Album #503 – The Rise and Fall

Album #503

The Rise and Fall is an album that has never been readily available in North America. Madness would released a self-titled compilation in North America the following year that would feature it’s share of tracks from The Rise and Fall. The album itself, marks a musical change for the group. Madness was known for it’s ska sounds prior to this album’s release on songs like One Step Beyond. The sound on The Rise and Fall is more pop mixed with strings, horns and jazzier arrangements. The ska sound is still there but, this album shows musically where the group wanted to head. The album’s biggest hit, Our House, made Madness huge not only in the UK but North America. The song captures the theme of the album: childhood memories. Many of the songs are very happy and upbeat but, the subject matter is somewhat grim. Blue Skinned Beast deals with feelings of Thatcher’s role in the Falklands War, a theme many artists would write about. Mr. Speaker (Gets The Word) also talks about politics within the confines of the House of Parliament. Many have called the album Madness’ best and I can see why. Great pop songs with lovely sounds make the Rise and Fall a great album and an enjoyable listen. It’s a shame the album was never released in North America. Other highlights include: Rise and Fall, Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day), Primrose Hill, Sunday Morning, That Face, Calling Cards and Madness (Is All In The Mind). Overall, I give The Rise and Fall, 5 out of 5.

Next: The Nightfly by Donald Fagen

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