Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Songs from the Big Chair) is a multi-dimensional song, expressing the power-hungry motives of us as a society, the abuse of authority in the US government, and even our own personal ambition. Many people have debated the intent and meaning behind the lyrics, coming to the conclusion that there is a political message being expressed. The title is the message; every person, whether specifically striving for this goal or not, wants power and/or authority.
The human species has developed a society that destroys the earth through large corporations and their participation in pollution, the mass consumption of animal products that increase green gases, and our overall involvement in destroying “Mother Nature”. The personification of Mother Nature and the action of us as a society backstabbing “her” emphasizes humans’ hunger for power, to the extent where we’re willing to wreck the earth.
“All for freedom and for pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever”
As a society we strive for the most, even if it isn’t stable enough to last forever. This quote represents short-lived successes within our own lives, our communities, our families through the utilization of an allegory. The central idea of the stanza is that we indulge in things that make us satisfied and happy, but those indulgences usually don’t fulfill us for long enough. Following the idea is a hidden moral, encouraging us to seek out the stability in life, the things (whether they’re material goods or emotions) that are more than just pleasurable, and may last longer.
“Everybody wants to rule the world”
This hyperbole expresses Tears for Fears’ intent of spreading the idea that whether we agree or disagree, we all have the urge to be at the top, through authority figures, rankings in class, etc. It all goes back to the one central message that the human species’ history of war, genocide, the building of empires, societal expectations, racism, sexism, and any other uneven dynamic pasts have contributed to an overall overconsumption of power. How can we overcome this overindulgence and, instead, embrace the voids and still be satisfied?