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Melancholy Monday: sad songs (Mad World)

February 17, 2014 26 comments

The first time I heard this song was when it was sung by a young man by the name of Adam Lambert on American Idol. He modeled his performance, which was mesmerizing, on a version of the song as done by Gary Jules for the movie Donnie Darko. Both Lambert’s and Jules’ versions of the song, though, differ dramatically from the original, which was written and performed by Tears For Fears. Personally, I dislike the original version because of what I feel is a disconnect between the mood evoked by the lyrics, which is somber, versus how the tune itself was sung and played, the latter being upbeat. I think the jarring nature of that difference was probably intentional, but to me it didn’t work.

Lambert’s (like Jules) version of the song is slow, dark, and moody, and in my opinion the lyrics and the music blend perfectly to create an overwhelming sense of despair and loneliness. How could this not be the case with lyrics such as this:

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had

You can listen to the song here:

To watch the original performance on American Idol, you can watch this video. A testament to how good it was, you’ll see Simon Cowell (my favorite judge) give one of only a few standing ovations he ever felt were deserved. Skip forward 45 seconds to see just the performance.

And finally, if you find yourself with time on your hands and an interest in seeing where this song really came from, here’s the original video as performed by Tears for Fears

Anyone prefer the original version over the new one? If so, why?

–dp

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