Tears for Fears - Mad World - 1982 original single

It takes a brave soul to pick a popular score and try to reinvent it and appeal to the audience who hold the original in high regard.  You are attempting to create something to compete with a product that is not only good but also holds a sentimental attachment with their audience for withstanding the test of time.  So I don’t begrudge the attempt, but you better make that reinterpretation exceptionally good, because it will be torn apart and shredded to pieces under intense scrutiny.

So logically, 99 times out of a 100, the remakes or remixes fall way short of the originals for me.  There are very few exceptions.  I can think of Mariah Carey’s remake of Jackson 5’s “I’ll be there“.  For my money, thats her best ever.. and even better than young Jackson’s original and thats saying a lot.  I can also think of the 10000 Mainacs’ “Because the Night.  I like it better than Patti Smith’s original version.. and then there was Michal Andrews and Gary Jules’ “Mad World”.

Andrews and Jules - Mad World - 2001 Soundtrack for Donnie Darko

Michael and Gary borrowed these wonderful lyrics from a Tears for Fears original single in early 80s to create a brilliant piece.  Released with the soundtrack for one of my favorite movies of the past decade in Donnie Darko, this one falls in the same category of a remake outshining the original.    It is also such a fitting finale to a gripping movie that manages to carry an intelligent presentation to the very edge, almost but not tipping over into my dismissive territory of trying-to-be-cool-but-bullshit weirdness, and pulling it back to connect the dots and touch the soul of the audience with this superb climactic song..

Here’s the original from Tears for Fears..with a distinct 80s touch..

Here’s the video of Andrews/Jules cover version..

All around me are familiar faces
worn out places, worn out faces

bright and early for their daily races
going nowhere, going nowhere

and their tears are filling up their glasses
no expression, no expression

hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
no tomorrow, no tomorrow

and i find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
the dreams in which i’m dying
are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘cos I find it hard to take
when people run in circles
it’s a very, very
mad world

children waiting for the day they feel good
happy birthday, happy birthday

made to feel the way that every child should
sit and listen, sit and listen

went to school and i was very nervous
no one knew me, no one knew me

hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
look right through me, look right through me