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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover

ABACAB

Genesis

Symphonic Prog


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3 stars Nice album. Big difference with the earlier Gabriel- and Collins-periods. But that doesn't make this album bad. Fanatic prog-lovers don't like it and say Genesis has lost its roots. Well, they're bad listeners. Genesis stands with its head in the clouds of pop, but with its feet in the progressive rock at this album. Just listen to "me and sara jane" or "Dodo/Lurker": completely different than the average weak pop-music of the 1980's. "Like it or not", "Man in the corner" and "Another Record" are typical examples of the new Phil Collins. I think they're better than his later solo-songs.
Report this review (#10394)
Posted Sunday, December 21, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars A very obvious attempt to change their sound - which isn't a bad thing, again, like 'Duke', very live sounding. The title track is incredibly simple, only 3 chords for the main bit and a key change, just banged out in 4/4 time, yet still amazingly enjoyable and Keep it Dark is just one riff! In contrast Me and Sarah Jane has all the signature Genesis flavours and Dodo/Lurker is a nod the 70's stuff. The rest is either silly (Who Dunnit?) or poppy. For these reasons I think this album is, if not consistent, a fairly intriguing listen.
Report this review (#10382)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars Mr Painter can't say it any better in his review than I could ever wish to. Well actually the title track is not that bad as there is an interesting chord progression, but it is the only sign that the old Genesis ever once existed. For the rest this is pityful for progheads , full of those horrendous kbs from the early 80's, relatively dull drumming (especially comming from such an excellent drummer). We are not too far from new wave with this album.

I know Genesis had to live with the times and had taken a bold choice to evolve with this album and the number of new fans had given them right, but I cannot help but feel a betrayal ever so much stronger with this album than with all the succeding albums they will make. But somehow if this had been a Wham! album , we might think it is good

Report this review (#10386)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
scotto'connor
4 stars I can't believe i'm the only one that gives this rating. I can clearly see people's problem with the pop rock instead of progressive rock which is fine to an extent. But not everyone can like just one sub genre of music, which is prog rock. If you don't like pop music than fair enough, but I don't have problems with Genesis changing there music to a pop sound.

Phil Collins has directed the sound changes and lyric changes from early Genesis, they aren't as complex or theatrical, they are more friendly for a wider audience to understand what they are about which is equally as good as writing intelligent lyrics. The topics in the music are still as good as any Genesis music, for example how beauty over brains is valued more in western societ and pointless killing of animals in Dodo/Lurker, also in Man On The Corner, a song about homeless people, and how others ignore them and so on. Fine song from Phil Collins.

There is a love or "relationship song" with No Reply At All, with the help of Earth Wind and Fire horns section. It's a song about how a person fails to communicate to the opposite sex, c'mon weve all been there. I like this song even though it isn't Genesis at all, but if Rutherford and Banks were ok with Phil doing that, then it's fine.

Who Dunnit is a funny song to me, I think it's about how people have the tendency to blame everyone else for bad things that happen, when it is that contributes to the bad things as well like everyone else. Keep It Dark is a great song, with a depressing, somber mood on the world outlook- "It seems strange to have to lie about a world so bright, and tell instead a made up story from the world of night". Meaning he has to tell a dream to describe the world to put everyone at ease. It shows that there is great meaning in all parts of this album. It's all to easy to discrimiante the album just for the sound and surface meaning. I think this is there last great album- Invisible touch and We Can't Dance are average compared to this.

Report this review (#10393)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars OK, here's where it really starts to go downhill. First of all, what's with the EWF horns on a Genesis album? And can anyone explain 'Who Dunnitt'? Is this the same band who gave us 'Supper's Ready' and 'One For The Vine'? However, there are a couple of highlights: 'Dodo/Lurker' is pretty proggy and 'Me And Sarah Jane' has grown on me over the years. 'Keep It Dark'... yeh, that's pretty good too I guess.
Report this review (#10391)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Genesis really reached the bottom of insignificance here, so that it is very hard for me to review one of the worst albums from my favorite progressive rock band. What makes this album bearable are the many present hits like "No reply at all", which contains catchy & urban horns sections, and "Man on the corner", which could easily be mistaken for a Phil Collins's song. The recipe to be popular is pretty well succeeded here, so that this record is absolutely not progressive at all.

The "Abacab" track is a total flop, as reveal the repetitive hammering of the drums and the very insignificant & minimalist keyboards. Just listen to "Who Dunnit?" and you will understand why this track is among the worst ones made by Genesis: however notice the similitudes with modern House music! "Me and Sarah Jane" is one of the best track on this record, especially the brief, ethereal & floating bit full of colorful keyboards. "Keep it dark" has a VERY repetitive & alienating rhythm pattern, and again here, Tony Banks is just in a lethargic state! "Dodo/Lurker" has good electric guitar notes in the intro, but unfortunately, it does not last at all! "Like it or not" is one of the rare tracks that have a decent melody. Many bits on this record still have the "Duke" sound. "Another record" contains good rhythmic electric piano, and it is also the case for some tracks on this record. I find this record better than Mike Rutherford's "Acting very strange".

Report this review (#10396)
Posted Friday, April 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If you want to cry "sell out" here I won't stop you. Of course GENESIS' commercial reinvention didn't happen overnight, it had been coming ever since Peter GABRIEL's departure, creeping in under the cloak of "Your Own Special Way" and "Ripples" at first, then poking its head out on "Follow You, Follow Me" and finding the light pleasant. The trio showed some discomfort moving in prog's ample mantle on . "And Then There Were Three", opting to shed the showy garments on "Duke" at times for a sleeker, tighter sound.

Following Phil's success with "Face Value", however, the band realized they could take off the prog helmets and breathe the freshly minted air of the '80s. (I know, most prog bands suffocated in the late '70s trying the same thing, but this was after all GENESIS.) The opening "Abacab" marks a clean departure from the past: noisy and relentless synthesizers from Tony BANKS create an unscalable wall of sound, barbed by Phil COLLINS' spiked rhythms and Mike RUTHEFORD's intractable bass. What it all means is anybody's guess, but the urgency speaks for itself. The same epic scale returns on "Dodo/Lurker", not coincidentally the other "long" song on "Abacab" and one that would have felt at home on . "And Then There Were Three".

Elsewhere, shades of "Cul-de-Sac" reappear on the wonderful "Me And Sarah Jane" (yet another gem from BANKS), "Behind The Lines" serves as a template for "No Reply At All", and RUTHEFORD's "Like It Or Not" echoes earlier works like "Alone Tonight". But viewing "Abacab" as an upstart "Duke" misses the point; where "Duke" was gauzy and languid, "Abacab" is wide awake. The rhythms feature crisp, left-of-center beats that draw from jazz, the keyboards trade their old magic and mystery for Orwellian overtones, RUTHEFORD's intoxicating sounds instead become musical punctuation marks. And nothing in GENESIS' past was streamlined like "Man on the Corner" or "Another Record". As good as "Abacab" is, I'd be remiss in not mentioning that "Keep It Dark" and "Who Dunnit?" sound gimmicky and could be considered unbecoming a band of GENESIS' stature.

I'm not a huge fan of "Abacab", though I recognize that for many this is a milestone (newcomers I presume). For those of us still nursing the old dream, this record represents a slight speed bump that may occasion sideward glances for The Police (whose debut album played similar games with color cover variations).

Report this review (#10424)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I consider this CD the band's first 'through-and-through' pop album, a point in time when COLLINS made no qualms about it and decided once and for all to make GENESIS his back-up band. Gone are the long, inspired symphonic compositions of yore. While still containing traces of the group's progressive past, the album is primarily filled with streamlined melodies and a few catchy tunes that managed to make the top 40's at the time. However, the overwhelming PHILLY influence sadly relegates a group of virtuoso musicians to a backing group and as a result, no one really cares to hear those ditties twenty odd years later. Even TONY BANKS' gem "Me and Sarah Jane" sounds contrived within this context. Don't get me wrong: "Abacab" was a fine pop album. However, when you know what the boys are capable of, it's enough to make you want to pull your progger's hair off. Aieeeee!!! (rushing out of the room, ears covered with both hands).
Report this review (#10380)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Call a cab

This is where it all went completely wrong. Phil Collins was dragging the band closer and closer to his solo output, to the extent that by "Abacab", it's hard to tell the difference.

It's bad enough that there is nothing progressive here, "Dodo" is as close as they get, but in fact there is nothing particularly good either. The title track, named apparently after the structure of the song, was a big hit single, and its easy to understand why. Essentially, its just another funky pop song, a million miles from the Gabriel or indeed later Hackett eras.

The rest of the tracks are in a similar vein, simple shortish soul/funk influenced songs featuring Collins vocals and little else.

Fortunately, Genesis would find their way back towards their progressive roots on parts of subsequent albums, but this is a real low point in the band's output, even the sleeve is devoid of inspiration.

Report this review (#10413)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album was released a few weeks before the band would appear in Leiden, the Netherlands for an already sold out concert - the infamous booing concert. Very much to Phil's annoyance, the audience made it perfectly clear how they felt about Genesis' new sound. And at the same time, Collins made it very clear that he didn't give a d*** about how the fans felt.

This is the album where Genesis turned their back on the faithful fan following that had been with them virtually since the beginning and started to reach out for the much younger, and much bigger crowd that was going to make them into a stadium band.

Abacab is really a transitional album, and only with their next studio album one could say that the transformation into a plain, commercial rock band was completed.

None of the songs is really succesful. "Who Dunnit' is an insult to human intelligence, and even the songs that sound a bit like the previous album (Abacab, Dodo and Me And Sarah Jane) sound unfinished - more like a demo than an album track.

The album was released in four different sleeves (different colour combinations), perhaps hoping that the die hard fans would buy all four. But it's especially those fans that will have been severely disappointed with this album.

I have long hesitated whether to give this album one or zero stars. I consider myself a collectionist, and I did buy the cd when it was released, but I never take it of the shelf and probably never will. There is not even one song I would want to play to anyone. No matter how wuch I try, I cannot really think of anything to justify even awarding one star...

Report this review (#10414)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars There once were a prog band of exellence hailing from the UK....many people were filled with joy...were absolutely amazed.....but then this band changed its ways...... much to the fans wonder....how could this be?? Well i do not have the answer!! I just know that.... a car with a wonderful motor and a beautiful exterior.....is not the same after the removal of the wheels......and a repaint!! Whats this then??? No ..no .no....its just a metaphor! Genesis.....once a prog band superior...is now a popband inferior!! Thus fellow reviewers...lets leave it up to the pop people to review that kind of music!! We..on the other hand are obliged to listen to the real thing (thank god)!! So...Genesis......thank you for the music.....until now!!!
Report this review (#10397)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just can't quite understand how others find this album as boring or crappy. This has got to be the best album by Genesis, and my favorite song is "Dodo/Lurker." That song is absolutely brilliant and intoxicating; I get lost in that song all the time and keep repeating it over and over. The percussion in that song is intricate and beautiful; I don't know if many people know this, but it takes a lot of practice, strength, and skill to get the rhythm just right, and Phil Collins does an excellent job, as always. What intrigues me the most about this song is "Lurker." First of all, Phil's "pseudo-rapping" is great, and I love that strange synthesizer and the many different instruments, which are mostly percussion, lurking about in the back ground. The riddle is pretty neat; it seems as if it came out of someone's nightmare. I become hypnotized when hearing all the different chords and rhythms of the instruments, and the drums are perfect. That has got to be my favorite song of all time. Also, I am astounded that so many people don't like "Like It Or Not" and "No Reply At All." Hey, when one is listening to a song, one should focus not only on the lyrics, but also on the music itself. I mean, the chords in "Like It Or Not" are gorgeous, and Tony Banks really knows how to play it. What captured me first in that song was the bass; I love how it teams up with the percussion on rhythm, and then they split every once in a while for variation. Way to go, Mike! All right, some may become angry with what I must say now, but I really enjoy "No Reply At All." In fact, the only reason I bought the album was that I heard that song on a local radio station one night, and I fell in love with it. Personally, I adore trumpets, and when it's combined with percussion, I'm in heaven! Phil did an outstanding job on everything, and you can tell that he's finding his voice and he's singing with more power and confidence. He's a very creative percussionist who just isn't afraid to try something different. Now I say to those who loathe this album: listen to it again carefully. You may be surprised with what you hear.
Report this review (#10399)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
1 stars When I listen a Genesis album from Trespass to Wind & Wuthering I feel joy and pleasure, when I listen ATTWT or Duke I feel nostalgia, because even though are mediocre you can still notice distant echoes of a glorious past. When I listen ABACAB I feel shame.

How could they sell out so fast? Why didn't they change the name of the band? Those are questions for which I have no answer, and to be honest I don't care, because I will hear once again some excuses like "They had to survive", "It was a different decade and Prog' was dead" , "They are better now" or even worst somebody may say "ABACAB is a real progressive album because they changed".

It's hard to comment the album because the guitar is terrible (Mike, play your bass, you're good on it), the keyboards Tony used are terrible, sound as those cheap ones you can get anywhere for 200 bucks, and Collins voice, well at least his voice is perfect for pop.

I will only comment the two worst tracks, because all the rest are bad but not as this ones.

"No Reply at All" is not the worst song of this album, but from the moment they mixed Genesis with Earth Wind & Fire (A band that represents disco music) you can expect anything.

"Who Dunnit?", well this track is simply the worst joke I ever heard, the lyrics are stupid, the music is repetitive (ad nauseam), I don't care who dunnit? I just don't want to listen this aberration.

The rest of the tracks are boring and absolutely predictable, the long songs (not epics of course) could have been done in 3 minutes with no radical change, Phil Collins was starting to turn Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford in his favorite session musicians.

I was going to give this album one star because Invisible Touch and Genesis (Shapes) are even worst, but the rating legend for one star is "Poor. Only for completionists" and ABACAB is not in this category, because I rather have my Genesis collection incomplete than mixing this thing with "Foxtrot" or "Nursery Cryme".

"Bad. Do not buy" is my honest recommendation, so I'll give 0 stars.

Report this review (#10400)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Seems to me that some people are content to remain fixed in a prog rock time capsule and unless an album sounds like Foxtrot or Close to the Edge then the groups have sold out. Absolute garbage! Abacab was one of the bravest moves by Genesis and it's timing was perfect. The title track itself makes the album worthwhile and the new ground with simple drum beats in parts created an exciting new decade for Genesis. Me and Sarah Jane, Dodo, Like it or Not are all great songs and Abacab produced a refreshing new theme within the music. How peope can condemn Rutherford's guitar work on Abacab leaves me dumbfounded. A great album.
Report this review (#10401)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I must thank GENESIS for this album. If it was not this album plus the new wave and punk era in early 80's I would never have a chance, probably, to know MARILLION. This album represented my first "disappointment" with GENESIS as I was actually one of their fans since "Nursery Crime" album.

Musically, nothing wrong with this album if we never knew before that this group was one of pioneers of prog rock altogether with KING CRIMSON, ELP, YES, PINK FLOYD,etc. If we only knew that this band is a typical pop band then it would be OK. But, if I remember how brilliant this band crafted "Supper's Ready" in Foxtrot album or the legendary "Firth of Fifth" in "Selling England by The Pound" album and dozens of other prog tunes by the band, I felt I was to vomit listening to this album Uuugggh .. What is this, Mr. Collins???

Forgetting prog boundary (which is "vague" anyway. What is prog?), some tracks of this album are good. They are straight forward rock such as "abacab", "dodo" especially if they are played live as in the "Three Sides Live" album. The rest look like Phil Collins solo albums, I think. I guess the band tried to compromise with the industry trend at that time where rock music was challenged by new wave and punk era.

I thought that prog music was dead by the release of this album in 1981. For me, it was really dark years until in 1983 I listened to the first time "So here I am once more .." from MARILLION. It was a sign that prog music would not die as a new group from Scotland dare to challenge new wave era.

Well, I could not recommend you to buy this CD with the expectation of this is a prog album.If you just want to listen to pop/rock music, then it's OK. It's your call.

Report this review (#10402)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Many people are speaking very badly about this album. Of course, it's some another turning into pop stylisation (songs like 'Keep It Dark', 'No Reply at All' and the worst, in my opinion - "Who Dunnit"), but there are also very good numbers, maybe not so progressive as songs on previous Genesis' 'Duke', but it's very pleasant to here songs like Abacab, Me and Sarah Jane or Dodo. Good, but non-essential, I can say just so;).
Report this review (#10403)
Posted Monday, July 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's more than one way to be progressive -- writing lengthy epics with mutli-layered guitar and keyboard solos isn't the only way for a band can go against the mainstream. To say that Abacab is along the same lines as Phil's solo output or even the subsequent Genesis albums is simply wrong. This is a one-of-a-kind Genesis album, one that combines elements of classic pop music with modern sounds, and executes it in a way that is truly -- yes I'll say it -- progressive.

Yes, "No Reply At All" has horns, and many other songs use digital synths and drum machines. So what? Is there only a limited class of instruments a prog band is "allowed" to use? And so what if this album shows a lot of Phil's Motown/R&B influence? Is that kind of music any less valid than the classical music which influenced Genesis' early style?

The key to appreciating Abacab is to stop focusing on what the album doesn't have -- Genesis's early "prog" sound -- and instead listen to what the songs DO have: very unique, creative structures, plenty of unusual sounds and ideas. "Keep It Dark" is one of the highlights here, a song which features simple riffs but mixes them together in a totally awkward way. Even the much-maligned "Whodunnit" is quite a radical experiment unlike anything they or other bands had done before, and I'd rank it above at least 40% of the band's post-Abacab material.

True, this is largely a "pop" album, but contrary to popular belief, "pop" and "progressive" are not opposites, and Abacab proves that.

