"Mad World" as written by and Roland Orzabal....
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
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 'cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world
Mad world
Mad world
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

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 'cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world
Mad world
Mad world
Mad world

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 'cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world
Mad world

Enlarging your world
Mad world


Lyrics submitted by Willowbear

"Mad World" as written by Roland Orzabal

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Mad World song meanings
Add your thoughts

149 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +6
    General CommentOk, where can I read the meanings of the song, and not comments about Donnie Darko, o Gary Jules? Geez, how annoying.
    angeliquezombifiedon March 05, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthis song is about how messed up the world is. how people spend their lives going through the same old motions everyday, just doing their best to not think about death....instead of just living their lives.
    MrEMan02on April 25, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentShut the fuck up about Donnie freakin' Darko!

    ITS A DIFFERENT BLOODY SINGER.
    Go on the Gary Jules page to talk about it.
    I even went to the liberty of getting the link for you:

    songmeanings.net/…

    highlight, copy, paste, AND FUCK OFF.

    That said, great song =]
    crazycasualtyon May 03, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentJust a quick add to my previous post: According to Curt, the word is actually "Hlaajean": a reference to Hlaaj, a figmentary planet that producer Chris Hughes created. Curt told this story in a 1983 interview, and he recently confirmed its accuracy.
    biba01on September 18, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThanks to biba01 for the "hlaajean" correction.

    The part of the song containing "'enlargen' your world" had bothered me for a long time --- even though it has clearly been adopted to "enlargen" your world in the Gary Jules cover version, the original Tears for Fears version does NOT sound like Curt is saying "enlargen" at all. Later performances by Tears for Fears seem to skip the reference entirely, raising further suspicion. If you read Curt's lips in this youtube video of a 1982 performance, it's even more apparent that he's saying "hlaajean" and not "enlargen" --- youtube.com/… (see 2:00.)

    Possibilities I came up with which matched the speech sound more closely, but still didn't seem quite right, were "Herodian world," in reference to Herod The Great (who massacred babies fearing the rise of Jesus) and "Alogian world," in reference to the Alogian sect (a group who rejected Christ as the rational principle that governs the universe.) Both terms were a little bit off from what Curt was saying phonetically, and though either could be interpreted as conveying a "harsh" world that fits the atmosphere of the song, both are subjective religious references.

    I think "Hlaajean world" refers to how alien and foreign the world can sometimes feel. People of modern societies can become so easily caught up in themselves that they become isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world. While this still holds today, I think it was especially true in the 80's, when people had more money to spend and seemed driven to express their individuality in exotic ways.
    jayjechon January 09, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentUGH! Who cares about the Donnie Darko version! We're on the Tears for Fears artist page. good grief.
    sixedhearton April 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI also prefer TFF's version as they always put more layers on how they do a song. The upbeatness of it all is actually kind of their sarcasm, which in a way adds humor in the "mad world" they saw. Not to forget Roland Orzabal's dancing and how it also adds more layers in the original video. But a very literal world now will often miss that and prefer things straightforward and plain, which doesn't add much to the adventure of enjoying a multi layered song such as this one.
    iMeanon May 12, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAwright... In various places, such as on youtube comments I have heard people saying that the cover is "more emotional" and "more human". But i think this song doesnt have to sound like that. it has a manic, eerie, detatched feeling to it. it is somebody out in this mad world feeling alienated, scared, isolated, even though they are surrounded by people.They are unnable to tell any of the "familiar faces". Do they actually know each other? Do they actually know more than just the tip of the ice berg about people they see svery day? no expression... they hide the tears. i think that the teacher was showing the person that they will be looked through, part of a crowd. Sometimes they cant tell others because dont know themselves what is wrong.
    sorry if i am not making any sense, by the way.
    EmiMari1984on November 06, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI like TFT's and Jules', though I feel Jules' cover is an entirely different song. Sure, the lyrics are the same, but it just... isn't the same song. TFT captured the disconnected/dissociated alienation by clashing the downbeat lyrics with an upbeat tempo. Actually, the more upbeat tempo just adds to the depressed sense, since the world does march on without us. People don't care. We live, we suffer, we're happy, we die; it has no impact on the world as a whole. It's a depressing thing to consider, especially as a teen.
    Jules' version just emphasizes the sadness - not to say it's a bad thing, but it's more straightforward to understand. TFT wrote it in a more complex way.
    (For the record, I liked Donnie Darko for the portrayal of 1980s psychiatric care - as someone in the field, it's an interesting and somewhat scary story. And not uncommon in delusional clients... being "emo" definitely isn't something to strive for.)
    Pageturned99on November 07, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI've had enough of people acting like depression and suicide are issues that only teenagers struggle with! This song is very much about depression. It is not age specific.
    Karakalpakon September 13, 2013   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain