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Rate-O-Rama: Mad World

Songmania: Edition #10 / Tears for Fears, Michael Andrews & Gary Jules, Pentatonix

By Rick Henry Christopher Published about a month ago β€’ 4 min read
Tears For Fears / Michael Andrews & Gary Jules / Pentatonix

πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ Celebrating Edition #10 of Rate-O-Rama!!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

In celebration this will be a tough choice!!!

Rate-O-Rama : Songmania is a reader participation game.

Every Sunday I will publish a Rate-O-Rama article which will feature three versions of a popular song.

The object is to listen to each of the music videos provided within the post.

After listening to each video you can rate each song in the comments section below.

(You must be a member to comment. If you are not a member you can join Vocal Media for FREE. You don’t ever have to pay for membership unless you choose to upgrade your membership)


The rating method is easy. Simply give each song a rating of 1 to 100.

(The more you like the song the higher the rating).

If possible, please provide a brief comment explaining the reasoning behind your ratings for each song.

After a week (Saturday evening) I will tally the ratings and in the next Rate-O-Rama post I will announce the winner from the previous post.

The winners will be determined on a scale of averages.

If you wish to receive a notice when the next Rate-O-Rama post is published please mention that you would like a notification in the comments section.


The Raffle!!!

I am taking the Rate-O-Rama series to the next level. At the end of each month I will do a raffle in which the winner will win a $5.00 tip.

To enter all you have to do is participate in playing the Rate-O-Rama game. Since R-O-R is updated every Sunday night in order to qualify you must play the game during it's initial seven day period with Sunday evening being the cutoff period.

For each game you play you will receive a ticket for the raffle. Therefore if you play all four games in the month you will have four chances to win.

The winner will not only win the $5 prize but I will feature your Vocal Profile on Vocal + Assist on both Facebook and Discord and you will be featured in the first R-O-R game of the month after your win.

The September 2023 Rate-O-Rama Raffle Winner:


Last week we featured the Bossa Nova Pop classic: "The Look of Love" as recorded by Dusty Springfield (1967), Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 (1968), and Diana Krall (2001).

The following are the average ratings for each song as resulted from the votes:

πŸ₯‡ Dusty Springfield: 94.7

πŸ₯ˆ Diana Krall: 87.3

πŸ₯‰ Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66: 82.2


The Tenth Edition of Rate-O-Rama features three renditions of the 1980s Synth Pop New Wave classic: "Mad World."


Tears For Fears (1982)

"Mad World" was Tears For Fears' (TFF) first Top Ten hit. The song made it to #6 in the Ireland, #3 in the UK, and #2 in South Africa. It just missed the Top Ten in Australia making it to #12. In the US TFF had not yet hit big. Although the album, The Hurting, from which the song came made it to US #73 and "Mad World" received regular rotation on alternative rock radio stations such as KROQ.

The lyric "the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had" suggests that dreams of intense experiences such as death will be the best at releasing tension. (Wikipedia)


Michael Andrews and Gary Jules (2001)

This rendition gained fame when it was used in the film Donnie Darko, a psychological thriller. Originally the song appeared on Gary Jules' 1998 album Greetings from the Side.

Initially the song received little attention though over the next two years it gained momentum and was finally released as a single in December 2003.

The Andrews/Jules rendition became a major hit around the world making it to #1 in the UK, Scotland, and Portugal. It was in the Top Ten in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and Sweden.


Pentatonix (2020)

American a cappella vocal group Pentatonix recorded "Mad World" as a one off single. Their rendition did not chart but made an impact during the worldwide pandemic lock downs.


My Thoughts


Tears For Fears: A great song is a great song and the covers of this song are top notch. But TFF put so much heart and soul into it. The musicianship is sublime and Curt Smith's lead vocal cuts right through every emotion and really makes you feel it. This is one of those few songs that has actually moved me to tears. It is so beautiful. 100


Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: This is a very effective cover. Almost as great as the original. I love the dramatic stripped down arrangement of only piano, mellotron, marimba, xylophone, ukulele, and organ. There are no drums or guitars, both of which I'm a big fan of. But that's okay. It still works very well. My score 90


Pentatonix: Wow! What a stellar performance. It's amazing what five voices can do. I give this 90


I will be back next week with the results of this Rate-O-Rama Edition.

Last Week's Rate-O-Rama:

With Love, RHC ❀️

pop culturesynthsong reviewsrockpopnew waveinterviewhistoryfeaturebandsartalt rockalternative80s music

About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction for me. It takes me to places unknown that fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and a soothing of the breaks and bruises of the day.

