger songwriters to create a more contemporary and commercial sounding record. Neither Smith nor Orzabel were happy with the results and Smith considered leaving Tears For Fears.

    "I was thinking about walking away and realizing how sad that is," he told NME. "That song's about the sadness you feel about leaving something behind that you've invested so much time and energy into and that's been a huge part of your life."
  • Roland Orzabal's wife, Caroline, struggled with menopause and alcoholism before developing alcohol-related dementia. He spent five years as her caregiver until her death in the summer of 2017. For a long while, as Orzabal nursed his wife, he masked his emotional state, fearing the worst. Once he'd lost Caroline, Orzabel could finally express his feelings, giving him a sense of hope and redemption.

    He told The Sun one reason they wanted "Stay" on The Tipping Point was "it's clearly someone expressing their emotions and it ends up as a beautiful thing and a huge relief."

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