Back to song list

Tears for Fears - Mad World - Lyrics Meaning

This was a hit for Tears For Fears in 1983 and then hit the charts again twenty years later in 2003 with a version done by Gary Jules.

The lyrics are written from the viewpoint of a troubled teenager, looking out on a `mad world' and struggling with thoughts of suicide. Written by Roland Orzabal, he said, "Lyrically the song is pretty loose. It throws together a lot of different images to paint a picture without saying anything specific about the world...It came to me when I lived above a pizza restaurant in Bath and I could look out onto the centre of the city. Not that Bath is very mad - I should have called it `Bourgeois World!"'

The bulk of the song comments on how he sees the world, with people rushing around going about their everyday business yet never really seeming to get anywhere. A more personal verse focuses on how he's feeling and his growing sense of not fitting in to the world. This may have been drawn from Orzabal's own, well documented, troubled childhood which has inspired many of his lyrics.

The most haunting line in the song lets us in on his suicidal thoughts with, `The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had,' sending a chilling message. The 2003 cover version was used in the soundtrack of the psychological thriller `Donnie Darko'.

Visit Music Banter - The Internet's Top Music Community

Add your own interpretation and discuss lyrics of this song: