#631: 2003, Gary Jules, Mad World

by Ray_North on February 27, 2013

Our economics teacher decided that we would learn about supply and demand and all that much more effectively if we sat next to a person of the opposite sex(!). I was put to sit next to Helen. She had wonderful massive 1980’s hair and used to copy my homework. The only other thing I remember about Helen was that she was absolutely mad for Tears for Fears, in fact all over her books she had scrawled their lyrics – you can record my copy of The Hurting if you like, she said, and I duly took her up on her invitation and recorded it. Mad World was the single off that album – I kind of liked it, I remember it getting played on the Radio, and I remember the ubiquitous Top of the Pops performance. Then I duly forgot all about them. And, I have to admit, Helen, my economics ‘O’ level mate.

Fast forward the best part of twenty years and I went to see Donny Darko in the pictures with Mrs North – a great film, containing a great cover of this old Tears for Fears song. I knew nothing about Gary Jules, indeed, he doesn’t appear to have figured much in my life since, but, he makes a great job of covering this song – first slowing it down, stripping it bare and then adding a vocal performance that turns the lyrics into a wonderfully and powerfully melancholic depiction of loneliness.

Sadly, this is a cover that was destroyed by its own success, for a couple of years, it was everywhere, even managing to make it to Christmas Number 1, and as a result, as can often happen, the power of its initial impact is lost through repetition. Nevertheless – a great cover.

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