Report this review (#10404)
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars As I said in the Seconds Out review I respect Phil Collins and his work all over the years...BUT!!!!, this record is the worse piece of music I ever heard, I guess this is the poorest album of the Genesis 80's era. I would only dig on the title track and Man Of the Corner, the rest is simply forgettable stuff. The tracks loose intensity with the synthesisers. This is Genesis???, Well. A new era, and that means changing directions and style, but sacrificing the escence of what was once...mmm...I don't share that point of view if that is the case. Ironicaly, this album was #1 in the UK. So that means that this album was a really SELL OUT!. If you are a proghead, don't even look at it, if not I suggest to think it twice...there are many good options to spend you money.
Report this review (#10406)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album marked several changes for GENESIS:a) After Phil Collins had success with his first solo album, he became more confident as a musician, and his mates Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford appreciated his success. Maybe they said: "Hey, this man can write successful pop songs, and we are tired of Progressive music, so let`s try that "commercial pop music direction!" To say that they became Collins` backing musicians (as some reviewers wrote before me) is underrate their contributions to the band; b) I think that their U.S. label (Atlantic) had more influence than their U.K. label in their change of style: they also wanted "hits", not another "Prog album". In the 80s Atlantic was mainly a label more interested in hits; c) GENESIS recently have built their own recording studio, so they had more time to do what they wanted, which by 1981 was mainly pop music; d)If they wanted to change their musical direction, they needed a new recording engineer. So, David Hentschel was gone, and they called Hugh Padgham, a very good recording engineer who had worked with Peter Gabriel in his third self-titled solo album in 1980, with Phil Collins in his first solo album "Face Value",with YES in "Drama", with The Police and others. He continued working with Collins as soloist and with GENESIS, and he later became a co-producer of their albums. e)They needed a new image for the 80s, so they called new cover designers, who "modernized" and updated their image. I think that all these decisions were taken as a whole band. If Rutherford and Banks didn`t like to record pop music, they simply could have win Collins by 2 votes vs. 1. This album reflects all these changes. The recording of the album is more "clear" , as Padgham recorded the drums "at the front", with his own recording techniques which he used with The Police (that`s why Stewart Copeland`s drums sound very good, apart of being himself a very good drummer). But this album is still better than their "Genesis" album released in 1983. The song "abacab" has some good things despite being a simple song with a monotonous use of the bass pedals and distorted guitars. If Collins` had some influence from his solo career in this album, this influence is more clear in "No Reply at all", with the EWF horns. It has very good arrangements. "Me and Sarah Jane" is the best song of this album, very influenced by Reggae music, and with a bass guitar part which sometimes sounds like taken from a Disco music record. Banks uses his electric piano in this song and others, and "Me and Sarah Jane" sounds like a song originally composed for the "Duke" album. "Keep it dark" has good lyrics and good percussion arrangements. "Dodo/Lurker" are the most progressive songs in this album, with good drums and keyboards. "Who Dunnit?" sounds to me like a joke, really, and it is better than the offensive "Illegal Alien" from their next album. It has some strange synth sound effects and also some sound effects used for the drums sound at the end of the song. "Man on the corner" is Collins` solo contribution as songwriter. This song is similar to other songs from his first solo album, and it is not a bad song. Rutherford`s "Like it or not" has some influence from the "old Genesis", with arpeggio guitars and bass pedals, plus good drums and vocals by Collins. "Another Record" is a pop song, really. There were other songs recorded for this album but they were released in other formats and albums. I comment some of them, at least the songs that I have listened to. In the U.S. version of "Three Sides Live" they released 3 songs: "Paperlate", "You Might Recall" and "Me and Virgil" (these 3 were released in the U.K. in an E.P. called "3x3"). "Paperlate" is another song recorded with the EWF horns, and it is a good song with good arrangements. "You might recall" is another good pop song. "Me and Virgil" is an "exercise in storytelling" which is the less interesting song of these 3 songs for me. There were other songs recorded during the "abacab" sessions which were released as B sides of singles of the same period:" Naminanu", "Submarine", etc. All these additional songs (except "Me and Virgil", which Collins/Banks/Rutherford didn`t like anymore) are now available in the "Archive vol. 2" box set. In conclusion, for me the "abacab" album is still good in some places if I compare it to their "Genesis" album released in 1983.
Report this review (#10407)
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The key to this album (as in the "Duke" and "Genesis" albums) is to listen to it as listening to a pop-rock band, and not as to the Prog-rock band Genesis used to be. If u do so, you will have a wonderful time. This is the first true "Prog-pop" album by genesis. Except for "Me and sarah jane" and "Dodo/Lurker", all the songs are basically pop-songs, but I say Prog-pop becuse they have a very unique Genesis like arrangements, with banks synths and Phil's off bit drumming, not to forget Rutherfurd's great bass line and unique guitar work. The production is sleek, heavy and "dark", even though the songs are basically very catchy and "light", compared with their previous work. In short, there is only one weak moment here, which is "WHO DUNNIT". This is a very monotonic song, one of their worst no doubt, but still it comes inside that dence "dark" feeling of the production. ABACAB is a great prog-pop song, I even like the long jam at the end. NO REPLY AT ALL is a great pop-song, made into prog-pop with the EWAF horn section and the off-bit rythem. The 2 gems here are "ME AND SARAH JANE" and "DODO/LURKER", which can easily fit into "Duke" as well. Great progressive songs. "KEEP IT DARK" is a nice prog-pop tune, again with that "dark" dence production. "MAN ON THE CORNER" is pure pop (not even prog-pop), but it's a nice song, very Phil Collins of course. "LIKE IT OR NOT" and "ANOTHER RECORD" are also great pop- songs. Basically the "Prog-pop" part of the album starts with "ABACAB" and ends with "WHO DUNNIT", and from there it's strait pop songs. So all in all, give up on the Prog- rock glories, and you will enjoy this album very much.
Report this review (#10409)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
chasmancometh
3 stars While this is a drasic move away from the gloriously submersive past this album isn't the disaster that many people would want you to believe. There are some quality songs on here, Abacab is a brilliant rock song, Keep It Dark is a real grower despite it's simplicity and Dodo/Lurker proves that despite having a more pop sound the band still maintained some eccentric creativity from the Gabriel era.

Unfortunately it has to be said that Whodunnit is definately THE worst song of all time, not only does it sound bad but it is gratingly repetitive and annoying after just one listen. You wont want to hear it again, it is a least ten times worse than Illegal Alien.

By no means their finest moment, this is not a bad album and is well worth a listen.

Report this review (#10411)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars One thing about this record-it's very loud, esp. compared to Duke. The title track just explodes. I got this one new back in the day and still play some tracks from time to time. Of course, the hits were played to death on the radio, but it was cool to hear Genesis on the radio in those days. "Me and Sarah Jane" is still the solid standout.
Report this review (#10425)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Genesis' "Abacab" was their first "true" pop album. It contains elements from the previous "Duke" album, released the previous year, only even more commercialised in the overall sound. The synths sounds cheap and dated too and the overall mood on this album is very straightforward. However, there are a couple of excellent tracks here. The powerful title track is great, and "Dodo/Lurker" is the best cut on the album. Both clocking in at well over 7 minutes, these tracks are excellent and the nearest Genesis ever came "progressive" at that time (1981). The other tracks aren't that good. "Who Dunnit" is perhaps their most hated song, but I kinda liked it. It get's old pretty fast though. "No Reply At All" OK, but a bit boring. Most of the other tracks are good, with Phil Collins' "Man On A Corner" being a standout.

Prog-era-Genesis fans will hate this one. Don't get me wrong, Im a hardcore 70's Genesis fan too, but I still like this album for some reason. I would still recommend it only to die-hard Genesis fans though. 3/5

Report this review (#10427)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album, which has a distinctive bright, fresh, poppy sound so unlike the Genesis of the 1970's, is very much a mixed bag. The title track and "Dodo/Lurker" are unique and make the album somewhat interesting, but there's not much else here to recommend it for progressive rock fans who don't need to own every Genesis album. There are also some decent pure pop songs (No Reply, Man on the Corner), some pop songs I didn't much care for ("Me and Sarah Jane", "Like it or Not", "Another Record"), and an extremely annoying pop song I'd rather not ever hear again as long as I live ("Who Dunnit?").
Report this review (#10428)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars In comparison to most of the Genesis catalogue this is not the best album, but it's fair. The highlights include the title track, "Dodo" (interesting & usual sounding) "Me and Sarah Jane" (various mood/tempo changes - from pumping Reggae to slow and spaced out) "Keep it dark" (OK it's monotanous but it grows on you) and "Like it or not". Weaker tracks being "Who Dunnit?" and "Another Record" which I'm sure were just fillers. It makes you wonder why they didn't use any tracks from the 3X3 ep as they were much better. This was the album that cemented the fact that Genesis were never going to be the same band that they were before, but it does'nt mean they had forsaken prog. I don't think this sounds typically of it's time, therefore wouldn't say it's commercial. However if you are a die hard prog fan living in the Fragile, Foxtrot, Tarkus, Aqualung days, then this is not the album for you. If you can accept that bands move with the times and still do a good job years later, then you will appreciate this album. I give it 3 stars.
Report this review (#10429)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Even though I consider 'Duke' the beginning of Genesis' decline, 'Abacab' is the bright spike of hope in their slow downhill slide. This is clearly a minority view. To be sure, there were radical alterations made on this album. It favors a brighter sound than before, one full of open spaces and subtle playing. There's a maxim I've heard quoted before, unfortunately I can't recall who said it first, but it goes "True artists always change". And the members of Genesis are true artists. Whether or not you enjoy the changes rests on your tastes and musical values. But to judge 'Abacab' by 'Foxtrot' standards is unfair. Did you look and feel the same at age 25 as you did at 16?

Opener "Abacab" has been called many things; I know I'm in the minority when I say it's one of the band's best-ever songs. There might be a kind of soul vibe to it, but I've always heard a sinister element lurking underneath its 7 minutes. Tony Banks plays less on this than usual, which ends up giving it more. His dominating accents in the final half play on the song's lurching pulse. Another remarkable thing about this song is Phil Collins' vocals, which are more confident and assertive than anything he'd done before. Whether that's a result of his happiness with the material, or the success of his first solo album, or whatever, it's nice to hear him at the top of his vocal form on this and many of 'Abacab''s other songs.

The hypnotic trance of "Abacab" abruptly shifts gears once the first notes of "No Reply At All" kick in. This should be a song to hate: blaring horns (yuck) and a happy pop bounce (double-yuck) are its foundation, but there's something clever about it. It features excellent bass work from Mike Rutherford which I find infectious, and the rhythms laid down by Collins are a joy to hone in on.

Third track "Me And Sarah Jane" is an interesting pastiche of moods, from the pastoral opening, which subtly shifts to a more pop/jazz melodic sequence, into the opening-up at 1:50, which is somewhere between Rush's experiments with reggae and a kind of ragtime rhythm. After this we get a more familiar Genesis, circa 'Wind And Wuthering' perhaps, with some beautiful keyboard and vocal layers. Gorgeous, one of the most intriguing songs from their '80s era.

"Keep It Dark" is one that bears no real resemblance to the Genesis of old, but its machine-like strut maintains the quirkiness and eccentricity of some of their Gabriel-era material. It rest on a bass-driven bounce that weaves in and out of Banks' repetitive keyboard line, but I've always found the moment when Phil breaks into "I wish that I could really tell you." as one of the best moments on the album. A fantastic moment in a pleasant but otherwise average song.

"Dodo/Lurker": What's the problem with this one? Nothing! It's the kind of approach I wish the band would have toyed with more, rather than the crappy pop and sugary ballads that would infect forthcoming albums. This 7-and-a-half minute song successfully reinvents the Genesis epic, moving between jazz-infected rhythms, emotionally moving vocals, weird and wonderful keyboard sounds, dark funk, and an overall excitement where you never know what's around the next corner. Great movement between dark depths and bright highs. Best song on the album (along with the title track).

"Who Dunnit?" is one of the most reviled songs of the entire Genesis catalog. And why not? It's not good. It's annoying. It's almost knowingly stupid. But it does see the boys cutting loose with some really strange rhythms, and that's a reason to give it a listen or two. The part of me that enjoys oddity and eccentricity will always give it a few points. Short enough to sit through before the next song briefly redeems the album.

I don't know if "Man On The Corner" can be considered a ballad, and it doesn't really matter. Its melancholy tale of loneliness is haunting, featuring another remarkably affective vocal performance from Phil. Immensely beautiful in an almost "Heathaze" kind of way. Maybe I savor it more than I should, because this is the end of the album as far as I'm concerned.

The final two tracks, "Like It Or Not" and "Another Record", are bland and forgettable, filler tracks that pad the end of the album. I can't find any redeeming qualities in these songs. A lousy way to end an otherwise remarkable album.

For an album often accused as a "sell out", Genesis certainly took a lot of chances and managed one of the widest varieties of songcraft on any of their albums. I think it (mostly) succeeds, but was never capitalized upon with future recordings. As much as I like it, I always wished they would've substituted the final two duds with "Submarine" (the answer to the "Dodo/Lurker" riddle) and "Naminanu". A lot of songs were recorded for the 'Abacab' sessions, and these are left-field ("Naminanu") and soundtrack-ish ("Submarine"), which would've widened the 'Abacab' scope considerably. Had that actually happened, you would fear the high marks I'd give this album! In the same way Rush's 'Signals' and Voivod's 'Angel Rat' are more respected now than when they were released, I hope someday the Genesis fanbase will listen to 'Abacab' with less prejudiced ears.for what it is, and not what they want it to be.

P.S. In my 'Duke' review, I wondered if cover art could get any uglier. The 'Abacab' cover answers that with a resounding "Yes".

Report this review (#10432)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very good album indeed, and probably the most unfairly abused album in the entire progressive genre. I must admit that its greatness rests on these three songs: Dodo/Lurker, Me and Sarah Jane and Abacab, which are absolute timeless genius and do not need to be reviewed. Not to put the other songs down, though, they all have that unique creative spark that Genesis is so loved for. I am not at all put off by the stylistic changes, I think that it's normal for artists to change and grow. And that's what Genesis did on this album. They have changed and yet retained their unique sound and charm. Just listen to Like It Or Not - a ballad that's perhaps too mellow, yet it's so... Genesis. No Reply At All - another seemingly 'poppy' tune, yet all the brilliance of the Genesis sound is just shining through it like the sun through a thin cloud. You can change your clothes, but it's still you in them. The only weak moments are Man On The Corner, which is just too thin on the arrangement, and the pointless Another Record that just seems to go nowhere, but perhaps that's the very intent, if you read the lyrics... I don't care how many dollars Genesis put into their bank accounts from the album's sales. I care that it's ingenuous, eccentric, artistic and most importantly - enjoyable.
Report this review (#10433)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the point at wihich many fans cry "sell-out". The pop sound that Genesis would become known for in later years is very evident on this album. The problem with this album is how you view it. If you listen to it from a 'prog' angle then the album is probably only worth a one or two star review. However if you listen to it from a pop-rock angle then it is probably a 4 star album.

To be fair most of the songs are well crafted and are good songs (IMO). The album starts well with the bouncy abacab, which is a very catchy song and has some nice keyboard work from Tony banks. The second song "no reply at all" is pure pop music, phil would use this sound on later solo albums. If you like this style of song then you may find yourself singing along to it!. All of the songs on the album are of the same quality (except the awful "who dunnit?"). Keep it Dark is a stand-out track for me. It tells the story of a man who was abducted by aliens and taken to their planet. When he came back he was forced by government agents to tell a lie and cover the truth up. DODO also has some nice keyboard work on it. Standard of playing by all band members is good. As i said the main problem is how will you view this album!

Report this review (#10434)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Abacab is a good album for Genesis, their pop and prog sides are much better integrated together than they were on Duke. The problem with this album (I'm never satisfied am I?) is it's rigid, robotic rhythm section. It just doesn't allow the band to play freely. And the production, while a huge leap forward when compared to Duke, is a bit flat. Everything is more or less the same volume, so there's nothing coming into the foreground to really grab the listeners attention. A good example of this is the title song, the first half is a perfect stadium prog/pop (Phil Collins' delivery being spot on) but the instrumental second half is weighted down by the monotonous drone of the bass/drum pattern, and try as he may with some really cool synths, Tony Banks can't save this. There is no room for the instrumentation to expand or develop. The remainder of the tracks have a very similar beat.

The best songs are actually three 'pop' songs at the end, 'Man on the corner' a Phil Collins R&B song, 'Like it or not', which has a softer, lilting beat and a great chorus. But the best song has to be 'put another record on', which is more or less a straight ahead rocker, with an excellent sing-along chorus, but they add progressive touches to it and the drum work is really good, nice variety of rhythms. Overall, Ababcab is a strong Genesis album that only suffers from a dull, robotic rhythm and the production could be better, but otherwise I would give it four stars. Instead, it is worth 3.5.

UPDATE November 2013 Having heard some of the 'rejected' songs of these sessions, I think they would add GREATLY to this album. I think the original album is worth 3.75, but with the additon of 'Paperlate', 'Submarine' and 'You Might Recall', instead of, say 'Who dunnit', this could rise up to 4 and a half stars

Report this review (#10436)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars To play devil's advocate, I'd say that this was one of the more convincing attempts by a 1970s Progressive band to address the music, sounds and concerns of the 1980s.

While not as special or intense as the Gabriel, or immediate post-Gabriel-era albums, this is still a heartfelt, creative and genuinely Progressive album, with hints of the old band creeping through (the pomp of Dodo/Lurker, the long fade-out on the title track).

Keep It Dark, Man On The Corner and the musical content of Whodunnit?, show a band who are still expanding the range of their sound and subject matter and who are still actively listening to what's happening around them (especially Gabriel's magical third album).

In a year that produced genuinely Progressive masterpieces such as Japan's Tin Drum and Laurie Anderson's Big Science, Genesis show that they cared about what they did by not repeating their former glories and enthusiastically trying to evolve with the times.

Worth re-appraising.

Report this review (#10437)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll never understand why this album gets such a bad rap. If you want to follow the seeds of Genesis' free fall into pop music, the roots can be traced back to the dreadful lead vocal debut "More Fool Me", to "Your Own Special Way", to "Follow You Follow Me", through "Misunderstanding", leading to "No Reply At All". Abacab wasn't the first album to feature pop tunes, and there are actually some very good moments on this album. The title track is a great tune, and features some great prog moments. A lot of the rest of the album is a bit lighter sounding, but not much of this album would qualify as "pop music". Sure, "No Reply At All" is a blatant pop tune, but there really wasn't anything else like that here. So, no, it's not "Foxtrot", but so what? Overall, this is a great album, and has held up very well over time. I still love "Me and Sarah Jane", and "Keep It Dark", as well as "Dodo/Lurker". "Man on The Corner" is a bit "Collinsesque", but still a great tune. So stop being such "prog snobs", and take this album for what it was and IS, an excellent Genesis record.
Report this review (#10438)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think the last reviewed got it right. People miss the point of Abacab. It may not be pure prog, but it is almost entirely good. The pop songs are way better than others played on commercial radio. "No Reply At All" and "Man On The Corner" are good examples. The horn arrangements and intricate keyboard work on the former are simply brilliant. What about "Dodo/Lurker"? That's a signature Genesis song, like "Watcher Of The Skies". What about the innovative keyboard sounds in Abacab or the driving bass line in "Keep It Dark"? Can that be dismissed as mere pop? Not if you have ears.
Report this review (#10439)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If Genesis , were to continue producing the same sort of progressive rock music of the past they would have never made the 80s,so would that make everyone happy.The fact is Phil is Genesis ,without him they are nothing ,just another band .Like it or not this is the most popular and accessable recording Genesis have ever recorded,Abacab was a huge hit.Do album sales relate to great recordings,most don't this one does.This album is progressive rock music , in a pop music style format, though with some very well crafted songs that are very catchy,Dodo/Lurker is a very tough song ,and then you have ,Me And Sarah Jane great melody,and phils drumming in Abacab is sensational.This sounds very 80s , but does'nt sound at all dated,i have never known anyone to not like this recording.This is a great Genesis album even though its complety removed from there traditional style,in the end it maybe there best studio recording, is that to hard to handle or what.
Report this review (#10441)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Back in 1981 this album came as a shock to many fans of Genesis. Especially the trumpets seem to have done the trick. Nobody expected commercial sounds of this kind on a Genesis album. Abacab is a mixed bag with some material you should find on a Phil Collins album."No reply at all", "man on the corner" and "like it or not" are good pop songs with chart abilities but no Genesis lover was waiting for anything like that. Still there's some adventurous stuff which reminds of their glorious past. For me "Dodo" is the one to get for longtime fans since it is the best epic they wrote for years. Even if it's pompous the influences of pop and funk are present and do fit in their natural style and even enrich it. "Sarah Jane" is the other prog highlight, it seems like a leftover from Duke but nevertheless it is quite appealing. Quite surprising this romantic song penned by Tony Banks has a reggae interlude but it doesn't spoil the listening experience. The title track is another goody even if it sounds totally different from what the band had been doing before. It's obvious the writing process of Abacab started during a jam. Unlike the band of the seventies the rhythm section is most dominant. The keyboards and guitars have been simplified but sound great in their combination, there's even a jazzy atmosphere to it. Near the end the tension is building up and compared to the live version, this ends too soon as it lacks the climax it needs. Unfortunately there are other attempts to try something different which doesn't seem to work out fine. "Keep it dark" is very unlike Genesis but it has this attractive riff and some good vocals but does it have anything more ? "Who dunnit" must be the worse song the band has ever made. They must have been short of inspiration when they recorded this piece of crap. "Another record" is a tad better but not much. There's a promising intro but once you begin to appreciate the solid melody of its chorus the music already starts to fade out.

