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The Lexicon of Love

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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

Back in the day

This is the quinticential 80's album by one of the best crooners of the time Martin Fry. Do you know where you were when you heard The Look of Love for the first time. This was new wave at its finest. Perfect pop that can not be duplicated. Amen to ABC for a large slice of 80's perfection!!!

This IS the 80's

ABC's "The Lexicon of Love" helped define the music of the 80's. Combining the style and glam of groups like Roxy Music with danceable beats and memorable hooks, Martin Fry and company created a truly unique musical experience. There were other hits on subsequent ABC albums but this one set the standard for excellence.

Leading the charge of the 80's British Invasion...

So glad to be able to download this amazing album, I had almost forgotten what an impact it had on me when I first heard it back in 1982. For those who go back that far, the bland landscape that was 70's pop music had drifted into the first years of the new decade. The top of the Billbaord charts as late as 1981 still included Neil Diamond, Anne Murray, Barry Manilow, Streisand and even Kenny Rogers(!!) That all changed due to two forces of nature: the dawn of MTV, and the "2nd" British Invasion of the U.S. music scene in 1982. No artist in the states was making any music like this, so acts like ABC, Culture Club, Human League, Depeche Mode, etc were like a breath of fresh air over the stale airwaves. Listening to "Lexicon" today, Martin Fry's performances are almost laughably over the top...yet they do fit perfectly with the spectacular production and arrangements (my personal favorite is Valentine's Day.) True, this style couldn't possibly last for long, and it didn't, but it was still a lot of fun while it lasted. My only disappointment is the failure to include the ultra cool, jazzy extended mix of Poison Arrow. But still a very worthy addition to my i-Pod. If you were there, GET IT.


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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