welcome back to the Skaject folks! this week we’re taking a look at the fourth studio album by Madness, The Rise & Fall, released in 1982. this one’s fun because i don’t believe this one ever got a stateside release, even though it has their absolutely biggest single on it. let’s check it out!

Rise and Fall kicks things off, with a really fun vibe about returning home. the bridge/breakdown on this track is extremely neat, and i even dig the kind of subdued vocals. Tomorrow’s Just Another Day ALSO slaps – it’s got a kind of dreariness that’s perfect for the subject matter. Madness has been notably less political than other ska bands of the time, but apparently Blue Skinned Beast is a critique of Thatcher’s handling of the Falklands. i dig it. Primrose Hill’s fine. the strong piano is an interesting backbone for the track (plus the bridge here is making some neat choices), but this one doesn’t do too much for me. Mr. Speaker (Gets the Word) is a neat track. playing in some fun spaces. Sunday Morning has an INTERESTING jazzier vibe to it for sure. also funny to contrast this with Mr. Speaker immediately before, haha. Our House is good. can absolutely see how it was their big hit, it’s v accessible, but it’s catchy and it’s bright. not my favorite track of theirs but still good. i got no feelings about Tiptoes. New Delhi’s kind of a weird track. def not huge on the ending. That Face is fine as a reflective track. Calling Cards is another more out there track. Are You Coming With Me is aight. lotta tracks near the end here that don’t really engage me. Madness (Is All In the Mind) goes way loungey – big fan of this sound for them, haha.

faves – Rise and Fall, Tomorrow’s Just Another Day, Our House, Madness (Is All In the Mind)
dislikes –

aight apparently this one was conceived of as a concept album about childhood nostalgia – i can def see how it was dropped but that structure definitely shines through. it definitely has a “coming home” feel, and it’s an extremely strong thematic through line. i’ve gone on record and said i like these guys when they’re sillier, and musically, this is def the least ska they’ve been, but this kind of quieter, reflective tone works for them here in a way i wasn’t expecting.

The Rise & Fall – 6/10

next up we’re still in 1982, but we’re back to Bad Manners with Forging Ahead!

previous: Special Beat Service | next: Forging Ahead

full page on the skaject