I am no musician, but I know what I like, and the music I review will be songs that deserve to be played forever.
The 1980’s gave us some great songs, and it was almost like a second British Invasion with all the groups and songs that came from England during this decade. The song I remember most from this band, named Madness, is “Our House” a catchy song that make you want to sing along every time you hear it.
Other than that, I didn’t know any of their other songs. I happened to run across this album on Amazon and decided to get it. I am glad I did because there are some wonderful songs on this album.
Let us start with the band because, if you are like me, you don’t know very much about them. After that I will pick some of the best songs from their best-known hits.
Madness formed in 1976 and they are from Camden Town which is north of London. They achieved their greatest success in the mid 1980’s. They are a ska and pop band. The band has had many members but the main guys that are the glue in the band are: Chris Foreman guitar player he has been with the band since the beginning, Mark Barson keyboards he also has been with the group since 1976, Lee Thompson who plays saxophone, percussion and does backing vocals he also joined in 1976, Graham “Suggs” McPherson lead vocals he joined in 1977,Dan Woodgate drummer, percussion, since 1978, and Mark Bedford bass guitar a member since 1978.
The Best Songs from the Album Total Madness
There are twenty-two songs on the album, but not all of them are my favorites. Here are the best songs from this album.
This song is the band’s most known song and one of their best. It came from their album The Rise and Fall released in 1982. This song reached number 7 on the Billboard Top 100 in the US, and in other countries it reached the top ten as well. It is easy to see why. It is infectious at its start with piano and drums beginning the song, and horns blending in soon after It is a song of nostalgia. Growing up in a family where there is sometimes chaos. Years later all the good times are remembered with mom keeping everyone straight, and all the good times with your siblings. The song rocks the whole time and you can’t help but bob your head and sing along. Good times indeed.
It Must Be Love
This song came from the album Complete Madness which was released in 1981. It reached #3 on the British charts in that year. In 1983 it reached #33 on the American charts, but it should have gone higher than that. It is a beautiful song. I have a weakness for a piano in a song, and this song gives you a prominent piano throughout. It has that Liberace flare with great emotion in the piano playing. It also includes strong saxophone, and beautiful strings.
The video has a bit of 50’s morbidly with the singer singing looking into an open grave, but later in the video silliness takes over with the band doing a great Beatles imitation just being wacky and funny. The song has a great hook, and you feel that when you are in love there is no one else you would rather be with than the one you love.
This song was released in 1980 from the album Absolutely. It reached #12 on the UK charts. It is one of those story songs where you listen along to hear what happens next. The singer has a lot of lyrics to sing and he does a great job. It is reminiscent of the song Papa Don’t Preach the song by Madness has the singer’s sister becoming pregnant by a black man, and each family member from both sides were upset about it. The song doesn’t tell it, but there was a happy ending when the baby Haley was born it restored peace which is good news. The song itself sounds a bit cheery you have a steady beat, and a belting saxophone.
One Step Beyond is the album that this song came from and it was released in 1978. It peaked at #3 on the UK charts and it is easy to see why. It is a song about a quarrel between the singer and his girlfriend. She wanted to go out with him, but he wanted to stay home alone and watch a move. The song has that ska sound and it has a dancing groove to it. The song continues with their disagreement, and only time will tell what will happen next, and how long this relationship will last. One good thing to come out of the fight is a great song.
The Sun and The Rain
This song came out in 1983 from the album Keep Moving which was released in Canada and the United States. In the UK it came out as a single only. The song reached #5 on the UK Singles Charts. The piano opens the song which is always a good thing in a Madness song. This song has great imagery in it with the lyrics stating,
It's raining again,
I follow the Christmas lights down town.
I'm leaving the flow
Of people walking all around,
Round and round,
Madness didn’t mind making videos and they are always sure to entertain with this song being no exception.
This song came out in 2008 as a single, and then appeared on their album The Liberty of Norton Folgate also from the year 2008. The title is a zip code from the north London district called Kentish town.
The song is about someone you have known all your life and yet you don’t know them. There is a great lyric in the song that says,
Nothing, it seems, lasts forever
People change just like the weather
Some for good and sometimes never
I hope things work out for the better
This song as a great sing along feel to it. The video is like a movie in which a character in the video isn’t who he seems to be. It is all done in a great song arrangement by the band.
Bed and Breakfast Man
This song came from the album One Step Beyond released in 1979. A very catchy and danceable song. The band really grooves in this song, the drum gets star attraction, and then the keyboard joins in with the singer. The saxophone doesn’t seem to be included and, in the video, the poor sax player is seen wandering around till the end when he gets to join in too.
According to Songfacts the guitarist Chris Foreman told UnCut Magazine in 2008, the song was about their manager Jon Hasler. He was important in getting the band together. He would visit the band members and sometimes stay all night. He would get up in the morning and eat the kid’s leftovers.
A song released in 1984 from the album Keep Moving. The song peaked at #11 in the UK. Michael Caine was asked to appear in the song, but he said no until his daughter heard about it and told him how famous the band was.
The song is about an informer during the troubles in Northern Ireland. The song was based a bit on Caine’s film the Ipcress Files a movie from the 1960’s.
Listening to the song I thought it was about a person who kept trying to get Michael Caine’s autograph the real meaning of the lyrics are much better than what I had thought it meant.
The album Total Madness takes the listener on a happy sounding journey with musicians who play with joy in every note. The videos they created for the songs are entertaining as well. Madness has produced music that will have you dancing and singing along. You can’t ask for more than that.