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Shame about the sound.......
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.