Track of the Day: 'Mad World' by Gary Jules

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A reader, Michael Poole, goes meta with the new series on songs in cinema—by picking a cover song:

Might I suggest the use of the song “Mad World,” originally composed and performed by Tears for Fears [embedded above] but covered by Gary Jules in the film Donnie Darko. The pathos it evokes, while the camera shows faces stricken with grief and confusion, is almost unbearable. I thought the movie was good, but this scene is exceptional:

(The song ends here at the 3:00 mark, and beyond that the dialogue is in French. It’s the only video I could find that shows the scene with the music as it is in the film.)

Thanks for the Track of the Day feature, plus everything the Atlantic does.

(Track of the Day archive here. Access it through Spotify here. Submit via hello@)