Abba. Everyone neatly summarises and dismisses them in their mind as garish pop with big bouncy choruses and lots of female-fronted twee tackiness. Shiny, shallow, samey.
Yet even the most cursory flick through their singles tells another story. There are several dark disco classics, the blokes get to sing one, there's another with reggae rhythm, and an ominous brooding six minute single with no chorus.
By the same token, Madness are often seen as cheery cockerney chappies, a sort of seven man Two Tone Tommy Steele. But even early on they tackled other things, the lyrics to Embarrassment dealing with mixed race unmarried parenthood, the elegant gossamer anti-tory Yesterday's Men, and numerous darker lyrics such as Grey Day and Tomorrow's (Just Another Day).
Which is where we find ourselves. The 12 inch featured one of those irritating 80s remixes, all n-n-n-n-nineteen stutters and superfluous sections of the bass and drums on their own. I'll not waste your time with that.
Flip it over though and there's this re-recording with Elvis Costello on vocals. The jazzy setting is perfect for Costello's plaintive-with a-hint-of-malevolent tone. It hangs uneasily and brings so much more out of the song than the proper version, really pulling forward the alienation and depression's paradoxical turmoil/drudgery blend that flows through the lyric.
[MP3 deleted to make way for new ones. Sorry!]
You don't really think of Madness as having weird corners to their output, yet this is the third one of theirs I've posted (the others were the Spanish version of One Step Beyond and Listen to Your Father).