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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover

ABACAB

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.55 | 908 ratings

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Time Signature
4 stars How I learned not to trust other people's opinions.

You know, people say that Abacab is the worst album Genesis ever made (perhaps competing with "Invisible Touch"), and for many years I believed it, so I thought "I ain't gonna waste my money on that". Then one day I clicked my way onto Genesis' MySpace profile, and one of the sample songs was 'Abacab' the title track of this CD. So, I thought, I'll give it a go and clicked play... a simple drum beat started accompanied by what we call "rÝvballe guitar" in Danish (I won't translate it, which I'm sure you'll all appreciate)... and, you know what, I liked it, and I went and bought the CD and it wasn't all that bad That's when I learned not to take other people's opinions of music for granted.

"Abacab" has been described by Phil Collins as Genesis' "punk album" and the Genesis boys have stated on several occasion that it was an attempt at reinventing themselves, trying to write some simpler music than they'd done prevuously. In a sense, while not progressive music, I think it is admirable that an artist changes his or her style, that's musical progression - although I'm sure a lot of progheads will consider this regression, and I think the Genesis actually got away with it on "Abacab". The album is also vital in the further development of their style into the more arty pop music of "Genesis", "Invisible Touch" and "We Can't Dance", which essentially combine the elaborateness of their pre-"Abacab" post-Gabriel albums with the simplicity of "Abacab" itself (which is why I've given it four stars, since I cinsider "Abacab" to be essential in that sense.

I think "Abacab" is an absolutely brilliant tune. Sure it is simple, but it is the simplicity that I like (but I'm the sort of person who likes both simple rock and progressive rock. Still it is sprinkled with interesting keyboard lines utilizing what sounds like more jazz oriented scales, so there is actually some sophistication to this tune after all. Moreover, the "inhumane" (to use Tony Banks own words) keyboard noises that pop up here and there work really well. Really, if you don't mind simplicity, then "Abacab" is a great tune.

"No Reply At all" is essentially a kind of funk tune with its Motown-esque horns section (okay, I don't know if it's Motown-esque, since I don't know anything about Morown music, but you know what I mean). This doesn't make it a bad song or anything. It is okay, but I don't think it is an outstanding or brilliant piece of music.

"Keep it Dark" is a tune that, despite basically droning on in the same patterns (it contains only one repetitive weird guitar riff and some really simple drumming, which I think is actually just a drum loop), I actually find to be interesting. It is almost trance-inducing and far more interesting to listen to than the trance-dance stuff of the 1990s. There is also a stint of humor to the lyrics, which is always refreshing.

"Dodo/Lurker" and, to some extent "Me and Sarah Jane" are probalby the only tunes that may be considered instances of proper progressive rock (whatever poper progressive rock is). They certainly contain a considerably heterogenic mixture of styles, which admittedly is refreshing in the perspective of the machine-like repetitive nature of the album.

The remaining tunes on the album do not really seem significant to me. Of course there is "Who Dunnit", which is probably the Genesis tune that everybody likes to hate. I don't. I think it's mildly amusing, but that's it. Well, while "Man on the Corner" probably belongs on a Phil Collins album rather than a Genesis album, I actually like that tune a lot. I still haven't figured out why.

So, I guess the conclusion is: forget everything you've read in this and all the other reviews. Go and listen to the album yourself and see if you like it or not ;-)

Time Signature | 4/5 |

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