"Mad World" is a song written by Roland Orzabal of the band Tears for Fears, "Mad World" was originally written on acoustic guitar when Orzabal was 19, it was a deliberate attempt to write something in the vein of Duran Duran's "Girls on Film".
"Mad World" achieved a second round of success almost twenty years later after it was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the film Donnie Darko in 2001. While the Tears for Fears version featured synthesizers and heavy percussion, the Andrews/Jules version was stripped down; instead of a full musical backing, it used only a set of piano chords, a mellotron imitating a cello, and modest use of a vocoder on the chorus. Their version was originally released on CD in 2002 on the film's soundtrack, but an increasing cult-following spawned by the movie's DVD release finally prompted Jules and Andrews to issue the song as a proper single. The release was a success in late 2003, becoming the Christmas number one single in the UK.
The music video was directed by Michel Gondry. The song's success in the United Kingdom however did not translate to the United States, where it reached number 30 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.