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The Lexicon of Love (Remastered)

ABC

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Album Review

ABC's debut album combined the talents of the Sheffield, U.K.-based band, particularly lead singer Martin Fry, a fashion plate of a frontman with a Bryan Ferry fixation, and the inventive production style of former Buggles member Trevor Horn and his team of musicians, several of whom would go on to form the Art of Noise. Horn created dense tracks that merged synthesizer sounds, prominent beats, and swaths of strings and horns, their orchestrations courtesy of Anne Dudley, who would follow her work with the Art of Noise by becoming a prominent film composer, and who here underscored Fry's stylized romantic lyrics and dramatic, if affected, singing. The production style was dense and noisy, but frequently beautiful, and the group's emotional songs gave it a depth and coherence later Horn works, such as those of Yes ("Owner of a Lonely Heart") and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, would lack. (You can hear Horn trying out the latter band's style in "Date Stamp.") Fry and company used the sound to create moving dancefloor epics like "Many Happy Returns," which, like most of the album's tracks, deserved to be a hit single. (In the U.K., four were: "Tears Are Not Enough," "Poison Arrow," "The Look of Love," and "All of My Heart," the last three making the Top Ten; in the U.S., "The Look of Love" and "Poison Arrow" charted Top 40.) ABC, which began fragmenting almost immediately, never equaled its gold-selling first LP commercially or artistically, despite some worthy later songs.

Customer Reviews

Buy this album or risk arrest!

It should be made law for everyone to own a copy of The Lexicon of Love by ABC! More so than any other album of its time this masterpiece defined the music of a generation. The early eighties are a much maligned period in popular music yet spawned such big hitters as Duran Duran, Roxy Music, Spandau Ballet and Depeche Mode. Despite the greater success of these electro masters, ABC created THE truly memorable album. Each track combines a quality of song writing, warm and witty lyrics and, probably most significantly, the engineering genius of Trevor Horn. Horn really made a statement with this album and would go on to create a signature sound that would become irresistible in terms of chart and creative success. His work with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Seal and the Art of Noise (amongst others) was of such supreme quality, detail and depth that it became acknowledged as the benchmark of production excellence. But Horn alone did not make this album the icon that it truly is. Martin Fry, gold-lame-suited lead singer, front man, and showman, carried with him a charismatic presence and charm that was both camp, sexy and totally irresistible; the perfect pop star of the moment. After all how many people could carry the line “can’t complain mustn’t grumble, help yourself to another piece of apple crumble” (From That was Then but This is Now, 1983) and still seem cool! The spoken verse in The Look of Love ‘And though my friends just might ask me, they say "martin maybe one day you'll find true love" in the hands of a much lesser talent would be painful and awkward but Fry delivers it brilliantly, in the manner of a man full of confidence and in the knowledge that he is working on something special. It is hard to single out a particular track for praise; they all seem to reach the same level of camp excellence and complemented one another perfectly. If you don’t own this album, not only are you missing something special in your life, but if I get my way you may be in danger of getting arrested too!

The Greatest Pop Album Of All Time.....?

This album is so good it is almost unbelievable. I bought it on vinyl with my paper round wages when it was first released and played it to death. It was also the very first CD I got back in 1986 - still playing that one now. The strength of the song writing is what makes this album a cut above. The sound and particularly the lyrics give it a different sound to albums that were out at the time and it has never really been repeated. It contains four single releases but it is in songs such as 'Show Me', 'Valentines Day' & 'Forever Together' that the band show their real class. It's funny how many people I know, with a good, varied knowledge of music, rate this album really highly - even those who were into 'metal' at the time. My 'Desert Island Disc' Album - nothing really comes close.

Perfection

I was 18 when this album was released, and I dismissed it as poppy pap as I was into live punk acts. Four years later I bought it and was converted. This is stunning pop genius from the shimmering opening strings of the sublime "Show Me" - the greatest album opener of all time? - through the sumptuous near orgasmic female vocals on Date Stamp "Love has no guarantee - no promise of eternity" - the thunderous operatic intensity of 4 ever 2 Gether - the can't put a foot wrong song writing savvy of the four ubiquitious singles - to the shimmering billowing closer. A storming, towering collossus of pop genius, never to be bettered. Staggering. Still can't stop playing the darned thing - a quarter of a century later.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most popular new wave bands of the early '80s, the British group ABC built upon the detached, synthesized R&B pop of David Bowie and Roxy Music, adding a self-conscious, campy sense of theatrics and style. Under the direction of vocalist Martin Fry, the group scored several catchy, synth-driven...
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