The Message in the Music

So this blog has been fairly dark for a long time (what else is new), but if you’re absolutely wanting to read anything that I write, I’ve been reviewing games over at Pixel Judge since February. On with the show…

I’ve been listening to a lot of songs I haven’t really looked at in the past, two of which are the 1983 Tears For Fears Single ‘Mad World’, and it’s later cover for the 2001 movie Donnie Darko – performed by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews. While I generally tend to write off most commercial cover versions of songs as the efforts of lesser artists attempting to latch on the fame of their betters, I have a soft spot for anyone who takes the song and makes it their own – those who change the feel or the meaning of the song (or those who play it for comedy) – and this is one of the better examples that I’ve come across.

Here’s the original:

And here’s the Cover:

The only thing that’s different between the two is the musical arrangement, yet both inspire different feelings within me.

The way Tears For Fears arranged it, with the heavy synth and percussion, stirs feelings of impotent rage at the surrounding world, and the anguish that can come of that when there is no way of truly expressing that anger – expressing in that anguish that “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”, that there is no other way to express their frustration and anger at the mad world around them then to remove themselves from it entirely. It feels more like a young person’s embittered plea for something to make sense in a world that seems to be getting stranger and stranger.

Gary Jules’ version, with it’s slow piano and laid back lyrical performance, speaks more of a older person struggling with depression, left wondering how things had changed so rapidly, and what happened to the idealistic dreamer that they once were. Left with no ability to change their past, they see no potential in their future, and they lament that the only dreams they have that’s worth anything are the dreams in which they are dying….

So maybe this was a bit of a depressing song to talk about….in any case, are there any other examples of a cover bringing a different interpretation of a song to the table? Let us know you’re favourites.


One response to “The Message in the Music

  1. Pingback: Where have I been? | Freelancing for the Kingdom

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