Though the album was never released in the US, several tracks were later placed on the compilation Madness, including the melancholic pop of "Our House", the band's only top 10 hit in America.
Initially conceived as a concept album about nostalgia for childhood, the concept was eventually dropped, though the original theme is still evident particularly in the title track and the album's major hit "Our House". This theme was also mentioned recently when interviewed as part of T in The Park highlights, where their lead vocalist Suggs claimed that all the band members were told to write about their childhood memories for The Rise & Fall (although he did say that their keyboardist Mike Barson got the wrong idea, and went off and wrote about New Delhi).
Although the band had previously been avowedly apolitical, the track "Blue Skinned Beast" was an overt satire on the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her handling of the Falklands War, paving the way for more political comment on subsequent Madness albums.
In a retrospective review for AllMusic, critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album four and a half out of five stars and wrote that "The Rise & Fall is recognizably Madness in sound and sensibility; faint echoes of their breakneck nutty beginnings can be heard on "Blue Skinned Beast" and "Mr. Speaker Gets the Word," the melodies are outgrowths of such early masterpieces as "My Girl," there’s a charming, open-hearted humor and carnivalesque swirl that ties everything together." also noting that "The rest of the record contains the same wit, effervescence, and joy, capturing what British pop life was all about in 1982, just as The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society did in 1968 or Blur's Parklife would do in 1994."
In 2009 and 2010, Madness re-released their entire back catalogue of studio albums up until 1999's Wonderful with a bonus CD and extra tracks.