Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rehearsals, The

It turns out that Madness is putting together yet another new album.


They officially disbanded in 1986. Then they reunited for a series of Madstock concerts throughout the early-mid 1990s. In 1999, buoyed by the success of their yearly concerts, they produced a new album, Wonderful. It wasn't a super success.


Six years later they released an album of covers under the title 'The Dangermen Sessions.' Four years later, with a tonne of new material created by each of the individual members over time, ten years after Wonderful, and thirty years after coming out with One Step Beyond in 1979, Madness produced a new album called The Liberty of Norton Folgate.


I, like most people, assumed it was produced and released largely out of the celebration and buoyancy over the band having been around, not necessarily always together, but around, for 30 years.


I didn't expect that it would lead to a sort of semi-surge in popularity for them again.


Throughout the past three or four years, the band has been extensively touring throughout Europe and Britain. They even replaced Oasis after they disbanded the night they were supposed to play a big show, and the crowd reacted positively to them. They've been publicly busy for awhile now, and it hasn't really gone unnoticed.


Even the Ottawa Sun had a review on their new album, which I have a cutout of and donated to the Madness Central website's news archives on the band (see here).


With all of this in consideration, it looks like the band wasn't just doing a one-off album as part of their 30 anniversary efforts. 


Earlier this year some members of the band mentioned working on a new album. Some denied it. Others were neutral on the idea. It was a kind of rumor. If they were making a new album though, then this could be the second incarnation of the band's popularity and success. They could potentially make it big again, and get out of the boring, mundane din of endlessly playing old hits like 'Our House,' 'My Girl,' 'It Must Be Love,' 'Baggy Trousers,' and others at their gigs and concerts.


When I first heard of them and started listening to them, I'd never imagined the possibility of them releasing new albums during my lifetime or being known more than just an old one-hit wonder in North America. Yet they released their last new album last spring. And I even won a free copy of their first single off of their album, the day a girl embarrassed the hell out of me by asking why I rode through her neighborhood to get to school. I'd never expected that in my life.*


It's been made certain, though, now, that the band are indeed working on new songs for a new album. Chris Foreman, the guitarist of the band, has a YouTube channel. It's full of videos of the band, from his perspective on stage, playing at concerts, as well as their original music videos and commercials regarding them.


It also, as of this past week, has several new videos of the band rehearsing this new song:

The Introduction



The first verse



The chorus



The solo or bridge


The song doesn't have any title, either the band hasn't got one (but I believe they would at this point if they have the lyrics) or Foreman simply neglected or chose not to add it to the video, but it's basically several days' worth of rehearsing.
The description Foreman wrote was that it was 'Northern Soul' style. It does sound intriguing. Like the lyrics in the song have a point to sort out.


'Ooh lately
I've been wondering about you
and the things that you do
I'm in love
but you drive me mad...'


There's something else but I can't hear Suggs clearly enough to tell what it is. What I can ascertain from the sound and what the lyrics seem to be so far is that the song is about an overwhelming relationship of sorts, where the subject is in love but his partner can be unpredictable, probably overwhelming him with her schemes or activities or even disappearances, driving him mad in result.
Does the band have to rehearse a song that Chris Foreman puts on YouTube that reminds me of my recent situation? Not that it's the same but I am in love, and she kind of did drive me mad, at least first, and figuratively. Even before that...but I liked her for it.
Besides, if she herself returns here and reads this, and sees the song, I'm sure she'd think I drove her mad too, at least after what I did. Anyway.


It's a fun sound, with a nice guitar and a good piano. Mike of course plays an organ as well, which is great because it's one of my favorite instruments. It's the same sound as in the song 'In the City,' that makes me think of that girl in such a positive manner, though I don't think it makes me think of her in this present case.


I can't wait for the song to be finished so I can listen to it on their new album when it does come out. It's pretty cool to watch a band rehearse a new song on YouTube...how many bands do that? They did it a couple of years ago with their song 'MKII,' on the LONF album which is also a favorite of mine. 


With these new songs and albums, they're bound to get their old popularity, or at least most of it, back. When their last album came out last year, my friend Duncan shocked me by favoriting 'MKII' on YouTube and 'Forever Young' (their third single off that album). Since when did someone else I knew liked anything Madness? If that's the result then it can only be great that the band is doing this, because then I'm no longer alone in liking them, and there's a new generation of fans.


Can't wait for more material...I hope Chris Foreman uploads more cool behind-the-scenes videos. I'll make sure to watch everything come together, then I can review the finished songs and album. After all, The Liberty of Norton Folgate got huge, wondrous reviews from all the big newspapers and critics, it was so positive, even the Ottawa Sun over here picked it up and said something.


That's really something.


*The day I won the single, 'Dust Devil,' is not the same as the day I received it; I won the song the day I was turned down by a girl who noted the bad idea of a relationship, and received the CD (and a signed photograph) in the mail on the day already noted above. Chris Foreman had notified me and sent the prize, and he did it with amazingly precise timing (and as an indirect result the guitarist of Madness who co-wrote 'Our House' all those years ago has faint, passing knowledge that I was turned down by a girl who moved away in the first place).


Justin C.

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