508. Madness – “The Heavy Heavy Hits”

My pesky metaphoric time-machine failed in its bid to get me back into this millennium.

Instead I’ve spent the past week in dreary old England during the Thatcher years wearing pants that were too short and narrowly avoiding being glassed each night.

The cause of my discomfort is this compendium from Brit ska icons Madness.

I’m a little torn on my view of these guys.  Their big singles (Baggy Trousers, Our House, House of Fun, etc) are fun little party pleasers with strong ‘earworm’ tendencies (I’ve been humming them on and off all week).

Some of the rawer dance-floor oriented tunes (such as One Step Beyond) on here also capture the vibe that enthused so many lads and set off much ‘skanking’.

What surprises, however, is the how startlingly polished and almost croony much of this material sounds.  Indeed, the slower tunes are much more Bacharach than I expected. The sax and strings on Yesterday’s Men is so 80s-sleazy that I was craving a shower.

I’m sure I will throw this collection back on again in a few years’ time, but I’m done with it for now.

While I was back in the 80s, I did catch this crazy new comedy show that looks promising:

File under: Insane in a softish vein


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