This song describes a packed house filled with fond memories and bustling with activity. There were many like it in England (where Madness is from), especially in the '80s when a tough economy forced many young people to live with their parents. The song is filled with joyful nostalgia, but at the same time, the singer knows he should probably more out. We hear this voice of reason in the line "something tells you that you've got to move away from it."
This was written by Madness bass player/vocalist Carl Smyth and guitarist Christopher Foreman. The house where Smyth grew up inspired the lyric.
Madness was very popular in their native UK, where this was their 11th Top 10 hit. They barely got noticed in America though, where "Our House" was their only substantial hit. Much of the song's success in the US was down to its witty music video that went over well during the early days of MTV. It was also a time when British bands were trending in the States, with colorful acts like The Human League, Culture Club and Eurythmics making an impact.
"Our House" won the Best Song award at the 1983 Ivor Novello Awards.
The song's video features the band as a cloth-cap wearing family squashed into a terraced house. Drummer Dan "Woody" Woodgate recalled to Q Magazine August 2008: "The knocking-on-the-door bit where somebody comes out, goes, 'Where are they?' and the others sneak in and close the door... That's The Flintstones. We stole lots of ideas from the Keystone Kops and Benny Hill."
Frontman Suggs recalled to The Daily Mirror September 18, 2009: "This was the first time we worked with the string arranger David Bedford. It was clear to him what our records needed and he did great things for us. It's strange now to think we were so philosophical about such everyday things."
This was played in a 2007 TV commercial shown in the UK for Bird's Eye Fish Fingers
, which features Suggs. In the advert, the Madness singer is sitting with a family at tea time. The daughter is studying for her school exams and asks Suggs where Omega 3 can be found. He offers the answer of Birds Eye Fish Fingers.
"Our House" is beloved in England, where it triggers waves of nostalgia. When Madness played it at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the crowd in Olympic Stadium gleefully sang along.