Update: The new Taco Bell commercial featuring a new cover of Mad World from the artist Halsey has been added to the “Singer Songwriter” section below.
Mad World, the hit song from the band Tears for Fears (below) was released in 1982 and was covered by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews for the Donnie Darko movie in 2001, bringing the song back into popularity two decades after the original was released.
Here’s the Gary Jules version.
It’s one of my absolute favorite songs and even after listening to almost a hundred different covers of this song in order to put this article together, I’m still not tired of it.
There are so many Mad World covers that it would be crazy of me to publish them all, so I chose the most interesting covers I could find out of the whole bunch.
Let’s get into it!
Choose your favorite genre from the menu below.
- 8-bit – (3 covers)
- Thrash / Black Metal – (3 covers)
- Dark Wave / Goth – (3 covers)
- Folk / Bluegrass – (3 covers)
- Punk – (2 covers)
- Hard Rock / Metal – (2 covers)
- Electronica / Techno – (4 covers)
- Rap / Hip Hop – (3 covers)
- Dubstep – (2 covers)
- A Capella – (2 covers)
- Orchestra / Classical – (3 covers)
- Reggae – (2 covers)
- Blues – (1 cover)
- Choir – (2 covers)
- R&B – (2 covers)
- Singer Songwriter – (2 covers)
- Acoustic – (3 covers)
- Opera – (1 cover)
- Jazz – (3 covers)
Game Deaths by Rob Beschizza – Created by Rob Beschizza for BoingBoing.net. This 8-bit style cover of Mad World is played over a compilation of classic video game deaths.
This 8-bit remake of Mad World comes from Klak Guguilje, a big fan of 8-but music. He’s got a whole bunch of other 8-bit remakes on his YouTube channel.
Derek, or BuckyBoy2009 as he’s known online, is an expert in the mostly forgotten game of Mario Paint Composer. Check out his skills in this Mario Paint Composer Mad World remake.
This song starts out sloppy, but wait until about 1:25 and you’ll understand why this is called thrash metal. If you’re a fan of this kind of music, I think you’ll like this cover from Bludgeond.
Mad World by Zonaria – Get your metal growl fix here.
Mad World Cover by Graveyard of Souls – More growl. This version is a much slower dark metal cover.
Mad World by Tara MacLean – Not exactly folksy, but she’s a folk singer. She has a beautiful voice.
Mad World Punk Cover by Sincerely Me – You’ll like this Mad World rock cover if you like new school punk.
Mad World Metal Cover by Evergreen Terrace – This version starts out with punk vibe, but then gets pretty heavy.
Mad World Metal Cover by Pilotless Drone – These guys really took the time to make this song their own. Hard Rock fans might feel like this starts out a little soft, but it gets much heavier around the 4 minute mark.
Mad World (Pump Remix) by Firemaster – This is a Tears for Fears Mad World Cover because it came out in 1996. Most covers seem to be inspired by the Gary Jules version.
Mad World by DJ Enex and Simba Shan – with Akon Ft. Eminem, Gary Jules & 2Pac – Not an actual cover, but a pretty good mashup, minus the sound quality of Tupac’s part.
Mad World (TOER Dubstep Remix) by TOER – Dubstep kicks in at about 1:20
Mad World (cover) by the Neko Light Orchestra – The Neko Light Orchestra isn’t your typical orchestra, but I highly suggest giving it a listen all the way through.
Mad World (reggae version) by Reggaesta – This is basically the original version with a slightly reggae-fied beat.
Mad World Blues Style by Paul Sahner – This starts out as a generic Mad World piano cover until about the 1 minute mark, then the blues kicks in. This would have been so much better with a quality mic, but it’s still pretty damn good.
Mad World by The Lost Choir – This one was put together by the International Children’s Fund to bring awareness to children in need. It has a powerful message.
Mad World Cover by Novel – This song was dedicated to Oscar Grant, who was unarmed and lying face down when he was shot and killed by Oakland, California police officer Johannes Mehserle in 2009.
This new Mad World cover from Halsey has people everywhere trying to find the full song. At this time (July 22, 2015), the full song hasn’t been released by the artist yet (not even leaked!). Halsey’s new album “Badlands” comes out on August 28th but the song is not listed in the track list. It appears the song was created solely for the Taco Bell commercial and may never be released, but keep an eye on Halsey’s website or SoundCloud profile and maybe it’ll show up. For now, enjoy the Mad World Taco Bell commercial 😉
Mad World Cover by Alex Parks – When I told my wife I was putting this article together, this was the first version she told me to look up. It’s a beautiful cover. I really like all of the Mad World female versions I’ve heard, and this one is definitely one of the best.
Mad World by Elisa Toffoli – Another great Mad World female version. Wait until about the 1:45 mark where it gets really dramatic.
Adam Lambert Mad World Top 8 Performance at American Idol 2009 – Skip ahead to the 45 second mark to skip the biography. This Mad World Lambert cover is one of the most popular covers online. I can see why. He has an amazing voice.
Gary Jules Mad World Cover by Leon Karmameleon – This is a fun one because it’s raw. It’s just a guy playing in a public space in Avignon, France while people are hanging out and kids are running around.
Mad World Guitar Cover by Michael Chapdelaine – Mr. Chapdelaine takes this instrumental Mad World acoustic cover very seriously and that’s a good thing!
Mad World Cover by Renée Fleming – Renée Fleming is a famous soprano opera singer.
Shannon Butcher Quartet performs Mad World on BT – This version is really fast-paced, which is so different from every other cover out there. Shannon Butcher did a great job of transforming this song to her style.
Mad World Gary Jules Cover – Jazz Improvisation on the Piano – this Mad World piano cover has a whole bunch of fun jazz riffs mixed in.