For me, this album is worthwhile cause of 3 wonderful tracks. Even tough it was a million selling album I wouldn't recommend it as a good Genesis album or even as a solid pop album. This album is one of most outdated sounding items in the Genesis back catalogue. No wonder this was the only album from their limited mini sleeve editions which was still available years after the others had been sold out. Ironic their biggest seller became their worst after two decades. I wonder if it would have sound different if the first Collins album hadn't end up in the charts a year earlier ; it's a shame that Genesis did become little more than the excellent backing band of Collins from 1981 till 1995.

Report this review (#10442)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some prog fans are just too lost in the glorious past - they cannot accept anything new. This album has plenty of new sounds for Genesis, but that does mean they are bad. In fact, much of the new stuff on this album is excellent - technically brilliant and innovative. Remember - in the early 70's many people hated progressive rock when it just came out - calling it a bunch of pompous, self indulgent crap. So let's remember that and be open- minded. Songs like Dodo/Lurker, Abacab, Me And Sarah Jane, Keep It Dark are all excellent in composition and arrangement, and have "Genesis" written all over them. The others are no less brilliant, particularly the keyboard/horns arrangement on No Reply At All. Whodunnit is just funny - what's wrong with a little humor?
Report this review (#10443)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Abacab" was the first Genesis album after the unexpected success of Phil Collins' solo career, so it's no suprise that this album blurs the line between Genesis and Collins' solo garbage.

A fan of all Genesis music until 1978, I was stunned when this album was released. The title track - although a new sound for Genesis - is great, and Dodo/Lurker a treat for fans of the classic sound. But as for the rest of the album, it's embarrassingly bad and I cannot fathom why anyone would listen to it voluntarily. No Reply At All sounds like Miami Vice- music with its ridiculous horn section, while Whodunnit - the all time worst Genesis 'song' - is brain-numbing electronic non-sense that would be very useful in torture chambers.

What's extra puzzling is that there are least a couple very good songs from the Abacab sessions - "You Might Recall" and "Naminanu" - that were inexplicably left off the album in favor of weaker material, apparently demonstrating how much Phil Collins' unexpected solo success clouded the band's judgement.

With the exception of the mixed bag "Invisible Touch", I wouldn't recommend ANY Genesis albums after 1978s "And Then There Were Three." And it's interesting to note that - if you look on Amazon sales ranks - 70s Genesis albums on average sell much better today than their 80s releases. You'll also note that used copies of the 80s releases can be picked up very cheaply - simply because they're of little value.

Report this review (#10444)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Even a superb band like Genesis has its weak moments. Fortunately most of them are concentrated on this crapp album that actually never should have been recorded at all. Although I may have missed the title song, which I like quite well, Dodo as well as Me and Sarah Jane, which is, I have to admit, an extremely smart and catchy song. But for the rest: forget it, it's too crapp to torture yourself.
Report this review (#10445)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Abacab is the first through-and-through pop album of Genesis. They experimented with pop on And Then They Were Three, you can feel this influence stronger on Duke ("Turn It On Again") and now it's all pop. If Genesis prepared to die with Duke, they died with that. But why 3 stars? Well, "Man On The Corner" is a pretty good Collins ballad. And I have to say I quite like "Like It Or Not", but there's one very crappy song. Compared to that one "Land Of Confusion" sounds like "Musical Box". It's "Who Dunnit". Even the lyrics are very bad. The music.... you think it's some kind of hip hop mixed with strange effects and disco sounds. But "Keep It Dark" has got strong lyrics again and, although it's not prog, it's one of the highlights on this Genesis pop album. "Dodo / Lurker" is the strongest piece. I also like the funk sequence of "Lurker", but even if it's progressive (or progressive pop), it doesn't even reach the ATTWT sound, nor the sound of Foxtrot.

Genesis are dead......dead as a DODO.....

the Sorcerer

Report this review (#10447)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I limit myself to three stars to not piss off the ones who are bitter about Genesis shifting to pop rock in the 80's;

If it were of me i would actually give four. It's not their best album but to those prog-rock- nostalgics i've got one thing to say: Has ANYONE... but ANYONE of you one starrers listened to the whole CD? "Me and Sarah Jane" fits on the old stuff bigtime. No pop in that... all prog. Shows that they always kept a little in touch with their roots.

"Another Record" also goes a little into the old prog rock sound of Genesis... with a foot and a half into pop. Don't hate it.

With Duke being my favorite album, the song "Luker" sort of brings me back into "Behind the Lines" and "Duke's Travels"... I love it.

Plus, "Who Dunnit?" makes me piss my pants. I constantly imagine the whole band going "Who dunnit?!! who wrote this piece of trash?! Oh well... Nevermind... ready guys? 1, 2, 3, 4... "

Report this review (#39033)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I dislike reading those closeminded comments about "this is not prog" and "it sucks" stuff. It's just ridiculous. Abacab is not prog. It was never meant to be prog, by the way, but it's experimental, fresh and new. Looks like our "prog" friends are enemies of those words - they all want to hear the same old songs over and over again. Here's what I think: making another Selling England on 1981 would have been SO innovative... just like those neo-prog bands. Sure, they added so much more to music...

Back to Abacab. The title track is fantastic, featuring its meaningless and abstract lyrics and a solid rhythm section, plus the jam at the end. Say what you want about it being "cold" and "without magic" and "boring", it's all subjective. I think it's great and nothing's going to change my mind about it.

No Reply At All. I like this song. A lot. OH NOSSS!!! HE LIEKS A PHIL COLLINS POP (in bold) NUBMERRS!!11. Damn, guys, enjoy the song for what it is. By the way, Phil Collins didn't force anything in the band, they all agreed to put some songs on record and THIS WAS ONE OF THEM.

Now onto the (arguably) best song on the album. Me and Sarah Jane begins quietly with a drum machine and some piano notes, Phil's voice singing softer. Then, the thing gets louder and we have some cool grooves with a nice keyboard solo (if you can call it that). After that, we have the reggae-influenced (I think) chorus, with its ever nonsensical lyrics (courtesy of Mr. Tony Banks). Onto the next verse, nice and short, and finally, the anthemic ending. It's just too good.

Oh, keep it dark! Mr. Rutherford wasn't/isn't a great guitarist, imho (his strength was bass playing and arguably the 12 strings guitar). On this track he provides the "rhythm" (?) section with some quirky riff repeated ad infinitum. The chorus and the catchphrase are great. I still have the sound of the "machines" (?) during the "keep it dark" part. Cool song, though a bit different of the rest of Genesis' catalogue (as the rest of the album).

The epic, Dodo/Lurker, delivers. A tour-de-force with grooves (thanks, Phil, you shine on this track), amazing keyboards and... guess what - nonsensical lyrics again!! I love this song and it reminds me of Squonk (BLASPHEMY!!! OH NOS!!!!111) because of the first lines and how it's sung and even the rhythm. Then it goes to strange pseudo-rap territory in "Lurker", with a very odd keyboard melody (I kinda like it, but it's not one of my favourites) and once again, lyrics with almost no meaning at all. It's a goddamned riddle!

We have finally arrived to the most hated Genesis track ever (at least from what I've heard), and I have to say - I really like it. Whodunnit has horribly bad lyrics repeated ad nauseum, basic musicianship and bizarre performances. But I still like it. Why? Because it's stupid, it was meant to be like that. It's just some guys having some fun, noodling around with their instruments and having this finished in an hour! Ok, you don't have to like it. It's fine.

The three last tracks are somewhat uneven and monotonous, so I'm not going to waste the space here describing them. Another Record, by the way, started in a very good way only to become a soulless, boring and one of my least favourites tracks ever. Quite possibly the worst Genesis closer ever.

So, all in all... my veredict:

As an album - 3/5. As a prog album - 0/5

Report this review (#40325)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Thulëatan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars For reasons lost in the hazy passage of time and money, Genesis finally simplified their art into straightforward, banal pop rock on 'Abacab', taking the weaker moments from 'Duke' and creating almost an entire album of the same poor vision. Evolution itself is not the issue - the band, of course, had always advanced their sound with each successive release, but with this record the sense of the worldly, the adventurous and the contemplative - what made them special - was lost, never to truly return. Only Banks is (somehow) still able to sound on form, but even his synth mastery and new strident playing could not lift the material here. The sound of what Genesis used to stand for can be heard fleetingly in the track 'Me And Sarah-Jane', with its ambient opening and range of firm melodies, the latter half of 'Abacab' and at certain points in 'Dodo'. Unfortunately, while instrumentally interesting, at times quite affecting and hypnotic, the lyrics of those latter two pieces sound like mere wordplay of the most insignificant kind, and in the end seem to be at odds with the music and express nothing.

At this point the band were writing mostly from group improvisations, born I fear from little more than an aim of 'getting a new record out', and so they ended up with many jams which probably felt good but are unfortunately dull, and no indication of what these three world-class talents were capable of. In tandem, the free-style of the previously mentioned lyrics does not manage to attain the level of poetry in the way that Yes' or Crimson's Adrian Belew's would, resulting instead in random lines that do not stand up to even a passing scan. The other pieces on the album have more palatable words but their impact barely registers, and would pass easily as either Phil Collins radio formula-pop ('No Reply at All', 'Man On The Corner') or ridiculous experiments ('Who Dunnit?' - a contender for the worst track the band ever produced). I hail Genesis as one of the most important music acts of all time, but as much as 'Abacab' may still be an above-average album in some respects, I could never honestly recommend it as an album worth the time and effort of those looking for something significant. And it was only going to get worse...

Report this review (#43406)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Sorry but this surely one of the most rubbish crap ever registered on this site. Genesis is completely dead with this album. Poor songs, very poor guitars (Rutherford is no Hackett), even poor bass section (Rutherford is also not a great bass player), sythesizers suck a lot with cheesy effects, drums are maybe the best on the album but are quite poor nevertheless and finally the production is one of the worst ever and sounds very old. This album is a shame compared to what Genesis was previously able to do. I even regret the 3? I paid for it. 0,5 star that's all it deserves even for a pop album.
Report this review (#43412)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Disastrous downfall!

OK, this is where the disaster begins. If I say that a song "No Reply At All", which features the brass of EARTH, WIND AND FIRE and is a funky soul/pop hit, is actually one of the better moments of this album I think it says everything. "Abacab" is a pathetic crap (sorry for language) loaded with tons of synthetic sounds and lousy songs that only a techno freak or a GENESIS fanatic would like to have. Alright, I admit the title song is not too bad, it is even danceable, but what are we talking about? - if I am in a mood for nice synth pop staff of the era, I always choose ULTRAVOX or HUMAN LEAGUE or SOFT CELL for that matter. Avoid at all costs!

Report this review (#43912)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can't understand so much negative noise about it! 1) as for me, i'm also a 'prog-encyclopedia', etc; and i like gabriel's period more than collins's one. And i like all the progressive arena of the 70-s (incl. Classical names, all these close to edges', canterbury, rio, free-jazz, and so on, and so on) much more than the 80-s - with their punk/new wave phase, etc.

But speaking about 'abacab" release - what's wrong with it? Very fresh sound, tasty material (to be compared to 'duke', for instance) - and nothing in common with all the rest groups of the time. Forget about gabriel, forget about 20-min epics by 'yes-crimson-vdgg- zappa..." - it's 1981!!! And it's really interesting, crazy and fresh!!! And no cliches here!

I put 5 stars:)

Report this review (#45897)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars OK, this is probably not as bad as lots of people say, but it's definitely a come-down after the masterful DUKE. The title song has you thinking this can possibly be DUKE II, and "Keep It Dark", "Me And Sarah Jane" and "Dodo/Lurker" do little to make one refute such a conception. Not even the 100% pop-minded "No Reply At All" can really dissuade you.

The problem is, as others have put it succinctly, the line between Collins' solo career and his work with Genesis began to become blurred here. Best example: "Man On The Corner", which sounds for all the world like an outtake from "Face Value". The less said about the rest of the album (particularly the mortifyingly awful "Who Dunnit?") the better, for the sake of my sanity anyway.

Report this review (#46282)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars If it was not for the third song me and sarah jane, I could easily forget this album. What was Genesis thinking? Where is their magic-- even in pop form? Off course Sarah Jane itself kept this album available to my ears.
Report this review (#47407)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
www.sheer-hea
4 stars I don't see why everyone hates this album. Sure, it's different than early Genesis, but it's not worse. "Abacab" and "Dodo/Lurker" are two of Genesis' greatest songs, and I couldn't find a single bad song on this album if I tried. Collin's voice is much better than the falsettos in Nursery Cryme and the lyrics are much more interesting than when halfway through "The Musical Box" they break into a chorus of Old King Cole (many octaves too high). Maybe it's just because I heard this album before their early days, but I find Abacab to be Genesis' best album, though it is short of masterpiece status.
Report this review (#50974)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
emperornorton
2 stars Different, but not necessarily good.

They were trying new things here I'm guessing as a result of their hit singles on their last albums. There's still some good prog here. Dodo-Lurker being their best post Duke song (with the exception of mabye Domino). It's a darker song, like most of Genesis's songs. Me and Sara Jane is also rather good.

Everything else ranges from average to awful I'm afraid. But they seemed to still have energy at this point, and at least were still a Rock band. That would change on the next album, where they clearly started to be labeled as a pop band who dabbled in prog and not vice versa. This album is a bit half and half, with some experiments that they would never try again. For example, horns are brought in on No Reply at All, sounding very much like some of Phil's solo work. And Who Dunnit is a strange song to say the least.

There is also a fair share of sappy love ballads that remain quite skippable. And the title track sounds a bit like they were trying to write another Turn It On Again with more keyboard noodling. It doesn't amount to much unfortunately, but was a minor hit.

This is pretty much the turning point album. They alienated much of their original fanbase here. Prog Genesis was pretty much over at this point. Although they would still dabble in prog occasionally after this album, this is probably the last where you could possibly say they were still a "prog" band, and that's stretching it.

Report this review (#54187)
Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I first heard the single Abacab back in 1981 I thought hey thats not bad, quite catchy interesting sound. On the back of that I bought the cassette ( those were the days!). The band were obviously trying to get away from their prog dinosaur image and reinvent themserlves for the 80's with the help of Earth Wind and Fire, a popular band of the time.

Unfortunately the result was a misfire by the high standards of the band. After the bright start with the title track No reply at all sounds like Phil was limbering up for his solo career with his backing band. Even the usually reliable Tony Banks produced one of his less interesting efforts in Me and Sarah Jane. Keep it dark is well named as it is completely forgettable. After feeling short changed by side one side 2 does pick up somewhat with the excellent Dodo/Lurker, the best track on the album. Unfortunately the effect is immediately dashed by Who dunnit? which is probably the most irritating track ever made by the band. After that Phil's poppy Man on the Corner actually comes as something of a relief. Like it or not rolls past inoffensively and the insipid final track Another record says it all about this effort - with a couple of exceptions mostly uninspired and only for completionists or fans of 80's Genesis.

Report this review (#59314)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good album.

The title track alone is worth the price of a CD. The remastered CD version really makes it sound good. I can't understand all those people who think progrock means over long songs and overblown stage shows with grown men wearing flowers. Nothing against the Gabriel stuff, but this album has some really interesting and progressive stuff on it (well Who Dunnit maybe not...).

Good songs: Abacab; No reply at all; Me and Sarah Jane; Keep it dark; Dodo.

Not so good songs: Who dunnit? Another record.

The rest is listenable but nothing special. Abacab is one of the best albums of the Collins era, and this band should come back. There must be a million genesis fans still alive and hoping to hear these songs again. And maybe an album of new ones!...nah.

Report this review (#71269)
Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Just when I thought they had made permanent amends for the tepid "And then there were Three" album with the incredible "Duke" they trotted out this spotted pony. In all fairness it is still light years better than the crud that was to follow but it was still a case of one step forward and three steps back. It starts out optimistically with the infectious jam of "Abacab" and the adventurous horn experimentation of "No Reply at All" but then slips into mediocrity with the ponderous "Me and Sarah Jane" that spends six minutes going nowhere.

A pulse returns with the progressive spirit of "Keep it Dark" and the colossal "Dodo/Lurker" that represent the best moments of the album. With the exception of the mildly interesting "Man on the Corner" the rest of this collection of tunes is wholly forgettable and is an ominous omen of the pseudo-commercial morass that was to come on future releases. This, along with the enthusiastic "Three Sides Live" marked the final semblances of progressive rock for these talented musician/songwriters. From here they turned their attention to the glittering carnival ride that was MTV and, sadly, they were seduced by its false and hollow promises. Phil, Tony and Mike became the pitiful carpet crawlers they had written about years before and we all suffered for it.

"Abacab" is better than most of their 80s output but not by much. Let's just say things got worse. 2.5 stars.

Report this review (#79100)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars A frustrating release.

What else was on the radio in the US when ABACAB hit the airwaves? Loverboy? REO Speedwagon? Lionel Ritchie? Rick Springfield? Journey? It was a dismal period. Yes was apparently gone. Zeppelin was done. ELP had imploded. About the only competitors that Banks, Collins and Rutherford had worthy of any respect were The Police or perhaps Dire Straits.

The opening single note bass synth part of the title song came blasting over FM stations like a computerized piledriver, sounding modern and soul-less, but at least our heroes were on the air, and women were finally discovering the group.

We knew that Phil liked working with the EWF horn section, but was that right for Genesis? It must have been, because Tony Banks is known to be fairly strong-willed. I'm sure that very little got onto this release (or any other trio-era album) that didn't have his blessing.

Nonetheless, back in our own listening chambers, the Abacab release seemed only half full. The dramatic and dynamic excursions we were used to weren't there anymore. "Abacab" rocked efficiently, but "No Reply At All" seemed like overly busy top-40 twaddle, and who knows what "Who Dunnit" and "Keep it Dark" were trying to accomplish. The warmth, majesty, richness, and depth of arrangements that had set these guys apart from their peers had disappeared completely. I don't believe there is a single acoustic guitar or piano anywhere on here.

"Me and Sarah Jane" teased at some old school atmospheres and complex melodicism, and while "Dodo/Lurker" seems to be cited by many as a high point, the track continues to strike me as a clunky, cheap and dirty rewrite of the more organic, but no less powerful, "Squonk" from 1976.

