Hey you! Don’t watch that, watch this! You'd better start to move your feet to the rockin'est, rock-steady beat of Madness - or you should at least listen to our pick of what’s definitely essential listening of the biggest 2 Tone band of the era as well as of today. You must have been living under a rock to have not heard these songs, still, it’s always a nice reminder to rediscover why a band is so widely renowned and celebrated. They’re one of the few bands out there that can still play their hits and sell out shows.
It Must Be Love
It’s difficult to believe that this song was only released in 1981, because it is completely and utterly timeless and nobody can deny that. Not only are the lyrics simple, catchy and entirely heartfelt, but it still contains the complexity and nuttiness that Madness are famed for, with fast paced jazz style piano, scatts of saxophone and crescendos that creep up on you.
As soon as that bell style clang rings out in the intro, everybody knows what song is about to cause unexplained pacing and dancing and singing along - not to forget the miming of the saxophone. ‘Baggy Trousers’ was actually the antithesis to Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, as lead singer Suggs heard the song and thought how his school experience differed entirely and he wanted to share how much fun his school days were. So here we have it, a really fun and juvenile track about having fun and being a juvenile.
If there was a single song set with the task of encapsulating British culture, I think this one would be a pretty good example. Just watch the video, with the intro fully addressing the stereotypical but totally true awkwardness of the British public and the band wearing flat caps and vests in their house, and that’s before even taking the lyrics into account, which I’m sure many British families can relate to.
One Step Beyond
Anyone able to listen to this and stay stationary is deserved of a medal, because it’s definitely near impossible. This track is probably one of the nuttiest that the London group have to offer - which is saying something, but the quick tempo of a combination of sounds that shouldn’t really work but do truly highlights the 2 Tone genre for what it was. By now it’s becoming apparent as to how and why the band came up with their name.
House of Fun
The mix of their take on the ska genre and the catchy and child-like fairground vaudeville makes this coming-of-age anthem relatable to absolutely everybody who’s gone through adolescence. The fun tone and tongue-in-cheek humour the band are famed for can especially be heard within this tale of growing up.
Madness will headline a huge outdoor show as Kent’s County Showground on Sunday August 12th, and headline a festival curated by themselves in Clapham Common, House of Common, which will take place on Monday 28th August.
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