Welcome to the House of Fun

Welcome to the House of Fun

Posted by Alienboy on March 22, 2005 02:58 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)

Heavy Heavy Hits
Music from Emi Int’l
Release date: 16 February, 1999

I donâ??t know how English music (by which I mean music that sounds uniquely English, rather than music made by Brits that simply sounds international) goes down in the USA these days, but there have been some great artists over the years that maybe havenâ??t done quite as well as they could have in the Americas.

To set the ball rolling here is Madness (crap site btw, donâ??t go unless you really want to), whose Nutty Ska image and very English voices sometimes obscured a band of impressive musical ability and a wonderful way with words.

This compilation features 23 consecutive hits in chronological order that reveal the depth and diversity of their musical reach, going far beyond their Ska roots, even tracks that you think you know sound different after a gap of years. It took my breath away to re-learn that â??Our Houseâ?? has one of the most perfect openings of any pop song, love that bass burp too!

Titles like â??My Girlâ??s Mad At Meâ??, â??Embarrassmentâ??, â??Grey Dayâ??, â??Shut Upâ??, â??Tomorrowâ??s Just Another Dayâ??, â??One Better Dayâ?? and â??Yesterdayâ??s Menâ?? highlight a recurrent theme of loss, alienation, betrayal, fear, an increasing sense of wasted precious time and quiet English desperation forming the core of the Madness experience -desperate but still dancing.

Tracks like â??Wings Of A Doveâ??, â??Michael Caineâ?? and the covers of Labi Sifreâ??s â??It Must Be Loveâ?? (not too bad, actually) and Scritti Polittiâ??s â??The Sweetest Girlâ?? (very bad) reminded me how Madness were not always great and ultimately faded away, probably still â??Waiting for the Ghost Trainâ?? of Fame to call upon them again.

By the way, both the US & UK sites have the same Amaz(on)ing typos â??Night Beat To Cairoâ?? and, my personal favourite, â??Yesterdayâ??s Menuâ??! LOL

This review originally posted on Blogcritics

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