Monday, February 4, 2019

From secondary geographical perspectives - when an artist's music is released haphazardly in another country

DISCLOSURE: I live in the United States of America. And that affects how I view things.

For example, lately I've been thinking about Egypt a lot, and therefore this song has been going through my head.

And, as is my wont, as the non-Egyptian strings fade into the background, I immediately think of this song:


At this point, nearly 7 billion people are asking why I would connect the two songs. Yes, they are both by the English band Madness, but they were recorded several years apart and are different stylistically.

Well, go back to my disclosure.

Madness' recording career is a very odd jumble of things, with multiple record labels and the like. And that's just in the United Kingdom - cross over to the United States, and it gets even more jumbled.

In 1982, Madness released its fourth studio album, The Rise & Fall. A semi-concept album, it offered a more thoughtful perspective from the band - not that "Baggy Trousers" didn't have its own thoughtful lyrics, but it was, as the late Graham Chapman would say, rather silly. The album got very un-nutty in its pointed song "Blue Skinned Beast," and even the more rollicking numbers such as "Our House" had a wistfulness about them. While the album didn't place as high in the album charts as Madness' previous albums, it did hit #10, and is today a well-respected album.

The Rise & Fall was not released in the United States.

Perhaps because they were so danged English, Madness hadn't really made a dent over here, so when Geffen Records decided to build an album around the hit song "Our House," it created a compilation from most (not all) of Madness' existing UK albums.

This resulted in some oddities. As I know all too well, side two started with "Night Boat to Cairo," a track taken from Madness' debut album "One Step Beyond." On the Geffen album, this nutty track was followed by the title track from Madness' latest semi-conceptual album. Quite a divergence in style, and one that would only occur to American minds.

But what if Geffen had waited a couple of years to issue its compilation?

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