Sure, I know the band had to keep up with the times, and it was nice to see them have some success, but I find I can't sit through this one anymore. It was good pop music in its day. Progressive? Perhaps from a marketing standpoint, or the fact that they had not ventured down Abacab's relatively one-dimensional road before. It's just not progressive rock, unless you're comparing it to Juice Newton.

Report this review (#80133)
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, this is one is one of those famous records that caused many of the rage lots of prog fans suffered in the early 80s. Seeing how terrible and negative have the reviews of this record been and given the taste I have developed to Genesis music recently, I had to take a listen to this one. And I have to admit that, as many transitional albums (this album still is one), it is quite difficult to make a precise review without falling into snobbism. So, at least I'll try.

As I constantly repeat, I am a fan of new wave, and proud of it, and that doesn't avoid me to appreciate the pure talent and musicianship of progressive records from the 70s. So, the problem of this album is not the change of direction (which started to be neccesary after all, they had been over a decade in the business), previously announced in ATTWT and Duke. The main problem I find in this album is that it quite ackward and stylistically chaotic, giving strange and unsuspected changes of quality between songs and even inside a particular song. So, we can find pieces of remarkably good sound, in songs like "Another record","Like it or not" or "Dodo/lurker"(although the keyboard section at the end is terrible), having good piano arrangements and good atmospheres in some of them. But, ununderstandably, moments like these are interleaved with really embarrasing passages which are not expected of musicians of this kind. "No reply at all" is one the songs that I guess made early Genesis fans furious because of its insulting simplicity (it is too obvious even for a 80s pop song. Come on, even younger new wave stars could do it better). Songs like "Abacab" or "Keep it dark" move cleanly in the land of mediocrity, not being exactly awful songs (well, at least not when you listen some times to them) but they are placed in a quite low scale. But the most stunning and breathtaking surprise that came to me (and I guess to many people by that time) is "Who Dunnit?". As I mentioned before, this record (as well as probably every single one from here onwards) moves constantly from the good side to the bad side (like a drunk folk). But this "song?" is probably one of the biggest disasters these three men even dared to perform, and I fail to find any excuse to the inclusion of this piece in any possible album of any possibly called serious band. It is a pity, because I don't think this album was as extremely bad as many people have claimed here.

So, this record is not probably the most fortunate of the Genesis catalogue, although I would like to insist in the fact that, keeping "Who dunnit?" apart, this record doesn't deserve so harsh reviews

Report this review (#83631)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've just put my hand on that CD at my local library. It has been almost 20 years since the last time i've heard that album and i must say that except for the very impressive production, better that i remembered it, i don't like the album. Musically the only good track here is the title one, "Abacab", but the live version on the "Invisible Touch Tour" DVD is way better, for the rest of the album there is a lack of quality IMO.

2 Stars and a half. For those who think that everything that has the name Genesis is good.

Report this review (#83768)
Posted Friday, July 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ah, Genesis. I like the title track, "Dodo/Lurker", "Man on the Corner" and "Another Record". Otherwise, it's.... kind of dull. "Who Dunnit?"; are you kidding me? Having Mike Rutherford make up some little song for you to go "I din't do it--I didn't--I didn't do it I-- Didn't do it--I didn't do it--" is stupid and the definition of filler. And what is "Me and Sara Jane"? Ugh. Half of this album is classic Genesis, and the rest is.... retch-worthy nonsense. C'mon, Mike, Phil, and Tony. Knock this junk off, would you?
Report this review (#84228)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Let's face it, Anything had to be better than "Duke". Would Collins and Co actually listen to the Critics or simply note the increasing sales. Abacab proved the latter to be the case. With Duke outselling their previous recordings it must have become clear that the effort involved in producing true works of musical art ( Wind and Wuthering, Trick of the tale etc) was unneccessary. Actually Abacab isnt quite as dire as Duke - Me and Sarah Jane is a nice track ( a Banks composition of course ) and Keep it dark showed an interesting direction that they could have taken had they bothered. The rest is simply awful.
Report this review (#84751)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After Duke Genesis were becoming increasingly popular in the pop rock circles and this album solidified their stance in that genre of music. Abacab is often regarded along with Invisible Touch and the self-titled album as the worst Genesis album by the narrow-minded progressive rock fans, but that's solely because they weren't trying to relive the past and were moving forward rather than backward. Anyway, the first thing that should be said about this album is there is nothing terribly progressive about the album, sure they get close with the opener and Dodo/Lurker, but nothing really has that epic feel that even songs on Duke had. And when it comes right down to it, the album has no songs (except maybe one or two) that make you get a tear in your eye just for the sheer brilliance of it, it feels more like a by the numbers album that had little to no inspiration behind it despite a few very good pieces.

From the get go you can hear a more overtly commercial approach, with soft synthesizers and a droning main rhythm. The synthesizers do sound a bit dated and even a bit cheap at times but on the whole the 7 minute open Abacab opens off the album pretty well, as it is one of the better pieces on it. No Reply at All is one of the only pieces that I could have done without as it's so dire and very un-Genesis. With uninspired horn sections and rather simplistic arrangements this definitely is my least favorite piece on the album and it doesn't really offer anything interesting to the table. Me and Sarah Jane has some nice keyboard lines intertwined with a solid bass performance from Rutherford and some precision drumming from Collins, but it does go on a bit longer than it should have (just a tad over 6 minutes). Keep it Dark is another piece that I liked, with it's nice gutiar motif and some interesting synthesizer fills. Dodo/Lurker in a way can be considered along with the title track the most progressive song on the album, although in the end it isn't really that progressive. The forbidding synthesizer riffs and the precision instrumentation from all fronts of the sound is quite nice and there's even a Star Wars reference in there. One of the better songs in my opinion along with Keep it Dark and Abacab.

Who Dunnit?, well what can be said about this song? Well, I don't think it's nearly as bad as everyone says, but it isn't really that strong a track. The terribly simplistic lyrics and vocals mold fine with the simplistic drumming and musicianship but it's got a cheesy and tacky feel to go along with it. Man on the Corner, though, is a vast improvement over the previous song. Some don't like the song because of Banks' synthesizer sound but I love the heartfelt and passionate vocals from Collins and the morose feel of the song. It's actually one of my favorite Genesis songs from the 80s it's that strong a piece in my eyes. Like It or Not has a dated feel and is probably the most AORish song on the album. It isn't terribly awful, but nothing particularly special. The album ends the piece Another Record, and from the opening seconds you think there's going to be something special because of the great guitar line and some subtle what I think to be mellotron. After about a minute, though, the song loses its mysterious flare and becomes a more upbeat piece that has nothing to do with the introduction. It ends the album well but like most of the other pieces it's nothing that I would call spectacular.

In the end, Abacab would ultimately be my least favorite Genesis album thus far (I haven't really formulated an opinion on any of their studio albums that came out after this). Fans of old Genesis will want to steer clear of this album entirely as there is absolutely no connection with that sound that the group solidified around 10 years earlier. If you're a fan of the early albums with Collins as a vocalist you may like this album, but I won't make any guarantees. It's not a terribly bad album, it's just not terribly good, though. 2.5/5.

Report this review (#87284)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cristi
COLLABORATOR
Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
2 stars Abacab is the most controversial Genesis album, being the "big sell-out". Genesis gave up their progressiveness and started making pop-rock music. Very little progressiveness on Abacab. After the success of Duke (the last Genesis great album IMHO) and Phil Collins's debut pop album, everything changed and not for the better. "Signs" of more accessible music had been made before (Follow You, Follow Me, Your Own Special Way, Misunderstanding, Please Don't Ask Me) but "the betrayal" was committed with Abacab. Phil Collins started to be more cofident in his abilities to write songs (pop mostly) and to sing (not for the better either). It is a very good pop-rock album but it's nothing much for the prog-rock fan. Let's have a look:

Abacab: a good opener and a prog-influenced song, one of the better ones. No Reply At All: I cannot tolerate this these days, it sounds like a Phil Collins solo song rather than a Genesis song.

Me and Sarah Jane: another proggy track, one of the best song of the album.

Keep It Dark: a simple and straightforward song, quite good and enjoyable IMHO.

Who Dunnit: an insult to any listener not to mention the Genesis fan; I can't understand what were they thinking putting this "so called song" on the album. I cannot understand why a song like Submarine did not make the album being a B-side to one of the singles on the album. Dodo/Lurker: the most progressive and interesting song of the album IMHO, sign of old Genesis can be heard here; Man on the Corner: an enjoyable ballad.

Like It or Not: I like Rutherford's guitar riff on this one; another straightforward song, not simple but not complex either, pretty enjoyable and catchy.

Another Record: the intro is really fine but then it turns into a pop song, not bad at all (as some say).

Prog purists and old Genesis fans should stay away from this one. The progressiveness is pretty much gone. Three really good songs, so 2 stars this time.

Report this review (#87701)
Posted Saturday, August 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Team
2 stars I was looking forward to the release of this album, and had reserved a copy in advance. At first, I hailed it as another great Genesis album. Not on the level of their previous efforts, but still darn good. I guess it was my youthful fanboyism. Soon, a couple of the tracks started to wear thin. It was still better than the pop garbage spewing out of the radio at the time (There were no stations in my area playing any of the better '80s music). The concert was very good, but they did play a lot of their classics.

With the passage of time, this one was played less and less. There was a point where it was almost forgotten. A couple of years ago, a friend played it for me. He found out I was into Genesis, and proudly picked it out of his collection. It was nice to hear again, but the thrill was gone.

By pop standards, it's pretty good. Don't forget that these are some talented guys. However, this is prog land. I have to put it up against earlier Genesis, and other prominent artists here. With that peer group, it doesn't stand up. For some pleasant, well-done, proggy pop, there are some very enjoyable moments. With this rating system, I can't give it more than two stars.

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#88976)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars What do you mean pop? Do you think that pop is those sexy girls that make annoying music that have nothing new and are really repetitive? (Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and those bad things). No it is not. I don't see that kind of pop here. It is really a pop album, a great one. (Eric Clapton is pop too, and makes a really good pop music mixed with rock)

When you play this album, you listen to Tony Banks keyboards and it remembers a bit from their prog time. Phil Collins voice is very well singed. And the bass is very well listenable.

Abacab is a long song, that has a feel of their proggy times, No Reply at All has a not common jazzy sound, Me and Sarah Jane is one of the best songs of this album. Listen and say by yourself.

This is NOT, absolutely NOT ordinary pop. It's music. I don't care if it is pop or not, for me there are two kinds of music, the one I like and the one I don't like. I prefer some 4 stars

Report this review (#92016)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Genesis had manged to hold on for one album after Steve Hackett left. ...And Then There Were Three was a good album, but Duke showed trouble on the horizon. Then Abacab came out and it was pronounced that the king of prog was dead. The positive sales of the last two poppier albums prompted a change in musical direction. The Collins-led trio all but abandoned their prog roots and sold out. Now this album isn't as atrocious as Invisible Touch or We Can't Dance, and it's even a bit better than Duke. The title track retains a portion of their prog flavors and there is some jazz on it and No Reply at All. The rest of the album, however, is filled with short, meaningless songs.

Fans of Genesis should really stop with Wind and Wuthering or maybe ...And Then There Were Three. Only die-hards should collect this, since this is mediocre at best, and it only gets worse form here.

Report this review (#102994)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Really the last good album, even with all the new-wave textures, most of what's here is very good music.

The title track and "Dodo/Lurker" are definitely prog, but not at all the variety that Genesis fans are used to hearing. The closest we come to that are "Me and Sarah Jane" and "Like It Or Not", both excellent songs. "No Reply at All" and "Man on the Corner" could easily be confused with Collins' solo work, but as far as poppier tracks go their not half bad (you can shoot me later). The rest of the record feels like filler to me.

BE WARNED, this is WORLDS better than the rest of Genesis' 80's output, but fans of their 70's work should stick with Foxtrot, Selling England, or maybe Lamb Lies Down.

Report this review (#103000)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris H
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I think this album might have put Gabriel and Hackett on suicide watch. This being the first Genesis album I purchased, I was turned off of them until I read the rave reviews of their early work, even then I was timid about buying a Genesis album. After the first trip through "Abacab" I thought all it needed was a second chance, but by the fourth time I figured burning money would have been smarter than buying this CD.

"Abacab" kicks off the album, and it has some pretty decent chord progression, but it only lasts about a minute until it becomes the Phil Collins be-stupid-and-bang-a-drum-for-six- more-minutes show. "No Reply At All" was probably the track that kept this album from being thrown through my window. It gets a tad repetitive and the horns are cheesy, but hey, they were just rolling with the times. "Me And Sarah Jane" and "Keep It Dark" are two boring forgettable type tracks. Don't even bother with them, unless you are trying to invent a new sleeping pill. "Dodo/Lurker" changes the pace for a minute here, as it starts off with and excellent beat and some incredible drumming. However, a lack of meat in the middle and over-the-top cheesy lyrics ultimately kill the mood of happiness. "Who Dunnit?" is just a track that gives you a migrain and makes you want to go deaf. It's bad. The lyrics are completely non-sensical and utterly absurd, not to mention repetitive. The last three tracks are just some more forgettable commercially adapted tracks that turn you completely off.

Peter Gabriel, your band has officially sold out sir. This album was made to be commercially successful, and Genesis lost most of their fanbase because they changed their styles from getting-worse to utterly unlistenable. DO NOT BUY!

Report this review (#103549)
Posted Monday, December 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Abacab' signifies a huge change of direction for Genesis, evident with the previous album 'Duke'. Following on the coat-tails of Phil's first solo outing, a rather huge success, the band realised they could compose and play relatively stream-lined tunes and make 'big bucks' - not that the band actually quite hit the motherlode as yet.

This album has a rather 'pedestrian' feel to it, a couple of longer tracks which aren't really 'prog' ('Abacab' and 'Dodo/Lurker') - actually, Genesis knew how to compose lengthy pop-songs, but methinks they were only paying 'lip-service' to their prog heritage, keeping only the die-hard fans pleased and prog-lovers frustrated. And Phil, bringing in the Earth,Wind and Fire horn section for the song 'No Reply at All', which only boasts a nifty bass-line from Rutherford, is quite a sad blow. 'Me and Sara Jane' is an interesting track, full of changes, it kind of sounds awkward hearing this after the previous track. 'Keep It Dark' is a basic pop-song, but the chorus section's keyboard work is pure Tony Banks (naturally), both in progression, and in phrasing.

'Who Dunnit?' may be a quirky experiment by pop standards, but I fail to see what it's getting at, a definate low-point, and a rather lame composition coming from those who helped to create such magnificent tracks like 'Supper's Ready' and 'Firth of Fifth'. 'Man on the Corner' sounds like an out-take from Phil's solo album, but is quite a pleasant tune to hear regardless. 'Like it or Not' is barely listenable thanks to its blandness, and the closing track 'Another Record', save for a lovely intro which holds promise, is pretty droll. With the two epic pop tunes ; 'Abacab' is a 'four-on-the-floor' danceable tune with a strong keyboard prescence, and the second half of the track is instrumental with some mediocre keyboard work and a brief bit of lead guitar - it's not all bad, though. With the opening bars of 'Dodo', we can all prick up our ears and get excited for a few moments, but the feeling diminishes somewhat with the vocal section, then the opening motif is repeated and we can all get excited again, and then 'Lurker' appears in all its goofiness, with some quirky keyboards and Phil's humourous vocals.

Overall, an un-even album, with very little there for prog-heads to indulge in, but I know of people who really go for 'Abacab' and dislike 'A Trick of the Tail' !!! 2 stars.

Report this review (#104873)
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This is IMO the worst Genesis album of all times (including "From Genesis to Revelation"). With the exception of the title track, "Abacab" there is really nothing interesting here. I only give my comments about this album in my effort to cover all the Genesis production. But I suffered a lot in doing so. Like I suffered with "Big generator", "Union" and "Talk" from Yes. At least Genesis will only produce one crappy album ! Being an early fan (since 1974), it is really a pity to hear such a production. How is it possible to go that low ? I have no clue. But apparently, millions of people do think differently since this album sold like hell (Nr. one in the UK - the second in a row and Nr. seven in the US), and from then on the "Genesis Machine" was able to fill stadiums during their tours while before only small concert halls were taken into consideration with the remarkable exception of Belgium where they filled Forest National (7,000 people) as early as 1974 for the "Selling" tour. I really cannot give more than one star for this. Sorry guys.
Report this review (#104965)
Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eclipse
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the first album of a new era on GENESIS' music. Here, we have more pop tunes than ever, combined with some slightly inferior prog experiments but also some very catchy moments.

The title track opens showing all what the new decade had to offer. Very differently sounding than previous works by the band, it features a more alienated drum playing and some colder sounding keyboards, a true 80's atmosphere. But one can't refuse the fact that this song is extremely catchy. It also has a long instrumental ending, which, while being cold as i mentioned above, it is quite hypnotizing, something rarely found on pop music. The next one, "No Reply At All", is definetely weaker, and has that pure and quite mediocre poppy feel that would scare anyone who's into and only into progressive music. But i do admit i enjoy it, and remember nowadays with humour of how much i disliked this track when i first listened to it. Thanks now i have a more open mind to appreciate this one. "Me And Sarah Jane" is a short prog number which has some different sections, and really neat arrangements. This song doesn't look like it is from its decade, it has a good 70's epic feel. Phil's vocals can get a bit annoying in some parts, though, but that doesn't spoil this GENESIS' classic. I especially enjoy Banks' work here, the guy is definetely a genius! Well, then we go to the infamous "Keep It Dark". This is a very weird experiment by the band, and i can understand why many people bash it, but it is like no other thing done by GENESIS, so its originality gives it some credit. It has some nice vocal work and an alienating background electronic section, very 80's-ish. The two-part number that follows is divided on "Dodo" and "Lurker", making the album's highest point, with this amazing epic. "Dodo" has some fun lyrics and a dramatic intro, and "Lurker" segues with interesting experiments like using keyboards to imitate a bird's (?) speaking. This is the album's true climax! "Who Dunnit?" is considered by many GENESIS' worst track, and i can truly understand why. But i prefer to think of it as an interesting experiment, and while not so succesful as "Keep It Dark", it has some catchy vocal work, not being so bad as many people make it to be. From now on we have three tunes which are good, but nothing that special. "Man On The Corner" and "Like It Or Not" are quite moving, the former has a touching theme, and the latter has a really beautiful intro. The ending song, "Another Record", is a beautiful and atmospheric ballad, with a long intro.

Well, while this is obviously not classic GENESIS, but it is still far better than a lot of stuff that came in that decade, so we can't just judge it because of the cold 80's production and the fact that it is mainly a pop album. I think the guys did a good job playing pop music, but of course the highlights are the prog moments, like the title track, and the third and fifth ones. Listen to it with an open mind...

Report this review (#105629)
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I bought this recording in the early eighties on cassette and it either got lost or wrecked I don't know, but I purchased it again on cd a couple of years ago. My memory of it from the eighties was only that it was pretty good (boy was I wrong) and "Abacab" was the only song I could remember as I looked at the song titles. It had been 20 years after all.

