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Madness - Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C'est La Vie

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 5 / 12 / 2023

Madness - Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C'est La Vie
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Often dark and pessimistic concept album from Madness about the state of our planet

Madness have released their 13th album, ‘Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C'Est La Vie’. But fans hoping for re-runs of 1980s ska-pop style hits like ‘House Of Fun’ or ’Baggy Trousers’ may be disappointed, for the new release is a concept LP all about the parlous state of our post-pandemic planet. The album is sequenced as a three-act music hall production with a prologue, epilogue and some spoken-word interludes by actor Martin Freeman. As it progresses, the new record emphasises the darker streak that always lurked just beneath the zany facade of Madness. Haunting images of London's West End during lockdown dominate the Eleanor Rigby-like ‘Theatre Of The Absurd’ with singer Suggs grimly promising to host “the last and only performance of the cruellest cabaret”. The track with the second part of the album title, ‘C'est La Vie’ is equally bleak, conjuring up visions of a “tyrannical heaven”. There is wry lockdown-related scepticism on ‘Set Me Free (Let Me Be)’ whilst ‘Run For Your Life’ has warnings about the perils of Artificial Intelligence – though, in the best traditions of Madness, this track does combine fatalistic lyrics with a powerful, funky tune which helps temper a sense of dread with the conviction that the show must go on. Fortunately, two tracks are a bit brighter. ‘I Go Mad’ is a touching love letter from Suggs to his wife, singer Bette Bright. And ‘In My Street’ is a welcome throwback to the times when a Madness song could actually cheer the nation - and a reminder that Madness are still national treasures!

Track Listing:-
1 Prologue Mr Beckett Sir...
2 Theatre of the Absurd
3 If I Go Mad
4 Baby Burglar
5 Act One Surrounded on all sides..
6 C'est La Vie
7 What On Earth Is It (You Take Me For)
8 Hour of Need
9 Act Two The damsel in distress..
10 Round We Go
11 Act Three The situation deteriorates..
12 Lockdown and Frack Off
13 Beginners 101
14 Is There Anybody Out There
15 The Law According to Dr. Kippah
16 Epilogue And so Ladies and Gentlemen..
17 Run For Your Life
18 Set Me Free (Let Me Be)
19 In My Street
20 Fin. Ladies and Gentlemen..

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