Mad World

Album: The Hurting (1983)
Charted: 3
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  • All around me are familiar faces
    Worn out places, worn out faces
    Bright and early for their daily races
    Going nowhere, going nowhere
    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 'cause I find it hard to take
    When people run in circles it's a very, very
    Mad world
    Mad world
    Mad world
    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

    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 'cause I find it hard to take
    When people run in circles it's a very, very
    Mad world
    Mad world
    Mad world
    Mad world

    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 'cause I find it hard to take
    When people run in circles it's a very, very
    Mad world
    Mad world

    Enlarging your world
    Mad world Writer/s: Roland Orzabal
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 73

  • Jiminy from UkIt's interesting that some think the original music doesn't fit the weight of the lyrics. I think they fit together really well. The lyrics do paint a picture of a very bleak world. Which, of course, isn't all there is to the world. But every day people get up and go about their lives, some actually oblivious, some tuning the world out so that the bleakness around them doesn't beat them down. In a way, the upbeat music against the bleak lyrics reflect that. But even more, the upbeat music against those bleak lyrics is, well, mad. A world that doesn't make sense because we do go about our lives every day in spite of there being plenty of bleak things reflected by the juxtaposition of bleak lyrics and upbeat music.

    I do like the Gary Jules version as well. But the key of the music and how mellow it is matches the bleakness of the lyrics rather than contrasting them. That loses something that the original had.

    The Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox/Puddles Pity Party/Haley Reinhart version is an interesting one. It starts out all bleak and switches to upbeat music, but a very different take on the music. Well worth a listen.

    There are other covers as well. The bleak music approach seems to be the most common.
  • Alex from Spokane Wai love mad world good song and i kinda agree with cristian from argentina but in a way i connect with the song
  • Lisa from AmericaThere's a load of old yankee doodles on this page. Tears For Fears is better than Gary Jules and all the other versions out there. It's just a piano and a voice - anyone could have done that. The proper version by Tears For Fears required talent to program the synthesizers and mix and master them. Gary Jules only had to play a few random chords and bang. Oh and this song it not best known for Donnie Darko, as that movie was a flop that no one saw!!
  • Cristian from ArgentinaThis is insane. The song is not about depression at all. You don't have to be depressed to see or understand how the world is. The song is not just a a gloom vision of the world, it just describes it as it is, at least today.
  • Manfred from Madrid, SpainThe second last line in the lyrics written by Roland Orzabal actually is:
    "Halargian world", not "Enlarging your world", which is what Gary Jules sings.
    Roland commented this in an interview (Tears for Fears: How We Made Mad World) published in The Guardian on Dec. 10th 2013:
    "Producer Chris Hughes had a running joke in the studio about this made-up planet and a catchphrase: "Oh, that's so Halargian." I put it in the song, and it sounded right."
    Don't believe me? Look it up at
    But I couldn't find anything more about the Halargian World or about who made it up. Maybe Chris Hughes could comment on it. Thanks for reading.
  • Dj Wicked from Southern United StatesEveryone is saying they like this version or that version, Let me throw a huge awesome wrench in that. Post Modern Jukebox Featuring Puddles the Pity Party did an AMAZING version of this song. I like all three versions, It does not matter how it is done just that it was done and the take away is the same. So sitting here bashing someone because they like or don't like a certain band is just wrong. I am a DJ at an internet radio music has become very much part of my life and right now I am writing a paper on song covers for school...I learned something today this song has been covered TWICE not just once and TEARS FOR FEARS sang it first!!! IMAGINE THAT!!!
  • Mark from Pennsville, NjTears For Fears suck so by default the Gary Jules version is better. If you're a dude and listen to Tears For Fears, you're no man.
  • Kayla from EnglandI can't believe all of the numpties who like Gary Jules version of this song better! I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but it sickens me when people actually like a crappy cover better than the classic original! Tears for Fears for LIFE and 80S ONLY! I love you Curt and Roland!!
  • Sioraf from Macroon, IrelandI was sick to death of the Jules version. I heard the Tears For Fears version and I like it. One does not simply do a song more slowly and expect that it will be better.
  • Daniel from Winchester, OhI like Gary Jules cover better.. just sayin' it fits more my style.
  • Jd from Paoli, Inanyone else remember that part on the gears of war trailer? i think it is on the game itself. but i dont know.
  • Dan from Los Angeles, CaThe chorus of this song borrows it's melody from the bridge of the Cat Stevens hit, "Matthew & Son."

