Gary Aguirre | Paradigm
What was your first, gut reaction when you heard Susan's cover of the song?
My first thought was, "Wow, what an amazing song." It's become a post-modern classic. I'm never finished being surprised by the power, the real life magic, of a great song -- and I've been lucky enough to see the power of this one as much as almost anyone, both as a fan and a performer. My son went to sleep last night listening to Tears for Fears' 'The Hurting' -- he's seven and absolutely taken with that album, as (with so many others) were my friend Mike Andrews and I as teenagers in the '80s. Our version, Mike's music and my voice, remembered some and exposed many others to 'Mad World,' many who were too young to even know the original. In its simplicity, Susan's interpretation will inevitably do the same, speak to even more folks. Kudos to Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. I'm not even sure that's my favorite song on that album. What a writer, what a team. It's been amazing to watch.
The video for your version of 'Mad World' is visually amazing, what kind of treatment do you think Susan should give her video?
Ha! I wish I could take credit for the video. It was conceived wholly by Michel Gondry, who directed most of my favorite music videos in the world, ever. He went on to do 'The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind' and 'The Science of Sleep.' Working with him was humbling. So easy. What I loved about his vision was that he didn't try to tell you anything about how mad the world is. No news clippings, no snide quips or saccharine melodrama. No tanks, no soundbites, no politics. Just universal images, art, life. More powerful than any issue-oriented sentiment. Any temporal framing takes away from the power of the song -- and that's the only thing on display here except Susan's voice. If she's going to make a video, I hope her folks keep it simple.
So what other artist would you love to hear cover the song?
Anyone who really feels it, and can bring something new while respecting what is essentially perfect in the composition. Another direction. As I sit here I am imagining hearing Finley Quaye, Skrillex, Laura Marling, Massive Attack, Mason Jennings, the XX, The Flaming Lips, Adele obviously. Any of those folks would be brilliant, unique. The song is universal, and would be powerful transmitting from any antenna that really speaks to people -- like Susan.