Saturday, November 29, 2003

(Back row, l-r) Lee "El Thommo" Thompson (sax), Carl "Chas Smash" Smyth (vocals), Graham "Suggs" McPherson (lead vocals), and Mike "Monsieur Barso" Barson (piano/keyboards).
(Front row, l-r) Mark "Bedders" Bedford (bass guitar), Daniel "Woody" Woodgate (drums), and Chris "Chrissy Boy" Foreman (lead guitar)

AWRIGHT!!! I FINALLY GOT MADNESS' THE LOT the enhanced compilation CD I ordered today! Six digitally remastered albums with 24 videos of awesomeness! I've already watched about a third of the videos and I still can't get over all of it. They are the coolest band ever, and if you get to hear their songs and watch their videos you wouldn't be surprised to read the fact that at their peak they were England's "best loved group since The Beatles." Sleeve notes as follows:
Madness were the outstanding British pop act of the Eighties and, at their peak, the country's best loved group since The Beatles. But, while many fans remember them for a string of great singles and the ensuing hits compilations, fewer people identify Madness as a great albums band.

But many of the Madness songs -- Bed & Breakfast man, Disappear, Promises Promises, Primrose Hill, Prospects and Time -- were album tracks rather than singles. The band's six studio albums give the best insights into the musical and lyrical character of a group who rose on the back of 1979's ska revival - launched by the 2-Tone label -- but broadened their sound to embrace Motown, sixties pop, vaudeville and classic English humour.

These six albums tell the story of seven young musicians who grew up in public. The discs also wryly catalogue some of the changes which took place in Britain during the Eighties. As Carl Smyth says: "the madness in the band was portrayed as nuttiness, but there was a darker side to it too."

Madness - the 'Nutty Boys' at the start -- grew tired of wearing red noses and took themselves more seriously as they got older. The wacky, playful songs of their first two albums were gradually superseded by a more melancholy worldview. As they developed, however, Madness made some of the most poignant music of their generation:

They're the ska band best known for their single Our House during the 80s. They're hilarious in most of their videos and they're credited for being the first band ever to make 'narrative videos' in MTV history. To those who aren't in the know, they're like the 80s version of Parokya ni Edgar. While the latter is fun, the former was an epitome for the word 'funny' with a clean image. The image that Madness had is the same image that I wanted to project even after all these years. From the baggy pants partly inspired by one of their songs, the sunglasses (both the present one and the oval one-way-mirror type I had back then), almost flat-top haircut, the jovial attitude, and even my comic characters. Another reason I like them a lot is that they remind me a lot of the ideal barkada that I wished I had back in high school. A lot of my favorite groups either started out as friends or became fast friends along the way. That's the underlying issue why I like them so much.

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