Adam Lambert at Oracle Arena in Oakland, July 11, 2009

Adam Lambert at Oracle Arena in Oakland, July 11, 2009

 During a recent performance in Santa Rosa, before heading off for another concert event in Japan, Tears for Fears singer Curt Smith said this before starting his next set: “Here is the original of this song, no matter how others are doing it.”
TFF then broke out into their 1982 hit “Mad World.”
Now you have to backtrack three days and hear what AI runnerup this season, Adam Lambert, had to say about “Mad World.”
For better or worse, “Mad World” had become one of, if not the signature song for Lambert during the eighth season of the show. Toss out his neo-glam rocker style, eliminate the theatrical entrance and performance of “Whole Lotta Love” and what you have left is a pure performance of “Mad World” with Lambert on stage, in dazzling white sitting under a spotlight, slowing the song down to a point where you can really judge his talent as a singer.
So, how did that happen for him?
“They (AI producers) wanted us to sing a song from the year we were born and I started looking around for a song from 1982. I recalled the version that Gary Jules (the song was a huge hit in England) sang in the movie Donnie Darko. It was kind of haunting and eerie and I kind of thought I’d like to go in that direction.”
Whether Smith was referring to Lambert or Jules when he made reference to the slower version that night in Santa Rosa, we’ll never know. He was probably referring to both of them.
“I have never heard Tears For Fears perform that song,” Lambert said. “But it’s a very cool version. Tears For Fears are the originals with it. They deserve all the credit for that song. I’m just the new kid on the block with ‘Mad World.'”

Following are the lyrics to the song and links to all three versions: TFF, Jules and Lambert.

You make the call, which version is better?

“Mad World”

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
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
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
‘Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
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

Tears for Fears original:

Gary Jules version from Donnie Darko:

Adam Lambert’s interpretation from AI: