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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2010
Between 1979 and 2009 Madness produced 10 studio albums, 1 live album and countless greatest hits packages. Of the 10 studio albums, 4 are almost universally accepted as being classics (One Step Beyond, Absolutely, Rise and Fall and 2009's modern day masterpiece Liberty of Norton Folgate). Their third album, Seven, just misses the classic status by a whisker. It is, however, a fantastic album and contains some of Madness's best songs.

The 3 singles taken from it (Grey Day, Shut Up and Cardiac Arrest) need no introduction. Madness always had a knack of wrapping up social commentary (sometimes serious, sometimes not) in great lyrics and melodies, and Grey Day, a song about depression, is one of the best examples, not just from Madness, but from any band. And a song about an over stressed businessman having a heart attack. Who else but Madness could pull that off?

As with all Madness albums there is the 'should have been a single' track. Here it is Sign of the Times, surely one of their best ever songs.

Other highlights include Mrs. Hutchinson (would have been great to see a Carry On style video to this one), Pac-A-Mac, Missing You, When Dawn Arrives and the magnificently dark (and a clear pointer to where their next album was heading) Tomorrow's Dream.

Even though 'Side 2' has a number of tracks that might be referred to as fillers (Benny Bullfrog [fun but throwaway], The Opium Eaters [a decent enough instrumental but not a classic] and Day on the Town [a half decent song trying to escape some lacklustre production]) it is still one of my favourite Madness albums, and one of the ones I have listened to the most.

There are some good extras on this reissue too. 3 BBC session tracks, the 12" version of Cardiac Arrest, and all the B-sides, one of which, In the City, is their absolute best. Why oh why didn't they make the Cardiac Arrest single a double A side with this! In fact, why didn't they put In the City out as a single in its own right? There is every chance that it would have got to number 1. I suppose us mere mortals will never know.

Pop history is littered with bands who have started out with 2 great albums, only to throw it all away on their third. Not Madness. The quality control displayed on this album is still extremely high, and it still sounds great today. It would only be another year until they produced their first true masterpiece, The Rise and Fall, and Seven bridges the gap between Absolutely and Rise and Fall brilliantly.

What a band!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 March 2010
7 Has to be one of my favourite Madness albums. It marks a change in musical direction, having a more grown up contempory pop sound. The album still has plenty of that nutty sound we learned to love on their first two albums, especially on songs such as Benny Bull Frog. The whole album tackles serious issues in the classic Madness kind of way. Never has singing about heart attacks, doctors making mistakes, politics, animal cruelty, and riots been so much fun. The songs are mostly so up tempo it's hard to realise that the topics within them are sad.

The album features the three singles, Cardiac Arrest, Shut Up and Grey Day, all stand out tracks. My other favourites are Sign of the Times, Tomorrow's Dream, Pac A Mac, Benny Bull Frog, Day on the Town and finally Mrs Hutchinson which is a song about a women that was told she was alright by a Doctor, only later to find out her health was terminal.

In addition to these well crafted tracks you get all of the b-sides, a few session tracks and the three promo videos for the singles. Hard core fans may notice that the single edit of Cardiac Arrest is missing but it's not really needed.

This was the first Madness album I ever listened too, and since then I've been hooked. A great album for old and new fans alike with plenty of bonuses and for a great price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2011
I'm not a wannabe journalist, so in just a few sentences: finally, one of the best 80's British pop groups have republished all their original albums. All sets have the original art work, something I find very important. (Don't like repackaged sets!). And what a set: all B-sides, remixes and even a few BBC recordings.
The remastered recordings sound great, as if they were recorded yesterday. But thats me, having played this album a zillion times on a crappy kids' stereo, haha.
'7' Was my favourite Madness album; some uptempo songs sound as nutty as the tracks on the first 2 albums, but with darker, more 'serious' subjects in most cases. A band that has 'grown up', blablabla (you can put here every pop journalist cliché you can think of). Not just fun, but better melodies, a more varied, mature sound, etc etc (here come those cliches again). I was surprised to realise just how good these songs have outlived the 80's. It is a timeless record, a real classic album. And all that for a super price, if you'd like to check out or rediscover one of the best British pop groups? Do buy '7'! And yes kids, no synthesizers or computerized voice tricks!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is the third in a series of excellently packaged re-releases of the early Madness albums. I recall this from my teenage years and it was great to hear the album again, complete with bonus tracks and b-sides etc in an elegant double CD, complete with great sleeve notes. The album itself is the point where Madness grew up, became less 'nutty' and produced more mature (but often no less fun) compositions. A great pruchase and value for money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2010
great value way to replace your vinyl,excellent bonus material. if you were a madness fan in the eighties it will bring back those great days, if you didnt buy this back then dont miss tracks you wouldnt have heard on air like "benny bullfrog" or the dark "mrs hutchinson". great album
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2010
I remember taking this to school where I was allowed to play two tracks in front of the class. I chose Promises, Promises and Sign of the Times. Two songs that some up the energy of this album. Yes, Madness were changing. From the Nutty boys a few years earlier onto some more grown up (Could you imagine Gray Day a few years earlier) music but still having fun with the likes of Mrs. Hutchinson.

Magic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2011
Great reissue!!! the complete album and bonus and bsides! Brings back memories!
Sound is great, no complains, with booklet/liner notes to match. This is what a resissue/remastered package should be.
Get it. A Gem!!
After '7', Can't wait for my copy of 'Absolutely' to arrive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2010
I meant to buy this when it was originally released and never got round to it but was played regularly amongst my friends.I had forgotten how wonderful this album was.Terrific songs across the board-guaranteed to make you sing along-a way overdue cd to add to my collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2010
his was one of the best albums I had as kid nearly 30 years ago! With all the extra tracks, and songs that never made any compilations this is an excellent album.Great value for money also.

Definately get with Madness One Step Beyond and Madness Absolutely!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2011
A five star recording reduced to three due to the unfortunate remastering. The sound has been compressed and limited into a loud, flat, booming mess. All are affected but the song that really clinched it was the fantastic b-side 'In the City'. The original has the trademark Madness bounce and the unique "oompa loompa loompa loompa" backing vocals that come in significantly louder than the rest of the track. The new version has been compressed so severely that everything in the song now sits at the same loud, flat volume level, destroying the original feel of it.

The proof of this was when I first received the new discs and immediately (without listening to it myself) put on 'In the City' for a friend who is familiar with Madness but had never heard this song before. He listened but seemed puzzled at my original enthusiasm. I then found an older copy and played it for contrast. He immediately heard the difference and noticed how lifeless the new version sounded by comparison.

It's the same for all of the newest Union Square Madness remasters.

Why, Madness, have you gone down the uber-loudness road? It's not as if these old songs are still competing for radio play. The last remastering campaign was only a scant 8-9 years earlier and those versions already had the loudness increased slightly. The biggest shame is that the repackaging is very nice and the selection of extras is great. When the sound is sub-par, however, all of this means nothing.
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