The reviews for the 10th studio by Madness have not been very good, but then again, when was the last time you purchased an album based on a review in the Financial Times of all places (Ludvic Hunter-Tilney only gave it two stars!)? Fiona Shepherd of The Scotsman says "overall, Oui, Oui… is a respectable addition to their catalogue" whilst trying to find some positives. Ben Hewitt from the NME on the other hand gives it two stars and basically says that they should give it up for good! Then again I would expect no less from the NME as their idea of what is musical is only what is geared to skinny boys in skinny jeans, with mid-80's Morrissey quiffs, and staring at their shoes whilst listening to the latest 12" remix of the remix of the remix of the latest Artic Monkeys song! Simon Price of The Independent is kind saying, "Should you be struck by a nostalgic mood yourself, Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da is a Madness album like they used to make 'em." Andy Gill in Sunday's Independent gave it three stars and very positive review.
In one sense though it matters not what they say. What matters is what I have to say about it and seeing that I have purchased a copy that arrived in the post this morning I think my opnion is worthwhile but unlike the critics what I have to say about the album is really just my thoughts shared among the friends who read this blog and not intended to be a guide as to buying it or not.
With that in mind let's get a few things out of the way to begin with. 'Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da' is not anything like 'The Liberty of Norton Folgate' and it is very unfair to try and compare the two. If there are any similarities to what was their best album of their career then it is in the songwriting. There is always a down-to-earthness about Madness songs, dealing with the often mundane things of life and adding their quirky brand of humour to them. On this album all of the band have contributed to the songs, some of course are better than others but then again you get that with any album.
The Ska sound that determined the early releases of the band is back on a number of songs and of course it's a more mature sound than the often juvenille sound that was on 'One Step Beyond' and 'Absolutely'. Again that should be expected as they have grown up and lived in their own skins awhile, I mean it would be a real step back if they went totally back to their roots and avoided all that has happenend in their lives in the intervening years.
I have to say that I quite like it, it's 11.25am on Wednesday 31st October and I'm already on my third play! Click on the links to listen and to watch tracks from the whole album.
01. My Girl 2
03. La Luna
05. Kitchen Floor
08. Circus Freaks
09. So Alive
10. Small World
12. Powder Blue
13. Black and Blue
14. My Girl 2