"Tar" was the band's sole release on Radar Records on 7 September 1979, before they signed to Polydor Records the following year. The song's lyrics are centred around the habit of smoking cigarettes. As Steve Strange put it in his autobiography, the song is about "the pleasure and pain of nicotine". The B-side to the single is "Frequency 7", a rapid synthesizer composition with vocoder vocals. (An extended, instrumental "Dance Mix" of the song was released on the "Mind of a Toy" single in 1981. Both versions were re-released by the band in 2013).
"Tar" was not a chart hit, and Radar's distribution deal collapsed shortly after the single was released. A newer version of the song appeared on Visage's eponymous debut album released in 1980. The "Tar" single is the only Visage release featuring bassist Barry Adamson as a member of the band, receiving composing credits for both songs. He played a smaller role as a session musician in all subsequent releases. No music video was produced for the track.