Category: ABC

ABC – Beauty Stab

ARTIST: ABC

TITLE: Beauty Stab

YEAR RELEASED: 1983

CHART ACTION:  #69 US, #12 UK

SINGLES: That Was Then but This Is Now (#89 US, #18 UK), S.O.S.(#39 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ohh…no.

LINEUP: Martin Fry, Mark White, Stephen Singleton, with Andy Newmark, Alan Spenner, Howie casey, David Theodore, Luis Jardim

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A misfire of epic proportions. ABC ditches the orchestration and goes for (mostly) a rock motif. It bombs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After the success of The Lexicon of Love, people were waiting with bated breath for their follow up. When the group released Beauty Stab, people were saying: “The hell?”,

After the opener (a classic sounding “That Was Then but This Is Now”, the album goes into a bunch of distorted and feedback guitars, That shocked the system, even though “Love’s a Dangerous Language” isn’t bad at all once that opener is over. It’s just that the marketplace, the fans, ok, everybody was expecting something more like their debut. The reaction in 1983 was a universal “ick”.

Now, listening in 2021, without any expectations, it’s a decent record. Not anywhere close to the rousing excellence of their debut, but it’s a bit more eclectic. Some of the lyrics are political, which again was against expectations. Maybe they shouldn’t have released this record at this time, but it’s nothing to throw out the window.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Martin Fry said he realized now he should have released a sequel to The Lexicon of Love and saved this for later. He’s probably right.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE B:  You read the contemporary reviews and wonder if it’s as bad as they said back then. No, it’s not

ABC – The Lexicon of Love

ARTIST: ABC                                                ABC-Lexicon

TITLE: The Lexicon of Love

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #24 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Tears Are Not Enough (#19 UK), Poison Arrow (#25 US, #39 Dance, #6 UK), The Look of Love (#18 US, #1 Dance, #4 UK), All of My Heart (#5 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Show Me

LINEUP: Martin Fry, Mark White, Stephen Singleton, David Palmer with Anne Dudley, Brad Lang, and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The ultimate sophisticated dance pop album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: ABC, arragner Anne Dudley and producer Trevor Horn constructed this witty, smart, and sophisticated album that somehow escapes pretention (for the most part) and whisks you into a world of love, loss, and wordplay.

Two tracks “Poison Arrow” and “The Look of Love” are well-known 80’s tracks, but the entire album is full of pop hooks, elegant arrangements, and witty lyrics. Even the requisite ballad “All of My Heart” isn’t just a weepy ballad – the arrangement is exquisite.

ABC wouldn’t scale these heights again, but this record cements their legacy.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had a long form video called “Mantrap” directed by Julien Temple.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, versions with B-sides and dance mixes.

 GRADE A+: Best of the new-romantic class.