Madness - Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja Ja, Da Da

destined to be the album many balding men listen to whilst cleaning their Volvo’s on the drive on a Sunday morning

 

Madness

http://blog.madness.co.uk/

Madness mean a lot to me. Their first few albums encapsulate so many memories from my childhood that they seem almost inextricable from those thoughts. Their videos made me laugh, even when they weren’t that funny and I can remember asking for a two-tone suit and pork pie hat when I was six (six!), which I never received. A childhood disappointment I have yet to make up for, I must admit. Still, I’m on my third vinyl copy of Absolutely, the first two suffering from years of childhood neglect and I still think It Must Be Love is one of the greatest songs of all time and when sung out loud you must do that weird dance with your fingers that Suggs does in the video. You simply must.

Anyway, Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja Ja, Da Da is a very good album that proves that Madness, after years in the wilderness, have found a way to grow old gracefully. What was surprising to me was that, whereas they were once a bunch of young North London lads who wanted to be Prince Buster, they now sound , for the most part, like they want to be Clapham’s answer to Calexico. And I have to say that still sits quite uncomfortably with me. Again, let me stress, this is a very good album. Its lyrical content is far more mature than many would give them credit for but it sings not of youth and abandon, but the result of a lifetime of school runs, parent-teacher meetings, mortgages and finding space in your life for watching wildlife programmes.

Madness have grown up. Of course, it was inevitable. The Dangermen shows from a few years back allowed them to revel in the music of their youth. The album The Liberty of Norton Folgate gave them a flimsy concept to throw their musical stylings around, which worked quite well but Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja Ja, Da Da  sees them finally taking the time to accept who they are, right now. Whatever Peter Pan syndrome feelings their early albums awaken in me, Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja Ja, Da Da swiftly destroys them.

 It’s a mature, well crafted and exquisitely polished album but I can’t shake the feeling that this is destined to be the album many balding men listen to whilst cleaning their Volvo’s on the drive on a Sunday morning.

And I’m not sure that’s what I really want from a Madness album? 

Shit, I feel old.