It’s been seven years since MADNESS delivered “Can’t Touch Us Now” and entered a period of inner turmoil that threatened to disintegrate the band who seemed to be losing their usual social-commentary edge in favor of good-time ska. Still, the 1978 line-up which recorded the platter found the strength to get their act together in the early 2023 to proclaim, “Let madness be madness!” and come up with what can be the collective’s most ambitious project ever.
“Theatre Of the Absurd Presents C’est La Vie” – this is the title of the veterans’ thirteenth album set for release on November 17th – challenged the British team not only because it’s their first self-produced record but also because it’s a concept work, combining songs with spoken-word pieces narrated by Martin Freeman, which create a smooth story-based flow. What it isn’t is serious – otherwise, it wouldn’t be MADNESS.
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…”