As I started to listen to it "Abacab" still sounded quite good, and as I would soon find out it is the only track that does. As soon as I started to hear "No Reply At All" I remembered it, but the horn section completely ruined it for me. Well it was straight down a steep hill from there, although "Man On The Corner" isn't bad. I was actually embarrassed at what GENESIS had become, these talented musicians being reduced to a pop band. Now I know why old GENESIS fans from the seventies were devastated as they listened to this album when it came out. How the mighty had fallen.

Collectors only.The rest of you run like hell !

Report this review (#106693)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Genesis' fans tend to divide the band's discography in four periods: one, the Gabriel-era, going from the first album up to THE LAMB(...); then the second era, the "Gabriel-less era with Hackett", which would only include two albums: A TRICK OF THE TAIL and WIND AND WUTHERING; then a brief third era comes next, the "No Gabriel, No Hackett, but still prog" era, including AND THEN THERE WERE THREE and DUKE; finally, the Pop-era, starting on ABACAB and going all the way down to CALLING INTO STATIONS. Now, this last era could also be known as the "crap era", because of the dislike and contempt most Genesis' fans have for it. As I said, ABACAB was the record that arguably started this era. So what do I think of this polemical, generally ignored -by the prog community, not by the mainstream music world- album?

I think the album has an uglier fame that it deserves. The truth is, it's not a GREAT album, not even a VERY GOOD one. One can even say it's not even GOOD. But that's if we only hear it from a hardcore-prog point of view. Yes, the music is not too "proggish", BUT... it's not really BAD music, it's just not as complex or interesting as previous releases by Genesis, but is not an atrocious effort by any means. I know that if wer are reviewing an album in a PROG-WEBSITE, our perspective should be always related to the prog-music genre (whatever that includes); but I have to give my opinion first from a purely PERSONAL point of view, and even if weak at times (VERY weak actually), ABACAB ultimately works for me, at least to some degree and in certain songs.

Almost completely gone are the complex structures, the soaring solos, the odd time signatures from Genesis' music on this album. But the thing is, those started to fade away as early as on AND THEN..., so it was just logical for the band's sound to develop into this simpler, more radio-friendly style. The main difference lies on the SONGWRITING: even though those "prog-elements" were reduced in ATTWT and DUKE, the song-writing was still top-notch and we got a lot of compelling songs, great choruses, tension-release structures, and most of all, beautiful melodies; in ABACAB we are less lucky: most songs are just A-B-A-B-C-A-B (curiously, that structure-map resembles the album's name), and the melodic work is just miles away from the quality of earlier works. But we still have a couple of almost-shining moments, and more than a couple of musical bits that still sound like the monumental band Genesis used to be.

Abacab (7.5/10), an entertaining, enjoyable yet not brilliant song. I don't like the chorus that much, but it works for the song as a whole. The keyboard work is really nothing to write home about, just like the guitar work. The bridge is actually somewhat noisy (for Genesis I mean), but even with these minor complains, "Abacab" ends up being a good ride. The final part is my favorite, with the synth going over the main rhythm.

No Reply At All (7/10), some fans may kill me if they read this, but I actually kind of like this little poppy tune. I think the brass sounds a little bit cheesy, the keyboard lines are somewhat annoying... but then, they are NOT. All the elements in the song kinda... WORK. Yes, from a purely prog perspective, the track is poor, but if you want melodic, good music for listening when you are driving or doing some other activity which doesn't require a great level of concentration in the sounds, this one does the job.

Me And Sarah Jane (6.5/10), this one sounds like a lesser track from Duke; that means, it TRIES to sound proggier, but ultimately it FAILS. It kind of gets boring halfway down, and I don't know if it's just me, but Phil's voice sounds a little bit weird in this song. Forgettable, but not rejectable.

Keep It Dark (6/10), the same riff over and over again against a forward-moving bass line makes this song too repetitive once you heard it a couple of times. But it's not bad.

Dodo / Lurker (7.5/10), probably as "hard" as Genesis ever rocked, this song for sure inspired Trent Gardner to write some of Magellan's tunes. The keyboards give this aong a powerful aura. I don't like the chorus that much, it kind of breaks the continuity and the groove the song was showing before, but it doesn't tear it to pieces. Almost a very good song, and without a doubt the proggiest in ABACAB.

Who Dunnit? (3/10), as contrast, this one is the crappiest of the lot, and until I heard Genesis next album after this one (GENESIS), the track I regarded as the worst ever from this band. The rhythm is repetitive and annoying, the "melody" just... well, it doesn't exist; and don't get me started on Collins' singing and lyrics: the vocal work drives me mad, the lyrics are just a DISASTER. But I never knew what the next album would give me, so I can't rate this song lower than 3.

Man On The Corner (7.5/10), pure pop bliss (after the last song, any sounds like a blessing from the sky). It may be pop, I agree, but hey, it's good pop! High sense of style, great sining by Phil (can't believe is the same singer that performed in the previous "song"). Discardable as prog-track (progginess: 2/10), but very enjoyable as just MUSIC. Great melody, something I was starting to miss in this album.

Like It Or Not (5.5/10), I kind of dislike triple-meter songs, and with this one I make no exception... it's boring, and Collins' singing gets on my nerves, again. Twice in an album, that was just new for me (again, I haven't heard GENESIS up till then).

Another Record (5/10), after a slow start, the song actually changes moods! An intro! That's new for this album... Sadly, the music is not that brilliant; the chorus "round and round and round" part just makes me ill...Not good, not good.

So, in the end, if we dissect the album and analyze song by song, the results won't be that encouraging: we have more than a couple of misses. But taken as a whole ABACAB is not an unpleasant journey, and if the listener's expectations are not set too high, it's possible to enjoy the trip and even end up with a smiley face.

Even if it doesn't ad up in the math, I give this album 3 stars: it's slightly better than collectors/fans only, as many casual fans will enjoy it, but slightly worse than Good/not essential...Actually, it's just that, NOT ESSENTIAL.

Make it a 2.5 Stars.

Recommended for: Genesis fans; easy prog-rock fans with a taste for poppier prog; fans of rock/pop music in general.

Not recommended for: prog-only fans; hardcore Genesis fans; and mostly, hardcore- Genesis-fans that may use my recommendation as an excuse to buy the album...

...you will try to find me and kick my **s

Report this review (#107777)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mmm Genesis' attempts to join prog and pop would never work as good as in the previous album "Duke", in my opinion. This is a strange album.

It opens with a straight-forward rocker which then tries to go into instrumental mode and... nothing interesting happens... too slow, too simple... and then it fades out. What? Check the live version from the Live at Wembley VHS or DVD for a much faster, energetic and... well, simply better version. Still, a mediocre song.

"No Reply at All" at least knows it's pop and goes for it, complete with Earth Wind & Fire horns. Kind of a Collins solo number this one, but I enjoy it. Warning, though: it's the kind of fun, happy stuff prog purists detest.

"Me & Sarah Jane" must have at least a dozen different melodies on it, almost as if Banks didn't know where to go and jumped from unfinished song idea to another. But then it gets to a kind of reggaeish-feeling stuff that can be enjoyable.

"Keep it Dark" goes a little too far for Phil's voice in its chorus, but it's a brief return to sci-fi land. Poppy and happy, though.

"Dodo/Lurker" is probably the song that could be called "proggiest" (hate to enter that discussion) here. Weird lyrics, and a second part which plays like a riddle. But the most interesting thing for me is the music of this second part (Lurker), because it has the "epic" feel of things past (well, the recent "Behind the Lines" had had it too)

"Who Dunnit?" I didn't, Jesus. Who did this song? What was the point? Or was it X or Z? Too much drugs, lads.

"Man on the Corner": Feels like solo Collins, though the drum machine has been around in many tracks. It's got a nice quiet atmosphere, I can grant the song that. But nothing special.

"Like it or Not": it has a nice ending... emm... what, you wanted more?

"Another Record" I wish this one would be.

Bottom Line: Good A side, uninteresting B side. Too bad we're in the CD/DVD/MP3 era where you won't find that division. 2.5.

Report this review (#112468)
Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Genesis is dead. But Genesis is not dead, rather it has been massacred, had its internal organs all rearanged and given a new face. That's one, creepy Hannibal-like way of looking at things.

Okay, so Genesis has now completely changed their sound, much to the dislike of many a fan. Though you could argue that the transformation took place a year ago with Duke, or maybe even so far as to say that the transformation happened back in '78. Whichever album you deem the turning point, it is undoubtable now, in '81, that Genesis as we once knew them are gone and will not return. Take a moment for that fact to sink in, and then we'll continue.

The title track is as close to the late Genesis the newborn Genesis will ever be. Mike Rutherford does a nice job handling the guitars as well as bass. Tony is still as great as ever, but Phil's drumming has been watered-down - possibly as a result of taking over the role of vocalist and drummer. But no, that can't be, since his drumming was still top-notch back in '76 when The Gabe first left them. For whatever reason, his skin-smacking skills have diminished.

After the nice opening song, things start to go a little downhill. The songs seem to be 1) Commercial and poppy 2) Cheesy and takhi 3) Boring and repedative. Though I often enjoy the introduction of "Keep it Dark" (for about three or four seconds), and "Dodo / Lurker" is a fantastic Pop/Prog song, the rest of the album is too worthy of the tag "emotional pop".

Well, as a pop album this is quite decent. But as a prog album, and especially since this band has so many loyal prog loving followers, this album disapoints. Goodbye Genesis, hello Genesis.

Report this review (#112562)
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars If the definition of 'sell-out' is an attempt to simplfy music to make it appeal to a broader audience, then GENESIS' 'Abacab' is a sell-out.

What it is not, however, is a pop album. There are a couple of pop tracks on it, but the majority of the album consists of rock music. The progressive sensibility temporarily deserts the band (actually, it's most likely been deliberately laid aside) and the album exists in an uncomfortable half-way house.

The production is so beautiful one could weep, that it should be wasted on some of the material on offer here. Crisp, balanced, with real depth; if I could be granted a Christmas wish, it would be to apply these values to the GENESIS back catalogue.

There are a couple of longer tracks, but nothing extended that measures up to what the band had achieved - and would achieve again. Instead, the value in this album is found in the shorter tracks, and an absolutely sublime vocal performance from PHIL COLLINS. Between 'Duke' and 'Abacab' PHIL had begun an extraordinarily successful solo career, and the fruits of his self-confidence are to be enjoyed here. Sure, most of what he's singing isn't up to much, but he does sing it well. His expression is unparalleled in progressive music, his enunciation is superb and his control outstanding. Contrast this with the diffident voice on 'More Fool Me'.

I admire (but don't personally like) what the band were doing on 'No Reply at All', and enjoy 'Me and Sarah Jane' and 'Keep it Dark.' 'Who Dunnit' makes me scratch my head, but I don't hate it. It's just a short piss- take, that's all. The rest of the record tails off, with the strangely popular 'Man on the Corner' the most memorable of the remainder.

Because of PHIL COLLINS' influences, from soul to BRAND X's jazziness, this album sounds little like previous albums. A change of direction, sure, but not a sell-out. Had they wanted to sell out, they could have made 'Face Value II'. I become irritated with those who argue that in this period GENESIS was a PHIL COLLINS solo project. To me it's simple: the turn of the decade saw COLLINS change his personal direction, and now that he was a third of the band, not a fifth or a fourth, his influence was bound to be felt more strongly.

Report this review (#116618)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is it! This is the album that changed it all. The way they wrote, the way they played and the way they perceived their audience. Gone was the stellar themes and melodies replaced by whatever it is on this CD. I always though of Genesis music as beautiful but this CD makes it ugly.

The opening track goes absolutely no where. Mike Rutherford's guitar playing is underwhelming and This is the most unadventurous Tony Banks keyboards I have ever heard. This one of the highlights of the CD!

I have listened to this album twice and never listened to it again. Genesis had changed and while I could go along with some things this was unacceptable to me. In five years they had gone from fantastic to boring. Boring is the best way to describe this album. For later Genesis fans only! Two Stars.

Report this review (#119283)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I just don't understand the general consensus towards this album. Why is there all of this hatred? This isn't the album where Genesis sold out. DUKE was the sellout album!!! ABACAB is an attempt to reinvent the band sound into more of a power trio. They didn't stick with it, though, and drifted back towards an updated DUKE sound to close out their career.

If a new band had released this album instead of Genesis, people might have said two things.

1. Hey, that's pretty good. 2. They sure sound like they were heavily influenced by Genesis's A Trick of the Tale.

This is a prety darn good album. Sure, there's a little cheese to "Me and Sarah Jane," but no more than to some of the tracks off Wind and Wuthering. "No Reply at All" and "Man on the Corner" have the Phil solo sound, but it's some of the best of the Phil solo sound (no motown, thank God, although we do get horns.) "Abacab" and "Dodo/Lurker" (the two best tracks) both sound like dark versions of what the band was doing on A Trick of the Tale, while "Keep it Dark" isn't far behind in quality. All of that is great stuff. "Another Record" and "Like it or Not" are mediocre, and "Whodunnit" is frankly bad, but there's an awful lot of good stuff to counterbalance that.

Genesis doesn't go on life support until the NEXT album.

This one is worth 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up this time.

Report this review (#126840)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars Abacab is where inspiration takes a dive for Genesis. Other than Me And Sarah Jane, Dodo/Lurker, and Keep It Dark, the rest of this album is mediocre at best (Who Dunnit? and Another Record) or deeply rooted in half-decent pop rock (No Reply At All, Abacab, Man on the Corner).

This is also the album that probably started allowing the band to buy mansions, fancy cars, and toasters that talk. I guess you can't blame them for sacrificing their art for more mullah. Besides, record companies at the time were really hammering down on the "dinosaurs" of the time to make hits or else.

Abacab was pretty much the end of Genesis' progressive rock period. I guess that point could be debatable, but Dodo/Lurker to me was the last truly progressive rock moment for Genesis. In future albums they would only show what many reviewers here call "prog tendencies."

I'm going to round up a 2.5 star rating to three stars only because of Dodo/Lurker. Not essential and chiefly for Genesis fans. If you can find it cheap, it's worth it for the three top songs mentioned in my first sentence above.

Report this review (#126837)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Genesis, one of the bands i enjoy since i was 15, and this is the first album that i own by them way back in 1992. Well, this is one of those famous records that caused rage in the prog world in the early '80.

There are a couple of longer tracks Dodo/Lurker and Abacab the best tracks from this album, and the rest is around 5 minutes and a kind of mixt bags a la Phil Collins solo and music on Duke in a modern way, not band but not memorable.

Between 'Duke' and 'Abacab' PHIL had begun an extraordinarily successful solo career, and the fruits of his self-confidence are to be enjoyed here. Sure, most of what he's singing isn't up to much, but he does sing it well. His expression is unparalleled in progressive music, his enunciation is superb and his control outstanding, not to mention that he is among the best drummers ever. Not a bad album in my opinion, but don't reach the level of what they did in the '70. I guess 3 stars is fair, in fact this is much better then the next one from 1983 when they introduce drum machine and the sound is bad to the bone. 3 stars

Report this review (#126976)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have mixed feelings about this one. They were clearly heading more towards commercial music after the success of "Duke" and "Face Value". This is a good, solid album. It is not their best but greatness does shine through on some of the material. The title track, Me and Sarah Jane, and Dodo are the highlights. Nothing else really stands out to me, though. "Keep it Dark" is a good tune and "No Reply at all" and "Man on the Corner" are just alright. Overall, a good album, and worth listening to. It is not the sell-out piece of garbage that people say. Also, Mike's guitar work is fine. I never understood why people don't seem to give Mike the credit he deserves as a guitarist and even as a bassist.
Report this review (#129809)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Abacab" in my opionion is the most interesting album that Genesis ever recorded. "Duke" flowed all together as an album, while "Abacab" is completely the opposite. The album tends to be a bit bi-polar, jumping around a lot and never really establishing a certain feel. Usually, I think this takes away from an album, but I almost feel at this point, Genesis did this intentionally. I view the album as one big experiment in a way. The people who call this a commercial selling out are completely off, as none of the songs strike me as being overly poppy or commercial. No matter how stripped down and simplified the songs can get, I don't think Genesis sounds commercial at all. Each song in some way has a quirk to it, which makes it a really cool album to listen to. Genesis in 1981 was diving full on into the yay era of the 1980s, which means lots of overly cold synthesizers that somehow manage to still sound bright and full of life. This is the album that I can play without shame to all my hardcore underground hip hop friends, and they all dig it a lot. The beats and Phil Collins inspired performance make this my favorite Genesis album. I guess because I like a lot of hip hop music, this album does the trick, because it serves as a sort of reference point for where a lot of good hip hop got its inspiration. Progressive purists be damned, this is the best Genesis album of them all!
Report this review (#135321)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars If I wanted to listen to Earth Wind and Fire I would buy an Earth Wind and Fire Album. If I wanted to listen to Phil Collins and Earth Wind and Fire I would but a Phil Collins solo Album. Back in 1981 when I bought this album and I listened to the first bars of "No reply at all" it felt like my musical world had ended.

Is anybody listening? No Dodo (old Genesis) is dead? Yes Whodunnit? Who cares Another record? Anything but this

Report this review (#140471)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The dislike for this record in the prog rock community is staggering. It is indeed the Paris Hilton of Prog. But what is really interesting is that for the simplified, heavy-synth embrace of the 80s it was, dressed in a clean white outfit and shiny new watch, 'Abacab' is a really good album... at least mostly. Phil Collins' cringe-causing sentimentality and Motown-isms are regrettable, it's true, and a couple cuts are just downright pap (i.e. 'Who Dunnit'). But the sonic qualities they were able to create were inimitable, "sell out" or not. The result was a gorgeous but artistically disappointing venture. Tony Banks, instead of worked into the mix as on most Genesis releases, is put right up front and leads the way showing plenty of energy with a range and quality of synthesizer settings that have never quite been recaptured. And trooper Mike Rutherford does what any good bass player would; he adds what is required, nothing more, nothing less. The set begins strong on the deliciously robotic title track and ultra-low frequencies from Banks' synths. Cold and distilled, a restrained vision of modern rock, immaculate, and pure-- simplicity raised to glory, and pop music hadn't sounded so good in years. 'No Reply at All' is a genuine, sweet and upbeat love tune, 'Me and Sarah Jane' is an ode to addiction, and 'Keep it Dark' comments on the potential of mankind despite its self-inflicted wounds (or an alien encounter, take your pick). The fun and rock of 'Dodo/Lurker' gets the blood pumping despite a painful reggae break and features a giddy keyboard part from Banks. But 'Man On the Corner', though well-intentioned, is the band at its most commercial and musically timid, and though pretty, 'Like it Or Not' is full-blown sap. Things end with the petrified 'Another Record' as this once magnificent group says goodbye in a big way to forward-thinking rock music and hello to a proper career for themselves. After ten years of solid music, they probably deserved it.

