7 Original recording remastered
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Union Square Music s 30th Anniversary Madness reissue campaign continues with 7, the band s third album, and the one which is generally considered to have cemented the band s position in the canon of truly great British pop acts. Containing singles Cardiac Arrest, Shut Up and the epic dub masterpiece, Grey Day, 7 showcases Madness s unique ability to fuse their inherent nuttiness with the sense of melancholy and foreboding that gives their music its edge and depth. Also included as a bonus track and promo video is the massive standalone single It Must Be Love .
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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!
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.
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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