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Madness - 'Forever Young'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:53 UK time, Thursday, 21 January 2010


It's not often there are two singles vying for chart action with almost exactly the same title, is it? Jay-Z has his 'Young Forever' - in which Mr Hudson sings "forever young" a lot, which makes getting the title right quite hard work, actually - and now Madness have got this, which is in no way related to the Jay-Z song, or even the Bob Dylan song of the same name.

BUT, it will do them no harm at all if there is some confusion as to who has released that big happy anthemic song with the chorus about wanting to be forever young, rather than the slightly doomy reggae song warning young people not to get any older. Might even throw a few extra mistaken download pence their way, which can only help the band's retirement fund.

(You can listen to the song on the band's MySpace page. Which is a shame cos they made some of the best videos ever ever.

Make no mistake though, Madness are fully deserving of your love and support. OK, some of their records have been taken over by your dad/uncles, and Top Gear. OK, playing the one about going to school is a clarion call for people who should really know better to make a spectacle of themselves on the dancefloor.

And yes, rockbores will suck all the fun out of this fun-est of bands by talking about how they're in a musical lineage from the Kinks to Ian Dury to Blur and beyond in a really dry way. They ARE in that lineage, but they're also good in their own right, y'see...

But stuff it, if early '80s electropop can be the sound of 2009, surely we can all find some room in our hearts for some of the other musical ideas that were floating around at the time? Especially wise and romantic music-hall reggae like this?

Heck, they're even meeting you half-way here. This is a song to the young, from the experienced. It's a song which says that your innocence and potential are precious things, not to be wasted. Time will take them away in the end, leaving you with nothing but a pile of regrets and some dusty old photos in a shoebox.

Actually, that's bit dour, isn't it? Quick, back to Jay-Z! Everything's gonna be FINE! Honest!

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: January 18th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Love Madness don't agree with the choice of single though, Clerkenwell Polka would have been better, 3 stars is fair in my opinion. Went to see them live a while back and it was great!

  • Comment number 2.

    Liberty is a fantastic album and another that I should have put in my top ten of last year. Great song, and not being the best song on the album just shows how good an album it is.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    An excellent single and some other good re-mixes available on download too. A far superior tune to 90% of the rubbish gracing the Top 40 and if there was any justice would be Top 20, but hasn't had the airplay it deserves. Album went Top 5 though and Madness are still sounding contemporary and fresh after all these years, no mean feat. Would thoroughly recommend this single and the entire back catalogue.

  • Comment number 5.

    OK , here are my 10 favourite MADNESS singles , in no particular order .....

    8)MY GIRL

    What a brilliant band !!!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    My top 10 would be the same as Spirit's except I'd replace Michael Caine, One Better Day and Yesterday's Men with Night Boat To Cairo, Wings Of A Dove and Dust Devil.


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