Tears for Fears

Mad World

Song Review by

1983's The Hurting gave Tears for Fears Top Ten hits in the U.K. with "Change" and a revamped version of "Pale Shelter," but it was the alternative-sounding "Mad World" that gained the most attention, going all the way to number three. Produced by Chris Hughes, a former drummer with Adam and the Ants, the song established the band as astute, pensive, and musically savvy, led by the tight partnership of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. "Mad World" harbored a left-of-center type quality in both its lyrics and its doubled melody, straying ever so slightly from the pop norm at the time. Not only does the song demonstrate the band's musical affluence in its early stages, but "Mad World" reeled in other audience types with its unconventional style and next-to-new wave push. "Mad World," as well as the rest of The Hurting, was a precursor to bigger and better things, namely 1985's Songs From the Big Chair. Even though The Hurting was left behind with the success of Big Chair, the songs that come from it, especially "Mad World," glisten with amateur edginess and semi-undergroud attractiveness.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Hurting 1983 Island / Mercury 3:46
No Image 1984 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1985
Various Artists
No Image 1991 Red Phantom 3:48
Tears Roll Down: Greatest Hits 1982-1992 1992 Fontana Distribution / Polygram 3:29
Pop & Wave, Vol. 5: The Neverending 80's [#2] 1994
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:33
Pop & Wave, Vol. 5: The Neverending 80's [#1] 1994
Various Artists
Columbia 3:32
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Now: 1982 [2 CD] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 3:34
Shout: The Very Best of Tears for Fears 2001 Mercury / Uptown / Universal 3:34
Electric Dreams: '80s Synth Pop Classics 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Electric: The Very Best Early Electronic, New Wave & Synth 2002
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 3:31
The Best of Remixes 2002 Universal International 3:43
The Collection 2003 Universal International 3:33
The Hurting/Seeds of Love/Songs from the Big Chair 2003 Universal Distribution 3:42
Ultimate Collection 2003 Universal Distribution 3:31
#1's: 38 of the Greatest #1 Singles of All Time 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:31
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:31
1S - 38 of the Greatest Number 1 Singles of All Time 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:30
Chronicles: The Hurting/Songs from the Big Chair/The Seeds of Love 2005 Mercury 3:42
Another Lost Decade: The '80s Second British Invasion 2005
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:33
Gold 2006 Hip-O / Universal Music 5:43
Gold: '80s British 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:44
Famous Last Words: The Collection 2007 Spectrum Music / UMVD 3:32
The Silver Spectrum Collection 2007 Universal Distribution 3:34
Greatest Hits [CD1] 2007 Universal Music 3:29
The 80s Collection 2008
Various Artists
Brunswick 3:36
Here and Now: The Very Best of the 80s 2008
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:31
Anthems: Electronic '80s 2009
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:31
The Firm [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2009
Original Soundtrack
Universal 3:32
Ashes to Ashes, Series 3 2010
Original Soundtrack
Sony CMG / Sony Music Entertainment 3:32
Total 80s Pop 2010
Various Artists
Universal 3:34
Mad World: The Collection 2010 Spectrum Music 3:32
Awesome '80s 2011
Various Artists
Mood Media Entertainment 3:34
Greatest Ever! Electric Eighties 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:31
Everybody Wants to Rule the World: The Collection 2013 Spectrum Audio / Spectrum Music 3:33
Now That's What I Call New Wave 80s 2015
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music 3:30
Rule the World: The Greatest Hits 2017 Mercury 3:34
100 Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:33
Best of 1983: 20th Century Masters
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing / Universal Music 3:34
No Image
Various Artists
EMI / Mixed Repertoire 3:35
Mother's Love Songs, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
The Best '80s Hits Collection
Various Artists
Universal 3:35