Monday, February 20, 2006

Mad World, by Tears for Fears

All it takes is a different way of saying things. It's not at all complicated, if you think about it. It is, indeed, a question of interpretation. A manner. A song from 1982, published as a seven-inch single (with Ideas As Opiates on the b-side), Mad World found its perfect homage through a complex reinterpretation. Richard Kelly knew what he was doing -or so it seems- when he included Echo & the Bunnymen, Duran Duran, Joy Division and The Church in the soundtrack for his film. After the heroic tragedy -what an oxymoron!-, the coda of the story is built over the bricks of a reconstruction. Michael Andrews and Gary Jules rewrite Mad World and save its original sadness, its lost innocence, forgotten by layers of dust over the vinyl grooves. Exactly 20 years later, Tears for Fears prove that theirs was a tragic -failed- enterprise. This is the poem of the flaneur who walks the city, like a waking-man amongst sleepwalkers. All you have to do is open your eyes to what's around you. This is what the poet-singer sees and feels:

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere.
The tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression

It's the shock of modern life, Walter Benjamin would say. Profound, wounding melancholy makes up the poet-singer's pathos:

Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And it makes us realize. Isn't this the way we have felt so many a night? Kelly, holding hands with Andrews and Jules, discovers in the automated coldness of the original the perfect soundtrack for the painful nights of insmonia of his characters; their Mad World is no longer a chaotic, people-infested city, but the utter loneliness of wounded people that, in the privacy of their beds, contemplate their inner fears... and ultimately, the always-present possibility of death. This is the sadness of realization. The wounding nature of insight. This is the role of art: to interpellate us in such a way it is impossible but to experience our own finiteness:

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

Because art is what makes us different from beasts; because being conscious we will die is what makes us human. We see it all around us: people run in circles. We clash against each other. And, at night, unable to sleep, when we face ourselves and only ourselves, when we look inside, deep into the abyss of our heart, we feel that sorrow.

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1 comment:

Hilda said...

Un post hermoso, e.

Particularmente evocativo un día como hoy, cuando el dolor de la locura del mundo tiene el color y la densidad de la tierra.