October 30, 2009

Brandi Carlile covers Gary Jules covering Tears for Fears

In the same way that when she covers Hallelujah, she is clearly covering Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s song, when Washington singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile took on “Mad World” at Portland’s Schnitzer Hall last Thursday night, she was wailing her way through Gary Jules’ unsettlingly sad version (from Donnie Darko) of the Tears for Fears song.

This gives me chills; sometimes I wander away from listening as much to her as I used to a few years ago when her stunning first album came out, but then I am reminded all over again of that voice and how much brutal raw emotion she can squeeze into three minutes. She has a marvelous new album Give Up The Ghost that she is touring in support of, and still manages to always pick out some of my favorite songs in the world to cover. We’re, like, music soulmates.

Mad World (Gary Jules/Tears for Fears) – Brandi Carlile
(live in Portland, 10-22-09)


  • Gary Jules rules

    jesselun — October 30, 2009 @ 6:50 am

  • I know. She and I are meant to be best friends and it’s heartbreaking when I see Gregory Alan Isakov without her gut wrenching siren’s voice to back him up. Oh boy…it’s gonna be a Brandi day.

    Kathleen — October 30, 2009 @ 7:11 am

  • Thanks for this, Heather. A great cover.

    Steve McCoy — October 30, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  • She is an amazing artist. Her live shows are beyond words. I long for the days when she was unknown, and it was easy to be front and center, taking it all in. That’s the selfish me… so selfish. Great post, as always.

    suzanne — October 30, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  • I really like her voice but the screaming people kind of grate.

    Ross — October 30, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  • H

    I always view your blog a couple of times a week and have dicovered many a gem from your site. Brandi being one of them. So thanks for that! I saw her in Manchester a couple of months ago and thoroughly enjoyed her. She has a raw voice and did a couple of amazing covers particularly ‘madman across the water by Elton John’. Look it up on Youtube for proof (it was at the Mcr Academy). Hope you and yours are well, I will try and put a mix tape together for you at some point.


    Chris (in Tottington England) — October 30, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  • Great cover of a great song.



    Charles — October 31, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  • Music industry is becoming like Hollywood, which puts out movie remakes of television shows which were remade from movies. Now musicians can’t even do original covers….they have to cover other people’s cover versions.

    Eightiesologist — October 31, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

  • Whenever I read something like this I’m reminded of something a friend of mine did a few years ago. We were watching an open mic night and someone played a cover of “Across the Universe”. It was a pretty good, though completely unnecessary cover. After the three song set was over, a friend of mine walked up to the guy and said “Great Fiona Apple cover”. He was serious, and I was dumbfounded.
    That’s how I feel when listening to this cover.

    librarycynic — October 31, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  • Were you there Heather? My gf surprised me with tickets – Brandi is one of my favorite artists of all time. The show was spectacular – with Brandi doing something like 8 encore songs. Afterwards I proposed to my gf! She did an amazing job, one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a few years

    Gabe — October 31, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

  • A spellbinding rendition. Absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing it.

    Jeff McQ — October 31, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

  • My fave so far is the way Gary Jules sings it. I’ve heard many people cover Gary Jules way – but so far Gary does it best. Brandi’s is very nice, though.

    musicfan — November 1, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  • Just want to say I always thought Tears for Fears was underrated, and their version of this song is still very good, too. There’s so much raw emotional pain in the lyrics, which is probably why it’s so ripe to cover…

    kt — November 1, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  • Thanks, Heather!

    spookycat — November 2, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

  • …and Jeff Buckley essentially covered John Cale’s cover of Hallelujah. Many degrees of cover-ing.

    Side A Track 1 — November 5, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  • true dat. good point.

    browneheather — November 5, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  • Excellent, stirring performance.

    I find that people who speak loudly against covers do not understand what music is at all. Even Bob Dylan admitted early on that he was just a performer, no matter how much “original” culture has been attributed to him as an artist. And yes, that line is my “cover” of a brilliant point Nick Hornby made very eloquently in Songbook.

    bryan — November 10, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  • Yeeeeeeeeeah, but there are interpretations, then there’s karaoke. Gary Jules did an amazing interpretation. This is karaoke. Good karaoke, but karaoke, of Gary’s version.

    darlingtonUSA — November 11, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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