Madness – Absolutely: #358 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is Madness’ Absolutely on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

Absolutely is the second of two Madness albums you’ll find on this here best 1,000 albums project (the other is One Step Beyond from 1979, which landed at #957).  

Reason I mentioned is that neither contain “Our House,” which is far and away the song that is best remembered and tied to Madness. And it’s the song that I associated with the band for many years, fully assuming that they were yet another in an array of British new wave bands that had scored a mainstream hit in the early 1980s.

It’s a fine song – and the self-titled album it’s on, from 1983, is rather good – but I’m much more of a fan of the early Madness records, which concoct a unique blend of ska and edgy pop punk that’s steeped in a British working-class vibe.

The best song on Absolutely is “Baggy Trousers,” which refers to the enormous pants that these dudes enjoyed wearing some years before a gentleman named MC Hammer entered the rap scene by way of Oakland, California.

“Baggy Trousers” is also a glorious and mischievous old school ska punk romp about the band’s childhood school days. A ringing bell – presumably a school bell – is a perfect touch.

Transplants perform a mostly faithful, somewhat more punk rock version of “Baggy Trousers,” also fun.

“On the Beat Pete” is wonderfully oddball new wave that you could kind of imagine The B-52’s covering gleefully. I love the bouncy organ, and the lads sound like they’re having a blast.

“You Said” deftly blends ska and pop into an exciting mix, and really makes me wonder why we didn’t see a lot more music like this throughout much of the 1980s.

And “Disappear” shows off how strong the band can be when doing a mostly straight-ahead pop/rock song, and the piano and melody in this one are downright pretty.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Madness’ Absolutely

I should note that “House of Fun,” off of Madness, is rather fantastic, a carnivalesque number that again incorporates a little bit of an edgy, gritty vibe into what’s becoming by that point a much more polished production.

Some stats & info about Madness – Absolutely

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Ska, Ska Punk, New Wave, British Bands, Pub Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Absolutely released? 1980
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #358 out of 1,000

Madness’ Absolutely on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Madness’ Absolutely that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Naughty boys in nasty schools, headmaster’s breaking all the rules, having fun and playing fools, smashing up the woodwork tools.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.