Sunday, 31 May 2009

Mad World, Mad World, Mad World, Mad World

UPDATE:  Since we've been dubbed 'completists', here is one more to add to the Mad World collection.  Adam is on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, again with Michael Orland complementing on piano.  I think I'm gradually falling in love with the gently undulating instrumentals almost as much as Adam's vocals.  This is a very slow version marred slightly by the audience cheer at the big note.  His bewitching voice is soft and beautifully haunting.

This post is really one for those of you who are completely obsessed, especially if you watch it all the way to the end!

One good thing about Adam not having been crowned AI is that he hasn't had to sing No Boundaries on the press tour.  Although he hasn't dissed it outright, he's managed to tactfully wriggle around providing his frank opinion of the song by saying it's 'difficult to sing live', 'has lots of lyrics', and 'he wouldn't have chosen that as the final song of the season'.  So instead of being forced to sing a song that blatantly wasn't written with him in mind and doesn't suit him, we've been treated to several performances of Mad World.

The first performance was an outdoor one from the CBS Early show in New York.  There are a number of videos in addition to this one which show him warming up and doing sound checks where we get more of an insight into how he controls each aspect of his performance.  Even when just warming up, the clarity of his tone is quite astounding.  This rendition is a really beautiful one and I actually prefer the simplicity of just him and a piano to the arrangement we had on the show.

The next one is a performance on Good Day New York.  The sound mix here seems better than what was achieved on the show, and even the studio recording.  There are some small differences between this one and the last one in the phrasing, timing and melody.  I prefer Michael Orland's piano here because he's removed much of the beat so it's much smoother and flowing.  It's more mellow and there's a sadder, more subdued feeling to it, created by that and by Adam's gentle vocals.  His voice is stunning.

Next is Adam performing on Regis and Kelly with the same pianist as the CBS show.  The pianist sticks more along the lines of the Gary Jules version by keeping the rhythm more central rather than smoothing it out.  This gives the song a more depressing feel because it it accentuates the repetition and routine of being trapped in miserable life.  Adam again sounds different here and has varied the verses by bringing in the chorus earlier.  I think they went a little overboard with the reverb on this, but it adds to the haunting effect.

Adam at the Today Show and warm-up.  Here his breathtaking voice sounds so tender and silky smooth.  He seems to vary the lyrics with each performance, making each one unique.  This one is slower paced with Michael Orland back as the pianist who again really makes the song flow.  Adam takes us on a dream-like journey through heartbreaking sadness and melancholia.  This feels like his most vulnerable performance and I think it might be my favourite of this lot.

Well, he made sure he nailed the final note on all of those performances.  I'm happy that by not winning, Adam has managed to choose what song to associate himself with, which is a song that suits and resonates with him, enabling him to move people.  I think he chose the right song to do on the press tour because it's evocative without being too strenuous on his voice.  No Boundaries has quite a range and I can see how it could cause problems if you had to sing it repeatedly.  And it can never be a good thing to be tarred with a song you don't like, to introduce yourself to the world as a recording artist.

Now, if you're a Lambosessive who scored highly in the test, I expect, like me, you'll try playing the videos simultaneously just to work out the tiny differences.  Go on, you know you want to!


  1. amazzziiinnggg , as only Adam can do it! and OH no Auto tune Bieber! or Bruno~ style there!!!this is ALL him!!! I challenge JB or Mar's to sing this there are only a few in the WORLD with the Octave range of Adam , so the other's need to go back to school!

  2. glad that a year later he is STILL as remarkable as this day.

  3. Anonymous, I agree! His ability to give incredible live performances is what sets him apart.