Artist: Gary Jules

Mad World ~ Gary Jules

Gary Jules (Gary Jules Aguirre, Jr.) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his cover version of the Tears For Fears classic “Mad World”, which Gary recorded with friend Michael Andrews for the film Donnie Darko. It became the UK Christmas Number One single of 2003. Since then, Jules’ version has been used on many American TV shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and House, as well as in a popular commercial for the critically acclaimed video game Gears of War.

Jules was involved with a wide variety of bands and other projects in the early days of his career including The Ivory Knights, Our Town Pansies, Woodenfish, Kofi, The Origin, Invisible, No Poetry, and Heroes and Heroin.His 2003 residency at the Los Angeles Hotel Café  helped develop the location as a successful singer/songwriter venue.

Mad World

Mad World” is a song by the British band Tears for Fears.

“Mad World” began life as the intended B-side for Tears for Fears’ second single “Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love)”. The band instead decided it may be something people would like to hear on the radio and held back its release, waiting to issue the song as a single in its own right after re-recording it with Chris Hughes, a former drummer with Adam and the Ants.

That came when I lived above a pizza restaurant in Bath and I could look out onto the center of the city. Not that Bath is very mad — I should have called it “Bourgeois World”!
-Roland Orzabal

“Mad World” was the first single off the finished album. The intention was to gain attention from it and we’d hopefully build up a little following. We had no idea that it would become a hit. Nor did the record company.
-Curt Smith

The melody is reminiscent of the song “Matthew and Son” by Cat Stevens.

Lyrically the song is pretty loose. It throws together a lot of different images to paint a picture without saying anything specific about the world.
-Roland Orzabal

It’s very much a voyeur’s song. It’s looking out at a mad world from the eyes of a teenager.
-Curt Smith

“Mad World” would achieve a second round of success beginning almost twenty years later, after it was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the film Donnie Darko (2001). While the Tears for Fears version featured various synthesizers and percussion, the Andrews/Jules version was stripped down; instead of a full musical backing, it used only a set of piano chords, a cello, and modest use of a vocoder on the chorus. Their version was originally released on CD in 2002 on the film’s soundtrack, but an increasing cult following spawned by the movie’s DVD release finally prompted Jules and Andrews to issue the song as a proper single. The release was a success in late 2003, becoming the Number One single over the Christmas holiday in the UK, a feat Tears for Fears themselves never accomplished. The music video, directed by Michel Gondry, has since been very popular on YouTube, with its most popular posting garnering over 39.5 million views as of October 10th, 2011. It is included on the DVD compilation Michel Gondry 2: More Videos (Before and After DVD 1). The song was later included in the commercial to the video game Gears of War.

The Gary Jules version is considered superior to the Tears for Fears version.

Mad World - Roland Orzabal

All around me are familiar faces
worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna 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
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very very, mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I 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

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
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very very, mad world, mad world
Enlarge your world, mad world

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  • Audio from the 2002 album, Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets:

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Purchase-Music Mad World – $0.99

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