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Madness: 7 (Stiff America)

Iman Lababedi, Creem, February 1982

I SUPPOSE that the proof that Madness have handled the precarious business of being a teeny-bopper band with a measurable degree of humor, aplomb and commitment is that they were Britain's top selling singles act of 1980. But I've always found them underwhelming. There's been a shallowness to their resolutely mindless persona, a lack of sensuality and tension in their songs, a gnawing presumptuousness to their "here we are love us" concert stance. Compared to other ska revivalists (the Beat, the Specials), their refusal to get tangled in the (inherent) roots of the genre they'd chosen stank of opportunism.

Total word count of piece: 538