Mad Not Mad is the sixth studio album by the English ska/pop band Madness. It was originally released in September 1985 and was their first official release on their own label Zarjazz, a sub-label of Virgin Records. The album was recorded over a period of two months in 1985 at Westside Studios and at AIR Studios, both in London. The album was their last recording of original material until they officially reformed in 1992.
The album peaked at No. 16 in the UK charts and achieved silver status from the BPI. However, Mad Not Mad remains the band’s poorest-selling studio album to date.
On its release, the album was received favourably by the majority of music critics, although opinions have become much more negative in subsequent decades. After only a few weeks of its initial release, the writers of NME listed this album at number 55 on their list of the “100 Best Albums of All Time”. The band themselves have been quite vocal that they were less satisfied with the album. In a BBC Radio 1 interview in 1993, their lead singer Suggs described Mad Not Mad as “a polished turd”, referring to its distinctively glossy mid-1980s production by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, who had both produced all of Madness’ work since the group’s debut. In a 2009 interview, Suggs said that with keyboardist Mike Barson gone they “slightly over-compensated, arrangement-wise and musician-wise” but there were “some great songs on that album, for sure”. However, NME’s view of the album is still favourable, including it in its 2015 list of “50 Albums Released in 1985 That Still Sound Great Today”.