During their '80s heyday, British pop act Tears for Fears consisted of Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal. With the release of the new Tears album, Elemental, it's just Orzabal. ''The relationship I had with Curt was like that of a producer to an artist,'' says Orzabal, 31. ''I'd help him get his vocals right and even write his songs for him. It wasn't really a shared thing.'' Ouch! A soft-spoken nouveau country gentleman and astrology devotee, Orzabal is a bit intense; even when sitting on the floor, he gave smart answers to our stupid questions. What's the worst part about being a pop star? Politics in the music business. It's not fun. But I think I've gained integrity, which I don't think is necessarily something you start out with.
With which of the four elements-earth, wind, fire, and water-do you identify? You have to get in touch with all of them. But the tricky one is water, the element of fear. And I think as men, we have traditionally a more difficult relationship with that element.
What's your sign? I'm a Leo, with an Aquarian mid-heaven, so I can be mistaken for an Aquarius. My Sun-Uranus conjunction in Leo makes me an honorary Aquarian anyway.
What's the one piece of criticism that still bothers you? When people say what I do is depressing. It sounds very happy to me.
If you could have been born in another time, when would you choose? Somewhere toward the end of the age of Aquarius-just under 2,000 years from now, when robotics, plastic surgery, and the intervention of science will be in full swing.
Which song do you wish you had written? Paul Simon's ''Still Crazy After All These Years.'' There's such a calm, cool, philosophical outlook in that song, a kind of acceptance that things aren't perfect. It's a state I'd like to get to.
What do you never leave home without? My toothbrush and Crest.
What kind of underwear do your prefer? Boxers. Today they're a tartan print. And no, I'm not Scottish.
Do you like kippers? No, I'm not a big fish fan.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I'd like to have high cheekbones. And I'd definitely be four inches taller-so, six feet.