    He's got people who've been working, for 50 years
    No one asks for more money, cause nobody cares
    Even though they're pretty low and, they're rents in arrears.
  • Jema from South Portland, MeI like the Tears For Fears "Mad World" because of how it's upbeat.I like the Gary Jules version because of the piano and I like his voice.Both versions are special in there own way.I think this song is really beautiful.
  • Matt from Glendale, AzIf you have never heard Tears For Fears "Mad World" ,you are just part of the mad world and its ironic which lacks "self-awareness" that it is so backwards and illogically stupid.People work to pay the taxes,people work for 50 years and never decide to write a book,write a song,perform live,be an adventurer,be something great..they all settle to be part of a mchine of madness.The original song "Mad World" by Tears for Fears portrays in irony the attitude of a person coming of age who steps into the "real world" only realize its anything but "grown up"...infact its MAD.Its a mad world...little kids wait for the day they feel good happy birthday..its ironic that those same children grow up to be poop shoveling machines of an insane society that drivels in going in circles,as it is unaware of itself and its madness. Gary Jules,and adam lambert bastardized the song..because they turned it into a bastardized suicide note rather than the original in its context of Irony and attitude.
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlEh-oh! REM never covered this I am told...Jule's cover is often mistaken for REM! LOL! Oh well! Nonetheless, I love it!
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlIf you listen to REM's cover of this, you're in for a treat! It is awesome!
  • James Wilson from Trenton, NjThis is not the Tears for Fears version. This is the Gary Jules version. You can tell not only because of the slower tempo and voice but because of the video. I like Gary's version a lot better. It was featured on House and some other programs and some movies.
  • David from Summit Hill, PaLet me state two things. One, I don't care much for Adam Lambert, but I think his cover of this song fits the lyrics better than either of the other two artists. The lyrics are heavy and his arrangement is hypnotic and captivating. Jules' version is probably the next best and unfortunately, the original version by Tears for Fears is the worst in my opinion because it's tempo doesn't match the weight of the song. Just my two cents...
  • Daniel from Winchester, OhBoth versions are pretty good, I personally like Gary Jules version better though..
  • Johnathan from Albuquerque, Nmthe way gary jules sings it makes it more appropriate to the lyrics. the irony of the tears for fears version is that it has an up beat new wave dance sound, but gloomy lyrics.
  • James from New Market, InTears For Fears is one of those bands that actually has meaningful and applicable lyrics that make a song. "Mad World", is a great example, showing deep insight in the troubled youth. Gary Jules and Richard may not have done this song justice when they covered it for Donnie Darko, but their cover is a unique song of it's own. They actually transcended the song into a spiritually open glimpse into a meloncholy dimension. Sadly, Adam Lambert's version is too dramatic. He is a whiney homosexual who complains that men should be just as entitled to be sexually explicit and revealing in the media as women have come to be by pushing the limits, when it's already too much. Anyway, this song is one of my favorites.
  • Mimzy from Salem, Orthis song is best known for its use in Donnie Darko, but it was also the first hit for Tears for Fears. seeing them tomorrow! :D
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnAdam Lambert is the best signer I have ever heard! And I am not making a joke. This song is haunting.
  • Og from Los Angeles, CaAdam Lambert? The screaming "singer". Wow.
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyThis has always been one of my favorite tunes, and I think Adam Lambert's interpretation on American Idol of the Gary Jules version was the launching point for his popularity on the show, and probably beyond.
  • Ron from New Harmony, UtI find it interesting how songs of different eras can find new life with a new artist, new tempo, and new arrangement. It speaks to the durability of a quality song. The words to this songs are so haunting and the 2/4 tempo along with the minor key and simplistic piano accompaniement make them even more meaningful. One has to wonder if popular music style of the time has a conscious or subconcious affect on the way the song is presented. The Tears for Fears version is a classic example of what a song should sound like in 1983 with the drum machine robotic dance rhythm and various other rhythmic "noises". Notice the "mandatory" dance moves of the guy in the background during the video at 1:44 through 2:02. They sure look corny now.
  • Jonathan from Paoli, InI have written a Remix to this song Not making fun but bringing out the good:

    Top prime there is no more
    What's the point in searchin' what is it for
    I go to sleep as a lonely stray
    Wake up to school on the baddest day
    Try harder who the heck am I trying to be
    I once was blind right now I see
    There's people bringing me down I aint ever gonna make it
    But this is an open opportunity I bet I'll take it
    In every school I go there's a rich kid who tries
    They pick a fight with me, then I'm just caught in a lie
    I've never won a fight but I still fight them
    Never made it big, but my songs I still write them

