"Save for an underground movement of ska-loving kids, the U.S. was a bit slow to catch on to the two-tone explosion of the late seventies/early eighties. Sire initially released One Step Beyond and Absolutely, but as Madness failed to generate the big big numbers record companies crave, Sire scandalously ignored their 3rd and 4th albums, 7 and the Rise and Fall. That decision temporarily waylaid the spread of Madness in the U.S. In fact, if it hadn't been for my little brother bringing home Absolutely and One Step Beyond, I might have been one of many who had never heard of this band before 'Our House' hit the airwaves.
Because ska was still largely unknown to mainstream America in 1982, 'Our House' fell like an atomic bomb and sent people scurrying for anything Madness-related they could get their hands on. The success of this single cannot be overstated. Despite its pop-like qualities, it revitalized interest in ska overnight and Sire practically fell over themselves to release this eponymously-named recording, or as we affectionately called it, the 'Eight-Ball Album.'
In addition to tracks from their 1st, 3rd, and 4th records, this collection also contains the superb and hard to find 'House of Fun,' the brilliant cover of the sixties classic, 'It Must Be Love,' and of course, 'Our House.'
I remember seeing the vespa riding/trenchcoat wearing skinheads during my first year of high school, failing to connect them to the music I had been listening to for the last couple years. Such is the life of a pre-teen, I suppose, but it also goes to show that music is just that, music, and more than a lifestyle. Even a nerdy kid like myself, one without any sense of the lifestyle two-tone represented, could enjoy Madness.
And I did. Immensely.
This record represents the American attempt to reintroduce music that should have been a hit from the beginning, and on that note it succeeds... in spades. It also shows how clueless record companies were to the breadth of music the eighties had to offer.
Still Great...But Quirky
Roger Huggett Jr. | Minneapolis | 09/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I originally purchased the cassette in high school in one of those 20 tapes for a penny deals from Columbia House where its safe to take a flyer on a questionable group. I hadn't heard their music for years until the recent jean ad came out with "It Must Be Love" as the theme music. I couldn't get the song out of my head so I ordered it the next week. The songs are better than I remembered them! Even the depressing ones like "Cardiac Arrest" and "Blue Skin Beast" have a toe-tapping fun feel to them.
In fareness, they aren't for everyone. My wife can't stand any of the songs. But the sames things I like about the Madness attitude are what bug her about me! Ha Ha!"
Fun Musical Perfection
guy that reviews stuff | 11/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard of madness when I was a little kid; I watched the very fist ever "Al TV" on MTV, hosted by WEIRD Al Yankovic, and he played a video for a song called House of Fun. I fell in love with the video and song both. It was very uptempo, crazy and fun. Well, as luck would have it, my brother happened to find the tape a few weeks later at a used music store. He brought it home and we listened to it front to back, and every song was great. It still is the most fun I've ever had listening to one tape. I haven't listened to them for a long time until probably a year ago or so, when Our House was used for a coffe commercial. I bought the CD from amazon, and I have been wearing it out. It completely takes me back to being a kid again. Anyone who likes fun music should enjoy this album. Every song is great, and I don't grow tired of them. Madness is the best."
euroyankee | Ar Ramadi, Iraq | 09/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When it comes to the legendary Madness, there are two titles that come to mind. 1) One Step Beyond- This album is sacro-sanct! 2)Madness- This is probably the most underrated recording of the entire era. With Our House, Primrose Hill, and Welcome to the House of Fun, this CD has it all. I bought this back in the 80's in Tijuana on spring break. Of course it was a bootleg cassette tape but it etched itself into my memory for life. Don't cheat yourself out of a great experience. Buy this CD today!"