Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Madness: Complete Madness [Stiff, 1982]
These Anglo lads have failed to click Stateside because they offer nothing to snobs and because they're so Anglo they only connect when they hit a song on the nose. Though I doubt they'll ever approach the jaunty excitement of their debut again, the hits here compiled come as close as an open-minded Americna could ask to solving the second problem. Their compassion and common sense are as jolly and traditional and working-class as their ska, which edges ever closer to polka and music hall. And jolly though they may be, they see a lot of pain. A-