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

    I find it kind of funny it was just last week
    They were standing in the class calling me a freak
    But now they're my friends because I have a little cash
    They're in to rolling hard cuz' they heard about a bash
    My girl was ugly, psycho a freak
    Where's yours right now think before you speak
    My dad neglects me but I still move on
    I fight my emotions til' the worst is gone
    Hang my head low I walk til' used
    I'm doing what's right I'm so confused
    Is it believing what's right when you run out of luck
    I hope I sell an album even though I suck

    Children waiting for the day they feel good
    Happy Birthday, Happy birthday
    Made to feel the 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

    December 25th it was cold that night
    Christmas wasn't much but it all seemed right
    Two shirts and a tape recorder that's all I had
    But I didn't have my mom fighting with my stepdad
    Cuz' I remember we were going broke
    They were cussing and fighting my mom got choked
    We were headin' down the driveway tryin' not to cry
    And I was hoping the cops would just kill that guy
    Control my emotions trust a friend
    Tell the shrink and be back on the same dead end
    I'm never taking crap like I did last year
    I'll make it big but I'm heading out of here
    Some people say I suck way towards the USA
    Man I don't give a heck give a care what you say
    My world is a very, very mad world
    So mad I just want to hurl
    Some people question me, how the heck can I move on
    With no brothers by my side and my families always gone
    I guess I just had it in me all along
    I just had it in a paper I just had to write the song
    When I dropped a beat I still kept writin'
    When I threw a punch I still kept fightin'
    I guess I'll have another time
    Laying back just livin' my prime

    All around me are familiar faces
    Worn out places, worn out places
    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
  • Fay from Idaho Falls, IdAdam Lambert will have a hit with this song. He is amazing.
  • Livia from Schaffhausen, SwitzerlandMany ppl will hate me now, but I still think the Tears for Fears is much better than Gary Jules.

    The version of GJ may be slower and he sings with more feeling but I don't think that's better, cause the singer (Orzabal) had his own point of view while he wrote the song.
    So Orzabal made the song perfect, cause he was able to express his feelings like he wanted to.
    So he decided how to sing the song and so it sounds maybe a bit monotonous...
  • Matt from Boston, MaIt's just a song about "quiet desperation" as Pink Floyd once called it.
  • Matt from Boston, MaThe Jules version is incredible. I don't know if any of you are fans of "The Shield", but if so check out this link:
  • Aann from Miami, FlThis song totally brings me down, but that's okay... Gary's version is so simple and stabs at any pain that may be lingering in your soul.. despair?? THANK GOD i dont listen to this song ofter and prefer my Christian music...
  • Fulu Thompho from Limpopo, South Africacan yankovic make a parody of this song? anyway the jule's version is quite good than the original one
  • David from San Francisco, CaRoland Orzabal and Curt Smith got Tears For Fears back together and released a new album in 2004.

    CNN asked them about Gary Jules cover. They said they loved it; they graciously said it was better than their original.

    They went on to say that it made them rethink the song a bit, and now they play it slower in concerts.

