Driving back from a late-night errand last night, I heard a very slow version of the song “Mad World” on KCRW. The same tune has cropped up on several mix CDs over the last year, and haunted the latter sections of the movie “Donnie Darko.” The song came up on a discussion group, and one of the members was stunned to find out it was originally written by Tears For Fears.
Now, I have been a not-so-secret Tears For Fears dork for decades now, as I think Roland Orzabal, when he’s trying, can do amazing things with pop music. Their first album was “The Hurting,” which was a semi-permanent cassette in my first Walkman, featuring made-for-high-school lines like “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.” Like my brother Sean said, they were “two guys who wanted to create music based on primal scream therapy that sounded nothing like John Lennon’s ‘Mother’.”
Can you imagine any band in this day and age getting together because they wanted to write songs about Primal Scream therapy? Fucking unthinkable, but par for the course in 1982. Primal Scream therapy was developed by Arthur Janov, who believed that most of life’s fear, anger and angst came from the horrifying moment we were ripped from our mother’s womb, and the only way to be “whole” again was to engage in a ritualistic re-enactment of the birthing process. This eventually led to patients screaming