Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Madness -- "Our House" (1983)

Our house, it has a crowd
There's always something happening
And it's usually quite loud

Our Cape Cod house didn't have as big a crowd as usual when I was there last month.  (Our youngest son was there for the duration, and one of my daughters came for a few days -- she will get married here next fall, and is already interviewing photographers and DJs.  But my other two kids had work to do, so we didn't see them this vacation.)

My in-laws gave their Cape Cod house a name when they bought it in the early fifties: Beach Run.  Here's a picture of Beach Run from the front:

Here's a picture from the back.  (The house was built not quite a hundred years ago.  The one-story wing to the left is a master bedroom suite that was added on to the house about 20 years ago.)

Here's a picture of the backyard, where Caroline's wedding will be held: 

See the little outbuilding to the right?  That's a garage and storage shed with a small room with a TV and a daybed we call "The Study."  The garage used to be as far in front of the main house as it is behind the house now -- that's because the erosion of the cliff at the edge of the property got so bad that the house was only about 10 feet from the cliff's edge.  My in-laws had to build a new foundation and move the house about 100 feet inland.  Fortunately, their lot was big enough that they could do it.  But stabilizing that cliff has been a struggle.

We have a small deck (or "belvedere," which means "beautiful sight" in Italian) overlooking Massachusetts Bay.  Here's the view looking down the stairs from the belvedere to the beach at low tide:

Here's the view about an hour before high tide:

Here's a picture Caroline took on the beach with her iPhone, which puts all my photos to shame:

(I'm getting a new Blackberry 10 at work in a few days, so hopefully you'll notice a dramatic improvement in the quality of my 2 or 3 lines photos very soon.)

Caroline's reception will be held at the Dennis Inn, which is only one-third of a mile from our house:

Most Americans will remember Madness as a one-hit wonder (assuming they remember the group at all).  This was that hit -- "Our House" reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. 

But Madness was a big deal in the UK.  Between 1979 and 1983, they released 16 singles in the UK, ten of which made the top five.  (None of those 16 singles failed to reach the UK top 20.)

Madness is a ska band.  "Ska" is the name given to a musical genre that originated in Jamaica in the late fifties -- it is a predecessor to reggae.

Ska was much more popular in the UK than in the United States.  I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of ska (or reggae).  But "Our House" isn't a very ska-ish ska record -- it's more of a straight pop song.   

I was reminded of "Our House" today while listening to Girl Talk's All Day, which is a mashup album.  You'll hear a sample of "Our House" beginning at 2:36 of the "Down for the Count" track from that album, which contains samples from some 20 recording artists -- most of them are rappers (e.g., B.o.B., LL Cool J, Young MC, and 2 Live Crew), but this mashup also samples Derek and the Dominoes, Michael Jackson, T. Rex, and Billy Idol.

Here's "Down for the Count":

And here's the official music video for "Our House":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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