Report this review (#142329)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
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 "rřvballe 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 ;-)

Report this review (#152272)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars A massive step down from the decent Duke album, it sounds to me as if all artistic endeavour has been put on hold and desire for the almighty dollar has overtaken the direction. The album is just two plastic sounding and any emotional and creative edge has been eliminated for streamlining into radio play. I can understand that during the 80s bands needed radio play for survival, but many prog bands managed to have some creative edge during this period such as Mike Oldfield, Split Enz, Kraftwerk and King Crimson. There are tracks such as Abacab and Me and Sarah Jane that have potential, but thats about it, Who Dunnit is a lame equivalent of thier silly songs and Dodo/ Lurker just lacks substance. There are of course the lame ballads written by Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford. Phil Collins has lost all passion in his singing that he had in Duke and sounds heartless on this album, actually that basically sums up this album heartless, and overall lacks substance. How the mighty have fallen to this contemptible work. I would have considered giving this album two stars but I am a fan/collector of Genesis and I disliked it so much that I sold it, so If a fan like me doesn't find any point in owning it then it must be only for completionists. If were you stop at Duke and start getting Steve Hackett, Peter Gabrial and Marillion albums because Genesis dies right here.
Report this review (#158568)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Another record...

Abacab, considered by many to be one of Genesis's worst album. This is where the band started to concentrate on the hits rather than the music. It's clear that here they still have a little bit of prog left in them but in general, all they've done here is crammed a bunch of pop-rockers onto one album. While the two to precede this one (without Hackett) has been characterized by strong strong writing, this one is characterized by pop song writing. As though the success of ''Follow You Follow Me'' had been some kind of revelation, Genesis starts to venture very far away from where they started, turning back to look at their old fans maybe once or twice.

The album starts off (semi-)promisingly with the title track, ABACAB. This is a strong rock song that sounds like anything that could have been off the last two albums, good vocals and drumming. Other songs on the record such as ME AND SARAH JANE and DODO/LURKER are also fairly pleasing to the ear, with their eerie soundscapes and fairly long format, it almost seems as though Genesis has started to make a turnaround. The pop-intervention may need to be called off.

Then we get to the pop songs. More likely to be heard on love-song-radio than any prog compilation, some of these songs are absolute torture to the progger's ears. NO REPLY AT ALL, with it's saxophones, poppy vocals and lyrics/structure makes this song one that makes one wonder what happened to the days of dancing with the moonlit knight. Other songs like the drum machined KEEP IT DARK and the forgettable LIKE IT OR NOT and ANOTHER RECORD are better to not listen to, again deteriorating the love that so many fans have for the Genesis.

WHO DUNNIT?... Let's not even go there. If you haven't heard it, I don't recommend that you ever do. Purely annoying. Referred to by Phil Collins as ''Our punk song''.

Ending comments:

2 stars, fans only. While contemplating giving the album 1, I decided that some of the tracks actually have enough merit to save it. Only recommended to the curious, and people to genuinely like 80s Genesis.

Report this review (#161900)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Genesis's worst album ever. Some really awful tracks here (Another record, Who dunnit ?, Like it or not) and a sleeve which is as childish as bad. Anyway, I like three songs here : Abacab, Keep It Dark, Dodo/Lurker. Thank God these are the longest tracks on this album. The remainder is really poor, even if the Earth, Wind & Fire horns on No Reply At All are nice. This is an advice : if you don't own this record and want to buy it, watch the price : if it costs more than 10 ? (yes, I,'m from Europe); it's too much. This album must be loaned, not bought.
Report this review (#162852)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Where does he go? What does he do?

In most peoples opinion he goes waaaaaaaay down, but while this little fishy may have a hook in his throat he most certainly does not have many problems. So while you throw this album back in the sea I'll enjoy this little gem for years to come. There are a few tracks I could care less for (Man On The Corner, Like It Or Not, Another Record) but i take the good with the bad. There are still many masterpieces on this album (ABACAB, Me And Sarah Jane, Keep It Dark, Dodo / Lurker) and I have no quarrel with No Reply At All and Who Dunnit?

All in all you could see the decline of the band quick approaching since And then there were three, but they still have there spurts of genius in every album, some more than others. Three stars : Good

Report this review (#169613)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Abacab" is the 11th full-length studio album by UK pop/(progressive) rock act Genesis. The album was released through Charisma Records in September 1981. Genesis spend most of 1980 touring in support of "Duke (1980)", and after a short break in activities they purchased the Fisher Lane Farm in Chiddingfold, Surrey in November 1980, and began remodelling the farm into a recording studio. The advantages of owning their own studio in the UK (the three previous albums had been recorded outside the UK) where they had time to work, sparked the creativity of the band, who wrote enough material for a double album (most tracks on the album were written by all three members of the band). At this point in their career Genesis were very conscious of what they wanted though, and they discarded all material they felt sounded too much like their past material. Some of the tracks which were left off "Abacab" appeared as B-sides to the album singles, and some of the tracks would appear on the studio side of the "Three Sides Live" live/studio album from 1982.

While there had been songs here and there on previous releases by Genesis, which had a more accessible pop/rock sound, it was "Duke (1980)", that the band more fully committed to that direction. On "Abacab" they take a step further in a more commercially oriented pop/rock direction, and you´ll have to dig a bit to hear that they were once a groundbreaking progressive rock act. They´ve consciously stripped the structures of the tracks down to "regular" vers/chorus formats with strong hook laden choruses, and tracks like "No Reply at All", "Man on the Corner", and parts of the title track are very accessible material. When that is said tracks like "Keep It Dark" and "Dodo/Lurker" features progressive sensibilities, that may not sound anything like the 70s version of Genesis (or at least very little), but still signal that they were more than "just" another 80s commercial pop/rock act.

Tony Banks use of contemporary keyboards/synths do pull in that direction, as well as the at times rather simple rhythms played by Phil Collins, but there is still a sophistication to the arrangements that is at times semi-progressive. If not in compositional structure then in the songwriting ideas and in the subtility of the arrangements. "Abacab" is an album which has a bit of it all. Great humour, sweet melancholy, and a couple of epic moments (the chorus to "Keep It Dark" is for example absolutely stunning). The album features a sound production which varies between organic and more cold and clinical (electronic effects have a great impact on the latter). Sometimes it works well and sometimes it sounds a bit "empty".

So upon conclusion "Abacab" is not Genesis strongest release and it´s not their most groundbreaking release either, but it features a couple of really strong tracks and a nice alternative way of composing accessible pop/rock, which at it´s core is quite clever. It´s a relatively varied release too, so it´s for the listener who can appreciate stylistic diversity over consistency. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#177068)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Like it or not

Abacab is my least favourite of all Genesis albums even though it does have a few good songs on it. The best is the title track but also Keep It Dark is strong. Dodo/Lurker is the most progressive song, but it is not great. Man On The Corner is pleasant and Me And Sarah Jane is okey even though it is too similar to Misunderstanding from the previous album. Like It Or Not and Another Record are unremarkable and frankly just dull. The worst songs are No Reply At All and Who Dunnit? These two are offensively bad and the inclusion of a brass section on the former is truly cringe-worthy. In conclusion, this is a very weak album despite a few good songs. Even the group's later albums would be more interesting than this one.

Report this review (#177322)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars What a disappointment!I can't believe this is Genesis!This is their worst album in more than 12 years since their first,which maybe is there worst ever.It's very difficult for me to listen the whole album.It's awful!There is no music here.There is something like sound,but not exactly.They are trying to make something like new wave.But this is not even new wave.It's not even no wave,because there is that kind of musical genre.This album hasn't musical genre.Totally poor album.Some good moments from some parts of some songs like - Abacab,DodoLurker,Man on the Corner and Like It Or Not.I think this men - Phil Collins,Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford don't respect their fans,but only the money at that time of their career.Or maybe they are just lazy enough at that time to make music,but are not lazy enough to make money.I don't like when someone is laughing at me like this musicians.Where are now the real professional guys - Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel when we need them most!I shan't give 2 stars to that burlesque of album and music as whole.
Report this review (#178799)
Posted Monday, August 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm a huge Earth, Wind & Fire fan - but I prefer their horn section stay put...and far farrrrrrrr away from the music of Genesis. 1 star each for Abacab and Dodo/Lurker, but the rest is fairly unforgettable. The aforementioned would've sounded great on _Duke_. Admittedly, I do have a soft spot for _Like It Or Not_ (just a great Genesis song). The rest of Abacab sounds like a Phil Collins solo album. For the ultimate _Abacab_ experience, go for their live LP _Three Sides Live!_. There's a great great drum trade-off between Chester Thompson and Phil Collins. 2.5 stars for the whole Abacab album, really.
Report this review (#179537)
Posted Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars So this is where my favorite prog band went... down the toilet and never coming up for air. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, this is where prog civilization as we know it ended. The previous two albums without Steve Hackett were at least kind of proggy, but this is when blockheads started saying Genesis is an 80's pop band, and get me really mad. This is the end of Genesis. True, Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance were worse, but when I went to my local record store to buy a Genesis album, not expecting pop music, listening to this in my bedroom was the biggest disappointment ever. True the title track is decent, and contains some other good pop music, but this is hardly even Genesis. They almost should have renamed the band.

In conclusion, die hard Gabriel-era Genesis fans will be sorely dissapointed, and so will anyone else expecting prog from a prog band. If you can shake the image that these are the guys who made Supper's Ready, you might be a little happy with it, but for everyone else, walk right past this.

Report this review (#191143)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
MovingPictures07
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Even the album art is awful!

Umm. okay. Some tracks on here are interesting and not TOO bad, like the title track and Dodo/Lurker. Otherwise, this is the beginning of the end. I do not exaggerate when I say that "Who Dunnit?" is most likely the worst track I have ever heard by a prog band. It's not even good pop! Yikes. Avoid this one except for the occasional interesting moment or decently-written pop song.

There's really not much more I can say!

The only Genesis albums worse than this are Invisible Touch and Calling All Stations. This is definitely for completionists. Not even that! This is only for people who actually want to listen to this.

Report this review (#191678)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Now a three-piece and sliding inevitably towards chart-friendly synth pop, ABACAB finds Collins and co in sparky, primary-coloured pop form, eschewing the long-winded prog sensibilities of yesterday and replacing them with shorter, sharper and simpler songs. While previous album DUKE(1980) mixed state-of-the-art studio pop and rock within a prog framework, ABACAB takes the band even further from their roots, in what can be seen as a rather sly attempt to win a new audience, boost sales and conquer America proper, all the time dispensing with tradition and producing an album that looks set to alienate long-term fans but win over new admirers across the globe. And the difference in tone and style has really gained momentum recently, with 1978's prog-pop effort ...AND THEN THERE WERE THREE, now seeming light-years ago, both in terms of sound and style, with the 'new', slimline Genesis, now a bona-fide hit machine in the making. If your a seething (ex)believer, you're probably not reading this; if you've stuck to your guns all along, you may find a few crumbs of comfort between the lazy pop quirks and shame-faced commercial hooks that populate this anaemic yet occasionally-catchy album. The eponymously-titled opener adds horns to the mix(courtesy of Earth, Wind and Fire), and offers one of the few hints of the past with an extended 'jam' section - that lasts around 5 mins - coming right out of nowhere to bamboozle their new-found fans. For old time fans however, it proves to be a moment of very brief respite in an album crammed with cynical commercial cuts and is probably a catalyst for dewy-eyed memories of 20-minute epics, Peter Gabriel and those simpler times when Prog ruled the 1970's. MAN ON THE CORNER, a short, sweet ballad, is a welcome slice of Collins-whimsy(and a pointer to where his career would be heading in the not-so-distant future), but like it's protagonist, it's a lonely if worthy attempt in an otherwise forgettable commercial confection of an album that dispenses with substance in favour of broad pop stylings. The title, if you're interested, is a pun on the group's now simplistic method of song-writing. The irony is palpable. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009
Report this review (#197648)
Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Clearly, looking at previous reviews, this is the one LP where prog fans shout out SELL OUT and desert the band in the same fashion most people would treat a leper colony. But is it really that bad? No, although I have no hesitation in awarding it only three stars because of two tracks and two utter mistakes. No Reply At All is the first one - Phil should have left the horns on his solo efforts, and the other two should have stayed off the booze when he persuaded them to have them on - it's not that it's a bad song in itself, it just sounds so out of place on an English symphonic prog bands album as to be beyond quirky - and, of course, it was never meant to be quirky. The other is, of course, the utter mess that is WhoDunnit, a track so God awfully bad that it would shame a Take That album, let alone Genesis - what they were thinking of is beyond me, and it's a mess that probably deserves the removal of two stars in itself. However, I am trying to present a different slant and a charitable one to the Collins era, so I'll only take one star away.

Because, the rest of this LP is actually very good. Abacab is a continuation of the great pop/prog mixture that they had perfected. Ruthford's grinding guitars match Banks' dark keyboards perfectly, and Collins continues to demonstrate what a great drummer he is. The full length version is deservedly still a live favourite, and the instrumental section fairly rocks along.

Me and Sarah Jane is one of my favourite Genesis songs of all time. The subject matter, of the aftermath of a rape, is sensitively and delicately told, whilst the playing is superb - of course, this is a Banks song, and he takes the keyboard feel from Duke to this very well.

Keep it Dark is ordinary, but Dodo/Lurker is sheer symphonic prog genius. This is the key to these later albums - although there is a lot of commercial stuff, there are also a lot of excellent elements and progressive stuff that shines out. Banks creates a massive wall of sound, and the other two play along as if their lives depended upon it, especially Collins who proves how versatile a drum machine actually can be.

Man on the Corner, Like it or Not, and Another Record continue the vein seen in Duke - they are not progressive songs as such, but they are commercial songs with a very progressive flavour, and are all very enjoyable. The thing, of course, that separates them from the average Collins solo record (and, yes, aside from Face Value, they were all exceptionally average) is Banks & Rutherford, who retain that idealistic sense of musicianship and writing to turn an ordinary proposition into something quite a lot more.

Three stars for this. Not the finest Genesis LP by any stretch of the mark, but still enough to keep fans and newcomers to their music interested enough to stay on the journey.

Report this review (#202080)
Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is where it became totally clear that Genesis was an entirely different band from what we used to know and love. The transition was a slow one, but it was also steady. I can´t really say I like this album, even thought for the time it seemed to fitted very well into the music scene. At least it was good prog pop music. But there are some moments I can´t stand like Who Dunnit. That was probably´s Genesis worst song ever recorded. I still don´t understand why they ever had the trouble to commit it on tape, much less released it. Go figure!

Anyway, Abacab has it moments: the title track, Dodo / Lurker, Me And Sarah Jane, Man In The Corner. I even like No Reply At All. I thought it was a good pop song. I still do. Dodo and Me And Sarah Jane are reasonable good prog tunes. But overall Abacab does not have the same balance as on other Genesis album of that period. It is hardly played at all at my home. But it is till Genesis and still has some good, although unremarkable, stuff. If only they had not included Who Dunnit things would be much better.

Rating: two stars.

Report this review (#207830)
Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars By the time ABACAB was released in the early 80's it had been clear by that point Genesis had no intentions on looking back to it's progressive rock roots. For fans of the Collins-era Genesis this is a satisfactory album from this stage of the band's music.

Everything is louder with ABACAB, most notably the heavier drum sound that is present on even the ballad numbers. Tony Banks also contributes to this new aggressive sound by using more electric sounding keyboards that border on abrasive in some sections. Phil Collins really steps up as a vocalist with this album, matching the emotional presence he had on the haunting "In the Air Tonight" from his debut solo outing (just before ABACAB was finished).

ABACAB bursts out of the gate with the pounding, energetic title track. This song is basically a short number made long by tacking on a lengthy instrumental section to it's second half, which doesn't add much but is interesting for at least one full listen. The band kicks right back into pop mode with the punchy ""No Reply At All" featuring some nicely applied horn sections. ""Me and Sarah Jane"" and ""Keep It Dark"" finishes a strong first half. With it's slick reggae momentum and obtuse lyrics, the multi-sectional ""Dodo/Lurker"" is one of this album's best and perplexing tracks, the closest the band comes to referencing their artier past. After ""Dodo"" the remainder of ABACAB concludes with a weaker set of tracks, with the exception of ""Man on the Corner"", but not enough to sink the album entirely.

The bonus DVD on the 2008 re-master includes the promotional videos from this album, which were usually little more than footage of the band miming their songs in a recording studio setting or on stage. For someone who was young with access to MTV, this album and it's promotional videos became my entry point in the career of this band. There is also pages from an ABACAB tour booklet, and a mix of the album in 5.1 sound.

"(copied from my Amazon review)

Report this review (#218930)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Genesis decadence begin with this work. I just realy apreciate Abacab because have some genesis progressive atmosphere and I like the drums work in this music. The other music arrangements are very comercial and boring. Nothing new and if you listen first time, you never want listen again. I'm very disapointed with the comercial begin of this band. They made works just for make money and finish the progressive vein. The new works made after this album, show us a comercial band to use and to throw away. Where are the great keyboard player of ancient times? Here are the great guitar player that so many lack does, and I think that Mike Rutherford are a great guitar a bass player, but not so good that Steve Hacket. Well my friends, with this album, the black genesis future begin and my first music passion, is finish in Seconds Out album, because the only great genesis moment in future are three sides live performence and because they play old songs that I and some people realy apreciate.
Report this review (#219645)
Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In my not so humble opinion:

Abacab is the worst Genesis album.

. . .

Ok, so I should probably add a bit more, huh?

On Abacab, there are a grand total of nine songs, three of which are great, two are above average, three are pretty bad and one is so awful that it accounts for the loss of a star all in it's self.

The highlights include Dodo/Lurker which is just about the only prog related bit they do on the entire CD and the best song on the album. It's seven and a half minutes of funky prog about extinction and love. The last two minutes, the Lurker part of the song, is a wonderful groove with one of Tony Banks more memorable licks beautified by his selection of a nice fat analog saw tooth wa- sorry, beautified by a great keyboard sound.

"Keep it Dark" is an upbeat pop song addressing human paranoia, misery and aliens with a somewhat untraditional song structure. "Me and Sarah Jane" is another great wandering song with a slightly progressive structure.

Those were the three great songs, "Abacab", the song, is a decent rocker featuring a Tony Banks solo that is longer than it is interesting, "Another Record" is soft and pleasant enough to listen to. 'No Reply' is full of horns, "Man on the Corner" is long and "Like it or Not" is also on included on this album.

Which leaves one shining example of audio left. Here's my take on Who Dunnit. Tony Banks got a new keyboard and started showing all of the cool effects that it can do to the rest of the band. Unbeknownst to everyone, the recorder was on. A couple of weeks later, they turned the album into the record execs, they said 'What's this, you can't release a 44 minute album?' Being as the guys were up against a deadline and had gotten schlonkered at the pub before visiting the execs they decided to use the three and a half minutes of Tony's keyboard cause that sounded like a 'smashing idea' at the time. The word 'brilliant' was used repeatedly as well. The next morning they work up with a hangover and a suspicious chunk of time missing.

A month later, the album was released and all three of them collectively smacked themselves on the forehead.

Two stars, three if they had released the album in it's original, 'unwhudunnitted' form.

Report this review (#224272)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, fortunelly the first album I listened of Genesis was A Trick Of The Tail. However, Genesis is my favourite band at all. And I feel some of nostalgia and respect about Abacab for many reasons: 1. It could be consider the first progressive pop album of history, why not? 2. Over 12 years Genesis made the larger contributions to the highly developed music such as progressive... Mistakes can be forgiven. 3. The group not separated by this record and instead remained together 27 years until the last live, which means that as new musical horizons were transformed but never finished.
Report this review (#235289)
Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Genesis had not, comparatively-speaking, been a lucrative enterprise, and given the financial hardship the band faced during the 1970s, it's no wonder the band boarded the gravy train of 1980s mainstream music (along with many bands) and never returned. This of course disappointed fans, but at the same time generated a whole new fan base, although effectively creating two bands with the same name. While scarcely progressive rock, this album consists of pop songs, most of which are not unpleasant, with a few of them actually being highly enjoyable.