    There's a live version on their "Gold" collection that is a brilliant melding of both interpretations.
  • Koos from Tulsa, OkIf you like Gary's version, that's GREAT! I like it as well. It's very different than the original by TFF, BUT don't rag on the original, I mean it was written by Roland. So at least give him full credit for the cool lyrics that you seem to enjoy! And Roland wrote the music too so you can't actually "hate" nor not like the original. Now Gary's version is more current to today's sound and reflects the mood of Donnie Darko perfectly. The faster electro/synth sound TFF used back in 81/82 was ahead of it's time. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith wrote hundreds of songs, this was just one of them. Many you still hear today: EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD, SHOUT, Head Over Heals, Woman In Chains, Sowing the Seeds of Love, CHANGE, I don't know how many hit songs Gary Jules has written but he picked a cool song to redo with Mad World.
  • Al from Galveston Island, TxThe song writer:Roland Orzabal did the best at this song from start to finish because of pioneering and creativity. That took great talent to have someone even consider copying it almost 20 years later and use it in a movie. It was only because a very lyrically great song was created that Gary Jules was able to do a very good copy. He heard what he wanted to change, like the speed, that gave it a good feeling that worked very well and may very well have enhanced the song for the better. I give the real credit to Tears for Fears! And I really like Sara Hickman's version. Date of this message is 5-20-08. What do yall think? 1986 Grad.
    -AL,Galveston Island,TX,
  • Yos from Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicJules version is way better and more mainstream that the Tears For Fears version.
  • Br!tt@ny from Florissant, Mogary's version is wayy stellar! i love the fact that it was used on the gears of war rele gives u the feeling that something intense and sad is happening!
  • Jezebel from Lincoln, MoI think the Tears For Fears version is funky.......I love it!!! But no seriously Jules is way better!
  • Hannah from Madison, WiI had never heard the tears for fears version, and I'm so glad it was rescued by a real artist. If it hadn't been redone it would have landed in the crappy 80's bin with so many others.
  • Max from Laconia, NhThis song is so cool. Gary Jules did a more dark cover for it too. Both of them are awsome!
  • John from Hendersonville, NcThe cover is so much better than this.
  • Soso from Somewhere, United Statesthis song is so beautiful
  • Joe from Chicago, Ardonnie darko is a weird movie but it's good for a drama thriller and i like weird so whatever good song has a kool video i like both the cover and the original i have to say that they were both done very well........of course the original is usually better but i think for this one they might be tied if you ask me.
  • Matt from Lexington, MeAlthough I enjoy both versions of the song quite a lot, I think that it is kind of stupid to think the GJ version was the way it was ment to be, as the meaning of a song is open to the interpretation of the Listener/Singer. It may have made perfect since to both parties that took place in singing it, and simply ment something totally diffrent to each one. That doesn't nessaraly make either interpretation incorrect, it just means that they are diffrent people, and have diffrent views of the world. You also have to take into account the diffrent time periods in which the songs were made, as was said earlier--"This song was written in a time of social and political unrest in the united kingdom, this song was rolands view point on the dystopian Thatcherite goverment of the 1980s."
    - roz cuthbert, darlington, England

    and as far as I can tell, the only reason GJ remade Mad World was to be a soundtrack for Donnie Darko, ( I have researched this, albit not very deeply.) And if this was the case, and the remake was sung solely to fit the purposes of the movie, then the original was far better.
  • Karl from Spokane, WaI like the Gary Jules version better as well...

    I also thought that the PR people used this very nicely with the ads for Gears of War.

    Youtube link:
  • John from AucklandJason Kerrison of the New Zealand band Opshop did a very similar version of the Gary Jules recording. It was not a full recording, just part of the song, recorded for a holiday road safety TV advert. The haunting way in which it was sung, along with the images of loved ones fading slowly out of old photographs (the people who faded away had died in road accidents) was brilliant.
    -John, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Shannon from Auburn, WaI love the Gary Jules version, its at the end of my favorite movie! Im not so in love with the Tears for Fears version, but its, well, alright to say it for the best. But i think even though Gary didnt write it, i think he had a better idea of what the song was about and how to bring out its best qualities.
  • T. Michels from Venlo, NetherlandsTalking about remixes/remakes: There's a mash of the original Mad World with the song 'Giant' from an artist named Cass (:?) It's a great, breakbeat song and it's name is either 'Giant Mad World' or 'Mad New World'. When you hear it you first think: 'Yeah sure, that ain't Mad world!' but as the song goes along you suddenly hear the original song coming through. And then, bahm! Curts siniging! I played it like a thousand times already, And I still get shivers when I hear it! It's a real recommandation if you're into TFF and not afraid to listen to some remixes (Like me).
    Althought it has a lenght of 10.56, it's worth listening to.
    It was released in 2003 but I don't believe it was like a hit, just one of those good songs they never play(ed) on the radio.
  • T. Michels from Venlo, NetherlandsTo me, a real TFF-fan, it doesn't wheter Gary Jules sing it or TFF. Jules' version is a very good interpretation of the song, just as TFF said theirselves, they thought that Jules gave the song a twist wich made it perfect.

