One Better Day


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One Better Day Review

by Evan Cater

"One Better Day" is one of the more genuinely felt Madness songs, with its touching lyrics about the meeting of a homeless man and woman (played in the video, interestingly enough, by Graham "Suggs" McPherson and his wife, Ann). Yet despite its sensitive lyrics, well-crafted harmonies, and a memorable chorus well-suited to Suggs' velvet baritone, the song only made it to Number 17 in the U.K. charts. This couldn't have come as a complete surprise; the rather easy listening arrangement, with its mellow sax solos and melancholy strings, is far from the bouncy pop fare Madness usually released. Perhaps the band would have been better off had Stiff Records executive Dave Robinson stuck with his original plan to release "Victoria Gardens," instead. This single features a jazzed-up, brass-enhanced mix of the latter song that was intended for release until Robinson had a last minute change of heart. The single also includes two "B-side" tracks: the nearly instrumental "Sarah," and an inspired bit of silly social commentary called "Guns." The latter was written by Suggs after he learned that there were something like four guns to every person in Texas: "A man with a thousand guns felt it wasn't safe even in the southern States ... but alone and hungry he couldn't eat his guns." It's a quality single, though all four tracks are now available on the box set of singles and B-sides The Business.