Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ABC - The Lexicon of Love (1982)


Note: Several CD versions of this album have been released. I listened to the 2004 Deluxe Edition.

While you could accuse ABC of being style over substance, this is one of my early-80s favorites based on great songwriting combined with ├╝ber-producer Trevor Horn (who can do no wrong in my book). This is music that defines an era while still aging well. This listening made me aware of how similar the ABC sound was to Haircut 100.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #24
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #27

Tracks: One of the things that makes this CD great is that it is designed to be listened to in its entirety. For me, the stand out tracks are Tears Are Not Enough and All Of My Heart. Weaker tracks include Valentine's Day and Date Stamp, but that's not to say they are bad, just weaker than the hits.

Extra tracks: The extra tracks are divided into 4 sections. The first, "The Original Singles" contains a forgettable 12" version of Alphabet Soup with some of the most awful saxophone playing I've ever heard (and please remember I taught 11-year-old saxophonists for years). However, it also contains two interesting takes on Poison Arrow: a Tin-Pan Alley version (Theme from Man-Trap) and a "jazz mix" which is more of a 12" version interspersed with jazz flute interludes with a backbeat. The second section is "An Out-take and an Oddity" which contains a horrible Lexicon of Love out-take and another version of Alphabet Soup. The third section is demos. Like most demos, these inferior versions do not call for repeated listening nor do they shine any light on the creative process. If anything, these particular demos demonstrate Horn's brilliance at production. The final section is a concert from November 82. Valentine's Day is much better live, but unfortunately, All of My Heart suffers a bit. Also, we suffer through another 8 minute version of the mediocre Alphabet Soup.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: My friend Jim introduced me to ABC and I can remember riding around in his jalopy with the windows down and singing at the top of my lungs, "Who got the look? WHHAAAAIII don't the answer to that question." If memory serves, that would have been New Year's Eve 1982, driving down 7th street.

2 comments:

  1. The Lexicon Of Love is pure pop perfection across the original ten tracks. Even if it was never remastered, reissued or rejiggered, the album would stand the test of time. Whatever the highest possible praise is, I bestow it upon this album.

    My lone greivance with The Deluxe Edition (as reviewed here) is not what was included but what was left off.

    Thanks to the joys of modern technology, I was able to make my own Ultimate Edition of this wonderful album with all the tracks I wanted and none of the ones I didn't want.

    My own feeble attempt at reviewing The Lexicon Of Love can be found HERE.

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    1. Your attempt is not feeble and outshines this post. This was the blog's 7th post; back then I wasn't as verbose as I eventually became. If I were to rewrite this post, it would be much longer and I would gush quite a bit. Rolling Stone has somehow ignored the album on its 'best of' lists, but it has appeared in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

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