"Abacab" The title track may be the second longest, but it's a clear indication that the progressive days of Genesis are history. The best part of this song is the catchy vocals, but I can understand how they would be immediately repulsive to longtime fans. There organ is a nice touch, but Banks's synthesizers over generic sounding music (particularly the bland drumming) do very little for me. That said, I still enjoy the song very much for what it is.

"No Reply At All" A plucky number that sounds like 1980s dance party music, this is jaw-droppingly bad (mainly because compared to music of the same genre, it's still terrible). The bass grooves are good, but it'd be tough to guess that Rutherford was responsible for them. The band has Earth, Wind & Fire's horn section complimenting the sound.

"Me and Sarah Jane" There are some pleasing synthesizer arrangements contained within this semi-progressive track. Collins incorporates his electronic drums here (they sound like the same ones that would be heard on his hit song "In the Air Tonight"). Part of the music has a reggae vibe, however.

"Keep It Dark" A strange electric guitar riff forms the backbone of this track, which has bursts of quirky synthesizer and a barely compatible vocal melody.

"Dodo / Lurker" The lengthiest track has an introduction that almost hearkens back to the days of A Trick of the Tail, featuring a bombastic synthesizer opening and some organ work. The reggae-influence creeps back in throughout most of the track also. If the goofy synthesizers had been replaced with the vintage sounds Banks used on earlier recordings, this track might be one of the best things Genesis ever did after the onset of the 1980s.

"Who Dunnit?" Collins's vocals are just as shameful as the silly synthetic music backing him up. I can't hear this song without immediately thinking of the unfortunate fashion, hairstyles, and catchphrases of the silliest decade of the twentieth century, and sadly enough, it inevitably makes me nostalgic (since I grew up then). Still, this song is incredibly ridiculous, hard to follow, and foolish in every respect- quite probably the worst thing Genesis ever did.

"Man on the Corner" A radio hit to this day, I actually appreciate this one, partly because Collins delivers a convincing vocal performance. The music fits firmly in the context of this album, but does so with grace, despite an overtly simple structure.

"Like It or Not" A straightforward pop track, this is nothing noteworthy, but nothing awful either.

"Another Record" Darker music ends the album, at least for the first bit, and then it's back to pop music. This one has a harmonica involves and is closer to upbeat Sting shortly after The Police broke up.

Report this review (#242156)
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars And Then They Were Pop

This is the album that represents the definite turning point in Genesis musical direction. On And Then They Were Three and Duke the band was still searching for a new identity in order to confront the new decade after the departure of Gabriel and Hackett. I feel as if these albums were transitional. Flirting with pop but still mantaining some of the prog elements that made Genesis famous throughout the 70's. Abacab instead is a pop album all the way through.

So the question is: Could have Genesis made a Pop album and keep older and new fans happy with the results? Certainly not. Is Abacab as bad as most people on this site claim it to be?Well, I have mixed feelings on this one. On one hand we have songs like Abacab or Dodo which are amazingly well crafted joyful pop songs. On the other hand, songs like No Reply At All with that horrible horn section (specially on the "is anybody listening?" part) are almost unbearable. But definitely the worst part comes with Who Dunnit. I wasn't even alive when this album came out, but I can easily imagine how dissapointed older fans must have felt after listening to this. A real slap in the face to them provided by Mr. Collins and the rest of the band. This song isn't even filler. It's an aberration. By far the worst in Genesis catalog and one of the main reasons to understand in part the hatred and severe critics that Abacab constantly gets.

The rest of the album sounds just like how Collins solo material would sound in the future (being Man On The Corner and Like It Or Not the most prolific examples of this). Just proper pop songs. Nothing remarkable, but neither that terrible.

Summarazing, Abacab has its ups which are great, and its downs, which can be harmful to the listener. And although i'd listen to Selling England By The Pound or Nursery Cryme 200 times before this one, I'd still pick up Abacab over Duke or ATTWT. At least in here you know exactly what to expect with each song and you don't get that feeling of not knowing what Genesis wants to be when they grow old. Abacab set the definite basis of what Genesis would be in the years to come. Like it or not.

Report this review (#247574)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first word that pops into Gabriel-era Genesis freaks' minds when the cursed word 'Abacab' is muttered is 'SELL-OUT!'. I'd say this is a little harsh, showing that, despite leaning more towards pop than progressive, Abacab is one of the group's most artistically genuine masterpieces. That's right, you heard me; Abacab, the entire record, is an ARTISTIC MASTERPIECE. In fact, it sort of reminds me of the Beatles' work (and, trust me, I know, it's a ridiculous comparison). It balances accessible, catchy pop music with intricate, artistically innovative masterpieces, and does so just as well as any of their '70s recordings. Sure, "Abacab" and "No Reply at All" are classic rock radio staples (and with good reason), but I can safely assume that the mass of ignorant Genesis 'fans' on here that bash this album endlessly haven't heard "Keep it Dark" or "Me and Sarah Jane", which easily rank among the group's most prolific works. In fact, I must admit that the title track is one of my all-time favorite songs by Genesis, from any era.

All in all, Abacab is no Selling England By the Pound, it isn't as good as Nursery Cryme, but it punches the ticket pretty darn well...in fact, I'd say it showcases the group at their artistic peak with Collins fronting; it's modern art rock at its finest, and I heavily recommend it.

Report this review (#259342)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars It's strange that I, with all my recent (one year of strongly intense, one year of quite a lot intense and before this few years of rock listening) prog taste, I wonder how I can like this album at all. But I do and so I intend to find out why, because there has to be some things that are worth of my attention.

It's music, to be exact it's catchy type, really grabs your attention (if you're not one of this big group of people who hates 80's Genesis, which happens to be quite a common, so there's about 75% chance that you, my dear reader, is one of these - cheers, you're not doing anything wrong why hating them for these "albums" they were making, it's completely normal and understandable). It's still pop, as all others around here (after this year) and also does not have especially strong piece for me. However, it's first in a row of "bad" ones, so it still possess some of prog elements we like. There is even guitar solo, something very strange when looking around.

3(-), take it or leave it, because this is a way how I can express my support, or hatred, my understanding, or completely failing to understand something. How to appreciate and measure prog elements, evaluate them here and there, and finally, make a judgment.

Report this review (#259869)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Genesis is absolutely one of my favorite bands. Maybe even the most favorite one, certainly if we forget everything made after "Wind and Wuthering". When Hackett left, the music became much more" poppish", which by no means means that that is a bad thing. Abacab however, is the weakest album in this Genesis phase 2 period. Especially the horns fills do not belong to the kind of music of Genesis and keep on disturbing me. We have heard this more in Phil Collins' solo work, but I would have preferred that it was limited to Collins' work. In this phase 2 of Genesis, the way of composing music had drastically changed compared to the past. That is clearly noticable and a pity, I think. Still, you hear the compositional talent of the band in this phase 2, although on Abacab even that is difficult to aknowledge.
Report this review (#271894)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The pity of Genesis is this period is that they are still capable of producing good material. However the hollowness of the entire 80s aesthetic, which now sounds more dated than songs of a decade earlier, completely ruin whatever artistic ambitions they may have had.

Abacab, the title track is first. As usual, Genesis start off with an energetic number, and this might be a good track were it not for the synthetic sounds and the relentless hard drumming which was indiscriminately applied to so many tracks around this time.

"No reply at all" is an unfortunate 'funky' number which features earth, wind and fire's horn section apparently. The great gulf between the music of the early 70s and the early 80s is made manifest by the fact that back then Genesis used a mellotron as an orchestral substitute; that sounded nothing at all like an orchestra really, but was capable of interesting sounds in its own right. Now they have the services of a genuine brass section and it sounds unbelievably thin and tinny, as though it is being played on toy instruments. Yet this awful sound predominated through out the 80s and says a lot about the time.

"Me and Sarah jane" is a good song but again the arrangement does it no favours. The drum machine is less effective than on "Duchess" on the previous album. It is one of the better numbers.

"Keep it dark" features a boring riff-based verse with more interesting percussion sounds in the chorus. Mechanical hard drumming predominates again.

"Dodo/lurker" is a better number, but again over emphatic drumming detracts rather than advances the song. The spoken section is weak (Collins has no aptitude for speech despite being an actor) and the concluding instrumental parts anticlimactic.

The so-called song "Whodunnit" is a crime against music. I have hated it ever since I first owned the album and consider it 3 minutes of fingers down a backboard. WORST GENESIS SONG EVER.

"Man on the corner" is a flat ordinary song given a flat ordinary performance.

"Like it or not" is another flat formulaic number. Robotic drumming again.

And so "Another record" ends. This final piece starts off with 'atmospheric' guitar and synth before the usual funky bass, loud mechanical drums etc.

So perhaps three salvageable tracks if they were given better arrangements.

Report this review (#300844)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars 2/10

Well .. to play out.

I do not believe that Genesis Abacab created. I've always been a staunch defender of its early pop them, but this time I'm on the side of hundreds of people who condemn this album! The Allmusic Abacab gave a rating of four and a half stars of five, while for tresspass they give meager two stars! How could this happen? Is unacceptable.

I really think after Duke the band would continue to do a good material Crossover (yes, because they never laid aside their progressive side), but there is a single progressive element of Abacab. Heck, the other albums of this period had at least 10 minutes up songs (Home By The Sea, Domino), even the infamous Invisible Touch! But here? Nothing! The only good thing here is the song Keep It Dark, which is a nice pop. But the rest? Tsk, tsk ... What a disappointment!

(Oh yeah, and another thing: what was the "brilliant mind" who created the cover of this album? I think even my little sister can do better!)

Report this review (#319918)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another very good album from the three remaining Genesis members, Tony BANKS, Mike RUTHERFORD and Phil COLLINS. This one a shorter collection of totally unrelated songs (as opposed to the band's previous effort, the Broadway musical, Duke). I liked this album pretty well, and even went to see the band on their American tour supporting it.

Welcome to the new world: thanks to Phil's work on Peter Gabriel's third eponymous album, we have THE GATED DRUM! (Which I hate. But history is history.) The songs of ABACAB seem much simpler. (More use of the A-B-A-C-A-B song form.) The band uses much less complex chord structures and much less subtleties or surprises within these songs than previous albums.

Favorite songs: "Dodo/Lurker" (7:32) (8/10); "ABACAB" (6:58) (8/10); "Man on the Corner" (4:27) (7/10) (perhaps my favorite theatric Phil Collins vocal of all-time--he really hits it hard and powerfully, even if it is a bit over the top), and the chorus of "Keep It Dark" (4:32) (7/10)

I don't like the three-chord rock, the use of pseudo-Reggae rhythms/riffs, the use of Phil's friends' horns, and, of course, the gated drums. Otherwise this is an okay record.

Report this review (#330934)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Following the high standard of Duke, I was expecting something similar from Abacab. Overall, however, my expectations are not meet, consistent with 60% of ProgArchive Reviewers who have given Abacab either 2 or 3 stars.

Abacab (7:01), Me and Sarah Jane (5:59) Dodo/Lurker (7:28) are the longest and best songs. Keep It Dark is a personal favourite and tells of a man abducted by aliens but unable to admit to it. Interesting lyric. Another Record is also good but would have fitted better into the Duke Suite from Duke.

Whodunnit is something out of left field and generally considered Genesis's worse song (it's not, the worse song is Hold On My Heart from We Can't Dance). The problem is that Whodunnit goes on for too long. It should have been 1:22 not 3:22

No Reply At All, Man On The Corner and Like It Or Not are good radio friendly songs and would have been better on a Collins or Mechanics album (Tony out voted again?)

A short album (total time 46:52), it lacks enough good material and I cannot consider it as essential. You can get Abacab, Me and Sarah Jane and Dodo/Lurker on Three Sides Live.

3 Stars. Not essential, even to Genesis fans.

Report this review (#350261)
Posted Sunday, December 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Maybe the more Genesis controversial album, so it is for me too. Abacab has many lights and shadows, and as a balance I will not consider it essential. Definitiely Genesis went to a different sound from here, specially because the hard guitar riffs, which stand out in the album.

Abacab: Good track, in which the best is in the second half. A strong and simple but non conventional instrumental piece in which the counterpoint between the three musicians is great. The use of the Prophet Synt and hard guitar riffs gives a special taste. The first part is good but repetitive, with strange lyrics written by Rutherford. The intro is superb. The live versions, specially in TSL are far better.

Dodo / Lurker: The best track of the album. A true progressive number in wich Banks made the main thing. The track starts with strong tunes combining in a great way the keyboards and guitars over a solid bass-drum job. The arrangements are really good, and the track becomes better in the live versions. But the best becomes at the second half, called Lurker. After an almost talked line by Collins, the track flows into an original keyboard solo in the old prog style over a good percussion work, followed with a superb symphonyc piece. This structure repeats again till the a full orchestra ending wich is really addictive.

Me and Sarah Jane: A Banks track, and in his own words, the last he mades using harmonies in the songwriting. I consider this song a progressive number. Is rahter complex, with many variations, and with a non conventional structure. The melody line sung by Collins is really original and wich many great moments. Very Good.

Keep it dark: A simple but effective track, and maybe something original too. Developed over a hard guitar riff, over which Banks brings some low floating keyboards sounds, the best is in the chorus, basically constructed by a superb vocalization of Collins with some echoes over an ambient synth mattress and tribal percussion. Not prog but good.

Like it or not: A Rutherford ballad, in a strong way, that I like much.

No reply at all: A pop number based on a rather complex guitar pattern. Here the band put some winds. I always consider it a mistake, mainly because this would confuse the listener with Phil Collins solo stuff. The winds gives a good arrangement but was unnecessary.

The rest is maybe one of the worst stuff Genesis ever did

Report this review (#369814)
Posted Saturday, January 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin
4 stars Wait, I LIKE Abacab??

Alright, this album gets so much bad press, and I slightly see why. Yes, it's Genesis' biggest step into the pop/rock era, but this album serves essentially as a bride, AKA a "Crossover" album. And by golly, if Genesis was a Crossover band, this would be a 5 star album. Yes, Gabriel has left Genesis and Colins liked pop music more than true symphonic prog. Yes, there are very weak tracks, but there are also fantastic tracks with a real rock and prog twist in them. This album is certainly not Genesis' best album, but it also is nowhere near their worst. That's Invisible Touch! ;)

Abacab was actually the first Genesis song I had ever heard. The synth comes in with that catchy little riff with some great guitar-synth switch offs going on. The complex vocal melody switches are fun and catchy. This song is not what I would call pop in the least. The instrumental section is fun and rocking the whole way through. Overall, this is one of the better tracks on the album, and a very strong show of Genesis' dedication to Progressive music, for it certainly is prog!

No Reply at All is a little different than Abacab. It, in short terms, is 80s pop. Earth, Wind and Fire even made an appearance (the brass section). The melody is cathcy, however, making the track not an entire failure. But, other than the catchy melody, the whole song is just a pop blowover. The album seems to have on and off moments, and this is an off moment.

Me and Sarah Jane is another one of my favorite tracks on the album. Again, a pop element is very prominent in this track, but it is certainly not your average pop song. This is a great example of how Abacab is a Crossover album. The whole outfit of the song is catchy and creative. The dynamics from soft and melancholy to a catchy and upbeet track are really fun. Yes, the lyrics are about love (GASP!!!!), but those can be easily be overlooked by that catchy proggish chorus. The whole song also forsakes the traditional pop structure, with different verses, interludes, and more great stuff. Just a great song!

Keep it Dark is another great Crossover track. It has a lot more pop, but that experimental Genesis pop-era-typical synth sound is a great little riff to bob your head to. The lyrics are humorous and fun. Overall, the track isn't spectacular, but it is a nice song. It really doesn't vary very much, which does make it a little boring, but that can be overlooked.

Dodo/Lurker is my favorite song on the album, no doubt. You can't deny this is a great prog song. Even off of Abacab, Genesis' "Sell Out" album, they weave a fantastic track like this is there. Everything about it is spectacular. The riffing and melodic dictations are creative and rhythmic, with a great heartbeat. The structure is very proggish; I don't even think there is a chorus. If what I hear is true, the track was initially supposed to have two other parts and be the second longest track the band had produced (after Supper's Ready, of course). The best part of the song, in my opinion, is that keyboard solo. It's not even very technically difficult, just every little note is placed perfectly. Every little synthesized sound sounds just right where it is and would sound odd anywhere else. Just wondrous!

Uh oh, we have happened on Who Dunnit. When this song happens, it is an automatic skip. There is nothing good about this song. It's good they put Dodo before this track, to outweigh the horrid track named Who Dunnit. It's not even pop, it's just freaking weird. And not weird like experimental or Avant-garde, just in general, musically, lyrically, melodically, rhythmic, everything really just doesn't make any sense! Such an odd track, and is really hard to listen to.

Man on the Corner isn't "bad," but it's really just a mellow pop song, similar to a lot of Phil Colins' solo stuff. It's nice, but really doesn't have any spectacular qualities. Other than that, there really isn't anything to say about it.

Like it or Not, Like it or Not isn't that bad of a track. It opens with short proggy riff, but sadly that doesn't last very long. It has a steady beat and melody, reminiscent to Spock's Beard music (which, if you didn't know, is essentially the modern Genesis). It's another mainly pop track, but the melody and proggy interludes make it again a nice Crossover track.

You can always tell the producer wanted a filler when they name the song Another Record. This track is just the same as the previous track. It's not absolutely spectacular, but it's not the most horrid thing ever recorded. The track keeps a consistent melody, confirming my beliefs that its just filler used to fill the second side. Again, not spectacular, but not horrible.

ALBUM OVERALL: An excellent crossover album. There is an obvious presence of pop in the music, which makes it obvious why many fans called it a sell out. But like any musical artist, there is always the desire to expand your fanbase. As classic prog was dying in the 80s, so was all the funding from record companies. You can see this trend in virtually every prog band from the 70s. Yes, King Crimson, Rush, you name it, they adapted with the times. So, this music really isn't that far fetched. No, it's not Foxtrot or Selling England by the Pound, but that era of Genesis had passed anyway. The album contains numerous fantastic tracks, and only one or two "bad" tracks. Overall, not really a bad album, despite what everyone in the prog world seems to think. 3.5 stars, but I'll round up because this album needs it. 4- stars.

Report this review (#369897)
Posted Saturday, January 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you go to the Abacab album page and scroll down real fast, the star ratings almost look like lights going on and off. You see 2, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 4, 2, etc. star ratings. Without reading the other reviews I can tell opinions on this album are very divided. Abacab for me is one of those albums I neither love nor hate. I've read somewhere that this was the only Genesis album where they could not find the original master tapes when they were remastering the back catalogue in the mid-90s. I don't know if that is true or not. This is the only Genesis album I never had on CD. I got a used original cassette copy in a book store; at least I know my copy came from the original master tapes.

