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Utter Madness:Madness

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Utter Madness is a greatest hits album by the British pop band Madness, released on their own Zarjazz label throughVirgin Records on 24 November 1986[1] shortly after the group's original split. It picks up from where the band's first greatest hits album Complete Madness left off, running from "Driving in My Car" (the first single after Complete Madness's release) to the one-off "final" Madness single "(Waiting For) The Ghost Train". The names of the two greatest hits albums taken together are interpreted by some fans as "Complete and Utter Madness".

As with Complete Madness, the compilation includes a couple of album tracks that were never released as singles, namely "I'll Compete" and "Victoria Gardens". In the liner notes for Utter Madness the group's guitarist Chris Foremanrevealed that "Victoria Gardens" was earmarked as a possible single, and it had been remixed and artwork done for the sleeve before "One Better Day" was chosen as the second single from the Keep Moving album instead, using the photograph originally taken for "Victoria Gardens" on its sleeve.[2]

"Seven Year Scratch", only available on the CD version of the album as a bonus track, is a vinyl remix featuring numerous Madness songs. Although this track features on other Madness compilations in edited form, this full length mix is only available on Utter Madness.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [3]
Melody Maker very favourable[4]
Record Mirror [5]
Sounds [6]

The reviews of Utter Madness in the band's native UK, where they had always been critically and commercially acclaimed, were unsurprisingly effusive. Melody Maker said, "Suffice to say, they leave a whole heap of fond memories and a mammoth void. They were a national bloody asset and they spoilt us rotten. Madness. Yesterday's men, tomorrow's inspiration."[4] Record Mirror felt that after the band's split "the release of a greatest hits album was inevitable, though necessary. Complete [Madness] appeared in what was still an initial burst of fervour. Utter is a far more concise and accurate reflection of their career, encompassing all their elements – the humour, the sadness and the cynicism."[5]Sounds noted that while the front cover depicted the band in their famous "nutty train" formation, each member was also wearing newspaper print suits with the headline "Soweto Bloodbath" prominently displayed, claiming that this demonstrated that to the end the group were masters of mixing humour with serious social comment: "Utter Madness is ample proof that their heavy heavy monster sound didn't so much dilute over the years as progress... Their particular genius lay in their ability to project their vision of our life and times in Britain through that normally most banal of mediums, pop music."[6]

Track listing[edit]Edit

  1. "Our House" (Carl SmythChris Foreman) – 3:25
  2. "Driving in My Car" (Mike Barson) – 3:21
  3. "Michael Caine" (Smyth, Dan Woodgate) – 3:40
  4. "Wings of a Dove" (Smyth, Graham McPherson) – 3:03
  5. "Yesterday's Men" (McPherson, Foreman) – 4:12
  6. "Tomorrow's (Just Another Day)" (Smyth, Barson) – 3:12
  7. "I'll Compete" (Lee Thompson, Woodgate) – 3:23
  8. "(Waiting For) The Ghost Train" (McPherson) – 3:46
  9. "Uncle Sam" (Foreman, Thompson) – 3:05
  10. "The Sun and the Rain" (Barson) – 3:31
  11. "Sweetest Girl" (Green Gartside) – 5:48 (4:20 on original 1986 release)
  12. "One Better Day" (McPherson, Foreman) – 4:07
  13. "Victoria Gardens" (Smyth, Barson) – 4:34 (3:51 on original 1986 release)
  14. "Seven Year Scratch" (CD only) (Madness, Cecil Campbell) – 8:38

The timings for each track were a few seconds shorter on the album's original release in 1986 as each track began over the fade-out of the previous one. The 2003 reissue restored each track to its full length with a short interval between tracks. When originally issued in 1986 the single version of "The Sweetest Girl" and the remixed version of "Victoria Gardens" were used: these were replaced with the album versions when Utter Madness was remastered and reissued in 2003.

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