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Comments (15)

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  • Lamar Wiggins26 days ago

    This one of the rare occasions when other versions are better than the original. It's interesting how all the covers that I've listened to slowed the tempo. It truly works better at a slower tempo. With that said, I've seen all of the versions listed before and then some. It's an amazing song. Out of the 3 listed. Pentatonix did it for me. It's a total experience. Maybe a touch overproduced but I didn't care. I agree with Randy about the Gary Jules' version. Works good as part of a soundtrack. TFF was good obviously. The dancing was the best. The lyrics are genius. TFF 80 Gary Jules 80 Pentatonix 100

  • D. A. Ratliff29 days ago

    Incredible song, so intimate and moving, and all three groups did justice to the music. Pentatonix: 100 Vocal perfection, and I love the quiet, intimate rendition. Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: 95 I love this version because it was the first artist I heard perform the song. I love the very gravelly vocals, which convey so much emotion. I'm with Rick. I love drums and guitar, but there was enough percussion from the marimba and xylophone to make it work. Tears for Fears: 95 One of my favorite groups, and the rock version is terrific.I love the vocals, but I do like the quieter versions.

  • D. A. Ratliff29 days ago

    Darn it.. I missed last week!!! And "The Look of Love" is a favorite song, I LOVE Dusty and Sergio Mendesl and Diana Krall!!! I would have given them all a 100!!!!!! Okay, off to this week's fun!!!

  • J. Delaney-Howe30 days ago

    This is a great song and each cover is great. For this one, I have to go with the Pentatonix version. I give them 100, tears for fears an 80, and the second one 90. Just a great song.

  • Mariann Carroll30 days ago

    I am all in for Tears for Fears πŸ’― %

  • Naveedabout a month ago

    I'm a big fan of both Tears for Fears and Michael Andrews and Gary Jules, so I love both of their versions of this song. 95

  • It's a beautiful song that I really like. Tears For Fears: 80 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: 80 Pentatonix: 90 If I could choose outside those 3, my favorite is by Julia Westlin at 100 πŸ’™Anneliese

  • Both Tears for Fears & Pentatonix moved me to tears. Michael Andrews & Gary Jules feels to me that it's meant to be part of a soundtrack & is probably wonderfully effective emoting with whatever is happening on screen. Tears for Fears 100. (I loved the instrumentation. Vocals were spot on. About the only thing I preferred with the other two was that it was easier for me to make out the words.) Andrews & Jules 95. (Solid cover & I loved the video. But it didn't quite pop for me the way the other two did.) Pentatonix 100. (Full disclosure, I'm a huge fan. I've yet to find anything of theirs I don't simply love. Even so, they brought tears to my eyes, so I stand by my score.)

  • Tears For Fears: 90 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: 40 Pentatonix: 100 Those voices are incredibly Gifted-

  • Grz Colmabout a month ago

    -I prefer Andrew/ Gary Jules, (97) as that is the one I’m most familiar with and came to my attention with Donnie Darko twenty yrs ago! -Tears for fears, 85, good voice, great 80s sounds -Pentatonix cover 70, good voices but I’m not personally big on the musical arrangement.. a lot has been changed. Originally, I was wondering why you didn’t include Cat Stevens rendition, but then realised it a totally different song entitled Wild world! πŸ˜…πŸ˜† That could be a good one to do down the track.

  • The Invisible Writerabout a month ago

    My vote is Gary jules 100 followed by the other two 95 but I do have to say my real favorite is Jasmine Thompson’s cover

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Tears For Fears: 90 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: 40 Pentatonix: 40 Can't believe that yet again I liked the oldest version!

  • Celia in Underlandabout a month ago

    TFF 70 Gary Jules 100 Pentatonix 80 I've always loved the beautiful starkness of GJ. the others just seem too fussy and 'tricksy'

  • Scott Christensonabout a month ago

    I had always thought Gary Jules was the original! His rendition was on of the most iconic song about loneliness of the 00s. (Gen-z's Eleanor Rigby?) I really liked pentatonix when they first came out. But now I find them similar to those singers on american idol/x-factor who sing absolutely perfectly, but are just missing some raw human emotion. Its actually the imperfections that can make art rise up to the next level sometimes. TFF 80 Gray Jules 100 Pentatonix 75

  • Mother Combsabout a month ago

    100 99 99 They all did such an excellent job

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