sun 22/09/2019

CD: Madness – Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Madness – Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da

CD: Madness – Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da

Veteran pop combo return older, wiser and as witty as ever

Ska'd for Life: It's a yes for the more mature Nutty Boys

Pop is a cruel mistress. Watching numerous BBC4 rockumentaries, such as the recent one on Squeeze, a pattern emerges. You make it, go through an imperial phase when you can do no wrong, then the honeymoon ends. The records are still great but the parade has moved on. This struck me again listening to the 10th studio album from Madness, which comes complete with a classy Peter Blake sleeve design. But despite plenty of TV coverage and an unforgettably moving profile-boosting performance of “Our House” on the Buck House roof at the Diamond Jubilee concert I cannot see this album topping the charts.

Which is pop’s loss, because Madness still make instantly infectious music for the masses. After the ambitious psychogeographical overtones of 2009’s The Liberty of Norton Folgate this is a return to basics. The opener and single, “My Girl 2” – an extremely belated sequel to 1979’s “My Girl” – is all bouncy Northern Soul backbeat and lyrics singing the praises of that crazy little thing called love. There is a boozy woozy Latin groove to “La Luna” – the Camden veterans go Buena Vista Pub, while the spirit of past three-minute heroes oozes through other tracks. The kitchen sink pop of the aforementioned Squeeze is even unconsciously referenced on “Small World”, when Suggs sings “When there’s no line I’m up the junction.”

While contemporaries The Specials and Dexy's Midnight Runners were more known for their anger and attitude, there was always an air of wistful melancholia to Madness  – think of “One Better Day” about the Camden dispossessed – and that continues here on the bittersweet “Never Knew Your Name”, documenting the regret of a romance that might have been. These seasoned campaigners mix mirth and despair like no others. They might not have such big hits any more, but their live shows will always be full. The fans will want “Baggy Trousers”, but any self-respecting ageing nutty boy and girl should also find room for Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da Da. Madness. The band that likes to say “yes”. 

Follow Bruce Dessau on Twitter

Watch Madness perform "Our House" and "It Must Be Love" at the Diamond Jubilee Concert


These seasoned campaigners mix mirth and despair like no others

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Madness new album now at No.10 on the Official UK Albums Chart - doing better than the review gieven here predicted. I thought the first track 'My Girl' was a lot like the style of 'Sugar and Spice', - there's many other great songs- the bonus song 'Black and Blue is catchy and has an old school Madness style written by Mike Barson. I see the album go higher on the charts...

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