    Great song
  • Mark from Birmingham, EnglandThe line "the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had" are a reference to Dr Arthur Janov's theories on Primal Therapy that Roland Orzabel had read. The song "Shout" also refers to this subject.
    Primal Therapy is a field of psychology which advocates the release of repressed pain.
  • Craig from Falkirk, Scotlandthe original does what it says on the tin,donnie version is selling out and screwing up the real meaning of the song,why change it? u ruined it.
  • Rob from Albuquerque, NmIt's funny when I first heard this song I thought he says " the dreams I meet John Gotti are the best I ever had"
  • Izzie from Lala, Hii Love the gary jules version. it fits so pefectly at the end of donnie darko. "i find it kind of funny, i find it kind of sad, the dreams in which im dying are the best ive ever had." it just reminds me of donnie darko himself. the jules version is very slow and haunting, it sticks with you. i also like the tears for fears version, but i love the gary jules cover more. great song!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesTears For Fears' version? Great! Gary Jules' version? PANTS!
  • AnonymousThe melody to "I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad..." is quite similar to Cat Stevens' Matthew and Son: "He's got people who've been working for fifty years - No one asks for more money cuz nobody cares - Even though they're pretty low and their rent's in arrears"
  • Nicole from Nottellin, OrMy favorite Tears for Fears song. I related so much to this song when I was in high school, feeling alienated and different. Simple and intense song. "The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had" is one of the best lines ever.
  • Roz Cuthbert from Darlington, EnglandThis song (the original tears for fears version which is the only credible version) was written in a time of social and political unrest in the united kingdom, this song was rolands view point on the dystopian Thatcherite government of the 1980s.
  • Laura from Spencerport, NyGary Jules is an amazing artist and covers this song beautifully. Haunting and mesmorizing, but honest and spiritually meaningful.
  • Lucas from Someplace In Ca, CaIt sure was written by Roland Orzabal. Good song, original is better, the new one seems like Gary sold out and used the song for his use to make an extra buck.
  • Eric from Corunna, MiCSI bastardized the song it didn't properly convey the mood at all i want to kill CSI to death.
  • William from Ny, NyI first heard the Jules/Andrews version on the csi show and was inthrawled with it, I couldnt get it out of my head and it was so familiar. I finally found the name of it and saw it was an old tears for fears song who I never cared for but explains where I had heard it before. In my opinion the tears for fears version seem kinda funny being that up beat with such sad lyrics. Can anyone tell me who actually wrote the song? Was it orzbal (im sure i mispelled his name) from tears for fears? i cant find the writing credits. thanx
  • Jerad from Terre Haute, InGary Jule's version was used in the opening of CSI on September 29, 2005.
  • K.t. from Juneau, AkThe Gary Jules' version was also included in a production by PJ Paperelli called "Columbinus" obviously about the 1999 shooting at Columbine. In the play this song along the the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" stand out. This song fit absolutley perfectly as its lyrics depict almost exactly the mood of the characters. I don't think that the Tears for Fears song would fit too well anyhow just thought I would throw that in.
  • Johnny from Rockland, MaI have never heard the tears for fears version, but the Gary Jules song is awesome. Donnie Darko is an awesome movie. I watched it in my film class in high school. the teacher had us write a paper on "Mad World" after we had listened to it. I kept thinking of this song my first few days in college because i felt alienated and alone. "went to school and i was very nervous, no one knew one knew me".
  • George from England, Englandi dont think the tears for fears version fits the lyrics at all, it seems to jolly but as said it could be ironic, thenagain what kind of person would be ironic about lyrics so grim
  • Ross from Lafayette, LaGary Jules' version is nowhere near as good as the original, and it is one of the many reasons why I abhor the movie Donnie Darko.
  • Q from Shorewood, IlThis song is so...yes haunting and I love it. It suits the way you feel sometimes when you feel alone. Tremendous song.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtYeah, Donnie Darko is a very good film...too bad it's now whored by annoying goths.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtI prefer Gary Jules' version...a fantastic, haunting ballad.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InI had never heard this tune till watching Donnie Darko. This is such a great under-rated movie with an excellent soundtrack, but this song ending the movie was so perfect. I love a good soundtrack, but where songs fall within the movie is much more important then the song per se. I really don't care for the Tears for Fears version. I think the slower more depressing one plays out so much better. Richard Kelly made a great choice in using this like he did. I just wish more directors had that kind of musical sense.
  • John from Millersville, MdDonnie Darko also featured the song "Head Over Heels" (by Tears For Fears, of course).

    It was used in a nice little scene where a camera flies around the school...not exactly fitting, considering it observes drug use and the etcetera, but my favorite part of the movie nonetheless. Perhpaps it's only because I love the song so much.
  • Rachael from Calgary, CanadaJule's version was perfectly suited for the end of Donnie Darko. There's something so haunting about this song, regardless of who sings it.
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