Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Album Review- Madness, the Liberty of Norton Folgate

I thought I'd kickstart this blog by reviewing the latest album from one of my favourite bands!!!

"The Liberty of Norton Folgate" is the ninth album from Madness and I waited YEARS for it!!! Every now and then there would be the promise that some ground-breaking masterpiece was going to be released the following year, then some song would pop on youtube making you fear the worst ("Sorry", for example...). I was resigned to the fact that the band I loved was more interested in doing naff songs with a rap bit (I'm still going on about "Sorry"and really they should feel sorry about it) and fish fingers ad (yes Suggs I'm talking about you) than making the music I loved.

Thank goodness I was wrong.

I have to admit I had to listen to The Liberty of Norton Folgate a few times but soon it grew on me. It had all the things that made me love Madness over the years: great arrangements, clever lyrics and the Madness je ne sais quoi that makes them so unique. Anyone thinking that they're just a bunch of nutters only good at making songs to entertain weddings and boozy parties should listen to this album and reconsider their views, because in today's dire musical landscape some bands are still very good at making actual music.

My favourite songs on the album are Sugar and Spice, MK II, Africa and That Close, which reminded me of Lovestruck quite a bit. I really like Sugar and Spice's lyrics, how a relationship that you thought was perfect can just turn up to be all fake, it's quite bitter and resigned, very British in my opinion!!! The title song is a great finale. I didn't like it much at the beginning and thought what is all the fuss about but now I think it is just a little masterpiece: all these songs intertwinned together and the idea in the end that London is a fantastic mix of people, culture and ideas. The only song that I really can't stand is Clerkenwell Polka, I think this didn't deserve to make it to the final version of the album (but that is just my opinion in the end.). "On the Town" is a duet with Rhoda Dakar who was with the Bodysnatchers and is part of the 2-tone family. It is refreshing to see that for this collaboration Madness haven't gone for one of the new loud-mouthed so-called pop-star in the charts nowadays (yes, I sound like a bitter old woman). I also liked NW5 a lot but listened to it until I temporarily overdosed (I'm much better now and still think it is a fantastic song.)

If you can I would definitely recommend you buy the Special Edition which contains a second CD with songs that didn't make the final cut. Some of them sound so much better than Clerkenwell Polka for example Mission from Hell, Hunchback of Torriano and The Kiss. The special edition is available from Madness official website- it is dearer than the normal edition but in my humble opinion it is worth every penny.
That's it for tonight- hope you liked it and feel free to leave a comment.

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