Well, we expected Jules to be here, largely because "sad" isn't really something that Depeche Mode does well, and, aided by a Michel Gondry-directed video and his inclusion in the 80s-canon-(re)making Donnie Darko, he certainly looks like he's been here before. How crucial that song seemed after watching the film!
Certainly considering these two songs strictly on their merits vis-a-vis apparent sadness, it's hard to see how Morrissey can compete. I mean, Jules sings "No tomorrow, no tomorrow / 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" which is about a dark an outlook as it gets, sung in a sweet tenor, and paired with a spare piano version of a simple and lovely melody.
But then Morrissey is Morrissey, as iconic and complicated a crooner as they come, and everything sounds sad and more than a little coded coming from him. Look at the lyrics, which seem to be about an uncomfortable situation with an ex-lover (or one night stand?), focused purely on the self-interested awkwardness of the speaker. It's sad, yes, but mostly for the lover, the you that "comes here...and why do you hang around...when you know it makes things hard for me)." As delivered by Morrissey, though, I read it as a dramatic monologue in which we gradually understand that the speaker is an unlovable narcissist, perhaps the sort of person who demanded to publish his autobiography (not to say anything as banal as a memoir) under the moniker Penguin Classics. But then that's how I read almost all of Morrissey's songs, and one loves that about him or not. As for me, I do love them and him for their layers and complications and many echoing ironies. Is it sad? Yes, but at a much different angle than "Mad World."
We've had this conversation before here, albeit with a different set of songs: do we value more all-in sincerity or layered archness? Or are we deciding between two interesting videos (that Morrissey takes the 1988 video in a James Dean direction adds quite a bit to it and makes it face off reasonably well against a technically superior, but of course it should be superior, 14 years later, art-house 2002 video)? Or are we deciding between the real 1988 and the 2001 revision of it? Well, you decide. (But let us know your criteria in the comments below. We're interested not just in your vote.)
(12) Morrissey, "Suedehead"
(4) Gary Jules, "Mad World"
FINAL SCORE: GARY JULES 103, MORRISSEY 63