This was the groups second UK #1 album and their first US top ten album. I think this album is a little bit more consistent than Duke was. But nontheless, the best songs on that album are better than most of the songs here. I never liked the last two songs on the album. After having a chance to listen to this again, I still don't like them. Originally "Dodo/Lurker" was supposed to be longer incorporating two pieces left off the album: "Naminanu" and "Submarine". They should have including those two and left the last two there now off. "Dodo/Lurker" is of course the proggiest and best song on Abacab. I think this mini-epic is better than almost anything from the previous two albums. It flows so well, being both a great composition and a great performance.

The title track is a slightly proggy pop song. The drumbeat is simple but I like it. I also like Banks' organ-like synth sounds here. The 'jam' at the end goes on a bit too long and doesn't add anything. "No Reply At All" was the big single from the album. I believe this features the horn section from Earth, Wind & Fire (Collins recently working with EWF singer Philip Bailey). This song would have been better off on a Collins solo album. Between the success of this song and "Misunderstanding", the trio decided they would make a better singles-oriented band than an album-oriented one. Hence the next album was self-titled, marking a new beginning (or 'genesis' if you will).

"Who Dunnit?".....a lot of people hate this song, but I love it. It amuses me that some will complain about this band going pop, then turn around and call this the worst Genesis song. This is not a pop song! More of an avant-nursery rhyme (or cryme?) Love that ending. I'm not sure if "Man On The Corner" was released as a single but it should have been. I like the drum machine and synths here. The lyrics forshadow Phil's later hit "Another Day In Paradise". There is a song on Justin Timberlake's last album that sounds very similar to this.

"Dodo/Lurker" proves the group could still prog it out, but most of the songs show they wanted to go in a different direction. Although there is both good singles and album tracks on the next two albums, Abacab was the last Genesis album to be of any interest to a prog fan. And no, it's not all Phil's fault; Banks and Rutherford as just as guilty of wanting to go in the direction they did. Hell, even Peter Gabriel will have some major hits of his own later in the decade. Some people act like Collins forced the other two to sell out. You can picture them both on their knees, crying and begging Phil, "please, we don't want to sell out, please". And then Phil, holding a gun at them, laughs like he does in "Mama". Anyway, this gets 3 stars.

Report this review (#393518)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Abacab is shows even more of a synth-heavy pop sound for Genesis. The songwriting here isn't quite as good as it was on the two previous albums, and seems to me like a mess. The synths on this album for the most part sound very abrasive and dramatic for their own good. There are a couple of songs on this album that seem like attempts to appeal to the fans of Genesis' progressive rock work - the title track and "Dodo/Lurker". These two songs are indeed mildly progressive, but still seem more like longer-than-average pop songs. Those two songs by themselves are at least worth a listen for the purpose of deciding if you like this era of Genesis, but this album isn't recommended at all.
Report this review (#429404)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars "When they do it/you're never there... When you wake in the morning/wake and find you're covered in cellophane/There's a hole in there somewhere"... if you can identify with the lyrics of Abacab very closely then someone has either put a spell on you or really has it in for you! Seriously, I hear a lot of people say that they don't understand what this song is about, but if you listen to the words it really sounds like a song to raise awareness that there is something going on, as in something being done to us inconspicuously that maybe we should take a closer look at. Things are not always what they appear to be on the surface. Like this album. Upon first listen it may seem very simplistic compared to what they had been producing previously, but it's actually a very sophisitcated artistic statement. There are some very subtle things they did with the lyrics and production, like the riddle at the end of "Lurker" that was supposed to lead into "Submarine", a track that was left off the album, but more on that later. They supposedly wanted to change everything that they were doing when they recorded this, and in that they succeded. The synths are sharper, (more saw wavey than moogy), the drums have gated reverb on them, and the guitars are processed into that dimension that radioactive honeyfrogs live in. (Check "Man On the Corner" for an example of one of these guitar sounds.) The songwriting for the most part is still progressive, just that there aren't any more extended solos, save the excellent ones at the end of the title track. Don't I just love that first crashing note at the beggining that tunes down for a split second like someone just accidentally put their hand (or something else) on the record? Anyway, the most traditionally progressive number here is Tony Banks' "Me and Sarah Jane", a song that takes his suspected songwriting style and insterperses many others with it like ska, power pop, and dreamy keyboard psychedelia. It's a weird trip that may be hard to take in at first, but once familiar with the track, very satisfying. "Keep It Dark" is another slow catcher-on-er, unless you're good at catching on to unusual songs like this quickly. I like the utopian lyrics as well as the heavily processed keyboards and falsetto vocals on the chorus, or maybe B-part, more appropriately. They're still doing odd-times here, too, so don't try to say they just reverted to straight beats yet. Speaking of straight beats, they really put a lot of syncopation into a song that's in 4, "No Reply At All." The way the horns, keyboard, and bass all fit together form a very cool mathematical picture in the mind, enveloping a nice piano and vocal interlude that could have been a Phil Collins solo hit on it's own. "Dodo/Lurker" is probably the weirdest track, well besides the very art- wave "Who Dunnit?", and both of these songs have a very strong, crashing drum sound that goes well with those loud saw waves. "Dodo" is packed with some very strange, thought provoking, obscure lines. The last two tracks took a while to grow on me, and while I appreciate them very much now, they're nothing compared to "Man On the Corner", where Phil darkly ruminates over a simple keyboard progression (another great keyboard tone) and one of the catchiest drum machine patters out there. Supposedly, they were considering making Abacab a double, and you can hear a lot of the songs that were left off of it on the various box sets out there - they are all very good! If that would have been then case, the album would have had more of a resemblance to Duke in some ways, but either way, double or single album, I can't not give Abacab 5 stars.
Report this review (#459226)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Abacab" truly marks the beginning of the "pop"-era Genesis, as it's generally referred to. There is a cerain punchiness here that sets this album apart from all of the Genesis albums that came before it, and it 'sets the stage', so to speak, for their next couple of albums that followed. I may be more a fan of the earlier work by this band but I still feel obliged to defend this record because contrary to what certain people will try to make you believe, this is not a 'sell-out' album of mediocre pop songs. There's a high level of musical intelligence and sophistication here and plenty of arresting moments. Tony Banks' solo composition "Me And Sarah Jane" is a definitive example of the compositional brilliance and it works its way through some nice moody sections. "Dodo" is another highlight which starts off with an exciting synth riff, followed by a minor-keyed section before eventually working its way back to the opening section in thrilling fashion. Indeed, there are some strongly pop-rock-flavored tracks, but they're great in their own right. Phil's haunting ballad "Man On the Corner" is among my favourites. The soulful, soaring ballad "Like It Or Not" is also good with Phil's wonderfully passionate vocals. "Keep It Dark" is just ultra-crafty, both musically and lyrically, with an intoxicating chorus. I also love the closer "Another Record". I was never too sure what to make of the notorious "Who Dunnit?" but overall, "Abacab" is an interesting listening experience from an astonishingly creative band. My rating: Three and a half stars.
Report this review (#470603)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Genesis have the most guts out of any band in prog music. How so? because they did exactly what they wanted to and didn't give a damn about what we or anyone else thought. Personally, I always stand up for the Collins-era Genesis for two reasons 1. they sound more like a band and 2. they made POP albums?? Most people call that selling out or whatever but its they did what they wanted and they actually sound more mature as a pop band then a prog band. Plus, just because they weren't ultra complex like the previous albums but they still weren't 100% pop they were on the line between pop and prog.

Well, after my rant lets get to the most controversial album in Genesis' library. It's not a bad album but not a great album. I understand they were trying something different and I expected them too, I want them too. I'm all for updating the sound of a band or them wanting to change and try something different (sounds progressive to me) but this one does work on some terms. Yes Who Dunnit? is a piece of swear word but songs like Abacab, No Reply At All and Dodo/Lurker make up for it. Not bad worth a look see but may not be for you if you listened to Gabriel era first. 3 Stars. Highlights: Abacab, No Reply at All, Keep it Dark, Dodo/Lurker, and Man on the Corner

Report this review (#534721)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Different prog fans mark the moment Genesis sold out at different points in their career. Some feel that the band were never the same when Gabriel left, an opinion I can understand but strongly disagree with. Others feel that when Hackett quit, the band were never quite the same, and whilst that's true enough I still think there's plenty of enjoyable - and, yes, progressive - music on And Then There Were Three and Duke.

But Abacab? Abacab is the clean break. Whilst Duke found a compromise between progressive experimentation and updating the band's sound, it's difficult to see Abacab as anything other than a calculated bid for the mainstream. (They even use Earth, Wind and Fire's horn section on No Reply at All, for crying out loud.) I've nothing against bands evolving or even radically changing their sound, but if you're going to turn your back on your existing fanbase and your own legacy as a band and reinvent yourselves so utterly, it had better be in the pursuit of a really excellent idea, a musical vision compelling enough to make the sacrifice worth it.

For a while I just didn't get Abacab - I think because to an extent I was still mourning the old Genesis, which is daft really because it's not like the old albums have exploded and it's not like there aren't plenty of bands out there ploughing the 1970s Genesis furrow. Recently it clicked for me, but it took me developing more of a taste for slick 1980s Miami Vice yacht rock - the sort of stuff that filled out the 1980s career of Hall and Oates, or Phil Collins' solo career, or for that matter Peter Gabriel's poppier moments.

And it's certainly the case that whilst there's no symphonic prog aspect to this album, there's an art pop sheen to it. Yes, you've got your lighter numbers, but then again you have stuff like Dodo/Lurker, which is hardly something which you can say is mindless bubblegum pop.

So in the end I've come around to Abacab, but I had to take a long break for it and broaden my tastes outside of the prog arena before I could.

Report this review (#568096)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Out of touch, out of tune, out of their mind, somewhere out there.

Abacab is the third or fourth album after Genesis decided to go pop. The music is a mix of 1980s pop and Tamla Motown's funk and soul. The sound is 1980s and Phil Collins is the dominating factor here of the three remaining members.

Me And Sarah Jane is a half decent song. The rest of this album is very bad and not worthy the paper and plastic it comes with. I can accept pop as long as the melodies are good. In the case of Abacab, there is nothing here than noises that makes me angry. I rather have a singing dog trying to imitate Miles Davis than the music on this album. This album is horror of all horrors and a good candidate for my Christmas turkey.

1 star

Report this review (#589467)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars Insufferable 80s kitsch on "Abacab"''. so Whodunnit?

Genesis kills off their prog roots officially and without fanfare with this pungent release. I'd like to say that there is at least one decent track that saves this from the expensive CD coaster category. I'd like to, but I cant. This is simply the worst album of Genesis with nothing much to recommend. It is as good as ELP's abysmal 'Love Beach', also a sell out in its own right. Phil Collins croons with his trademark ballad and occasionally sounds okay such as on melody driven Abacab, the Banks-penned Me and Sarah Jane (surely the best track if any) or No Reply at All.

Occasionally, there is a spark of genius such as on the intro to the weird Another Record, with swathes of synths and piano, but is doesn't last. Soon the whispered Collins balladeering returns, and the crystalline antiseptic cheesy synths. The melody on the title track is okay for example but is ruined by those awful machinations of cymbal heavy drums and silly harmonies. The album stinks for many reasons, not the least being its girly dancey beats that perhaps blasted inside many teenybopper's bedrooms and you can imagine them singing along and grooving in their pleated skirts and boofed out permed hair. This is genuine throwaway pop, designed to get girls dancing on their beds while dreaming of a date with Collins, as they plastered on strawberry scented lip gloss. Perhaps it typifies the 80s throwaway culture, like a disassembled Rubik's Cube, and that new synth soaked sound that dripped like honey out of every amplifier in every bedroom. The stylus crackled on the record player and the synths competed with every crackle absolutely dominating over all guitars, and bass is given a minor role; Rutherford virtually has disappeared on 'Abacab'.

Check out that horned synth solo in Abacab; a real waste of talent with a 4/4 beat that never deviates. Keep It Dark has a cool riff but is destroyed with the overall structure that is repeated. It is incredible coming from a band that used time sig changes so readily in the past; none of that seems to matter here. Reggae rhythms dominates, bright and friendly retro synth, and some awful Earth Wind and Fire rip off sounds. Disco meets 80s kitsch throughout and it is not a pretty sight. Even the album cover looks like Picasso vomited on it.

Man on the Corner is a ballad sounding like a Collins solo album with those derivative effects on the vocals, melodic synth, awful handclaps and Latin inspired rhythms. It sounds like something you could create on a cheap synth rather than a virtuoso band.

Me and Sarah Jane is one that grabs you, written by Banks featuring a time sig change! Interestingly, despite the more proggy touches, it is still as sugary as the rest thanks to some romantically focused lyrics; no signs of any Hogweeds or Slippermen here!

Dodo / Lurker is once again okay but ruined with little variation and too much emphasis on chiming synths. It begins really well but soon inundates with that annoying egomaniac humour of Collins; 'Meanwhile lurking by a stone in the mud, Two eyes looked to see what I was and Then something spoke and this is what It said to me........' This is followed by silly retro synth solos, that are just there to fill in space rather than impress.

The track Whodunit can only be described as that closing line in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar'; 'a nearly liquid mass of loathsome'of detestable putrescence'. The lyrics are 'Was it you or was it me? Or was it he or she? Was it A or was it B? Or was it X or Z?' It repeats ad nauseum 'I didn't, I, I didn't do it.... Oh but we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know.' Repeat another 500 times. How could Genesis and management think people would actually like this?

I could go on, but I am running out of words to describe 'appalling'. There is not a shred of symphonic prog on this and if it contains any style of prog it surely must be hidden under layers of dull 4/4 time sigs, monstrous thick 80s synths and syrupy radio friendliness. 1 star is too generous for this saccharine trash. Perhaps the lyrics of Like it Or Not sum up my feelings on this album; 'Ooh, like it or not, You have done it this time, And like it or not, I've had enough.'

Report this review (#589514)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
The Truth
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars I have never seen what's to hate about bands like Genesis and Yes going pop. The music is less complex but there's still more complexity than normal pop music and it's way more pleasing to the ear than some of the earlier records because of better production. Smoothness does progressive rock wonders and with Abacab it's just a structurally hated album, there are still great tunes on it. Beside Collins sounds just like Gabriel and this era of Genesis sounds just like Gabriel's "So" which is also a great album and receives less flack than this one.

Anyway, Abacab is a great record, perhaps containing more emotionally charged tunes than the supposedly "good" Collins albums like "Trick of the Tail" and "Wind and Wuthering". These tracks are enjoyable to say the least and get stuck in your head (a pleasant thing in this case) more easily than other records. This record and Duke are sadly misunderstood. Progressively, this album is really lacking but I just don't see why so many people find that to be a bad thing. Bands change sounds and if a band does that successful it's to the credit of their virtuosity. Not their big bad commercial break.

Dodo / Lurker is in my head as we speak, a real standout track. All of these tracks are very well constructed and while many progressive rock nuts will say they are not, those reviewers are misunderstood. The tracks are constructed well, just not progressively.

A real gem, regardless of such hostility towards it.

Report this review (#767809)
Posted Friday, June 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ahhhh, Abac**p (sorry for the vulgarity but I couldn't find a better way to describe the album)

The first album I gave one star. Why ? Because it isn't memorable. It is loaded with a lot of bad songs except for Man on The Corner which has a great melody. Could have been a great highlight on Face Value. But it dosen't manages to save this album from a one star status. Now, the bad songs:

ABACAB has all the possibilities to be a great song. Great verses, great choruses but there is one thing. The synth sections are bad.

No Reply at All is more like a disco song than a Genesis song. It's another song full of R&B influences .

Me And Sarah Jane is another try at art rock that dosen't work (this condition began in Cul-De-Sac) Keep It Dark is simply boring.

Dodo/Lurker grooves a lot but begins to have awful voices by mr Phil Collins.

Who Dunnit ? Possibly the worst song Genesis ever written. Repetitive and awful, this song actually gives the album one star.

Like It Or Not. Another 6/8 ballad that could had fitted well in Grease. Grease isn't memorable, so isn't this song.

Another Record has a good intro but it is a bad song.

So my friends, in conclusion, I have bad news. Genesis is dead. The next album is a little better and it never manages the downs of ABACAB.

Report this review (#865999)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm probably overrating this a bit because it seems to me this album is being really unfairly excoriated on here. Is it a classic? No. Is it still enjoyable and far better than many on here seem to think? It is for me.

Look - I realize not much on here would fall into the "Symphonic Prog" category. Tony Banks himself acknowledged that many of the songs have a single mood ("Keep It Dark" probably best illustrating that idea). And the idea that Banks apparently held at the time that "Who Dunnit?" was anything more than a novelty song probably deserves some ridicule. But for all that, there's still some good stuff on here.

The title track, with its heavy cymbal crash at its opener and its overamped, churning bass, gives an immediate indicator that this is not your father's Genesis. It's a new wave album, really. I'll admit to having a weakness for that genre (I own several early Simple Minds albums, for instance), so this does not particularly trouble me. The song itself is energetic, slightly savage sounding at times and all-around good fun. The ending instrumental may be a bit overlong, but hearing the band improvise more over its themes than probably any other song when performing it live (save for "I Know What I Like") is always highly enjoyable.

"No Reply at All" - I recall hearing Banks mention that the cross-hand keyboard technique employed here was reminiscent of some songs on "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (title track, "The Carpet Crawlers" I would guess). That's where the similarity ends, though. It's not a bad song, though the lyrics are at times a bit pedestrian. And the horns are a nice jazz-up even if it broke the band's informal rule of doing everything in-house.

"Me and Sarah Jane" is a pleasant though slightly ominous-sounding ballad, which actually progresses through several moods. The real payoff comes at the end with the some great guitar work from Mike Rutherford. Very enjoyable song.

"Keep It Dark" has a repetitive guitar riff, with Banks supposedly playing bass on the keyboards with his left hand. It's an okay song, with an interesting theme about benevolent alien abduction showing the protagonist how much better life on earth could be, but the lack of melodic variety stifles it somewhat.

The most "proggy" tracks are the side two openers, "Dodo/Lurker". These were originally going to be part of a larger suite on a double album, but the other two songs (the jazzy "Naminanu", which has a similar melody in parts to the intro in "Dodo", and "Submarine", the answer to the "Lurker" riddle) were left off due to time constraints in reducing this to a single LP. Put it all together and it sounds pretty awesome; as presented on the album, the two blended tracks still sound very good. Banks claims he did not really have a specific idea in mind when writing the lyrics, but it would seem overriding themes are nuclear holocaust and the generally animalistic behavior of many humans. This is a song that could have fit on "The Lamb", at least in sound.

"Who Dunnit?" Eh, okay if I'm in the right mood. It's a novelty piece and nothing more. Certainly nowhere near up to snuff with "You Might Recall" or "Naminanu", which could have been included instead.

"Man on the Corner" is a benign Collins R&B-oriented song about homelessness and its frequent causes, with a pleasant-enough melody; however, there is one issue on this song which would plague future releases - the bass being played in step with the drums as opposed to a counterpoint (such as on the excellent "You Might Recall"). This would pop up again in "Mama" and "Second Home by the Sea". Overall, Rutherford seemed to lose some interest in playing the bass over the next few albums, and that, to me, almost as much as the drum machine overuse, tended to make that later material sound more sterile and less imaginative. This would perhaps be the starting point of that trend.

"Like It or Not" is actually a tune I like a lot. Yeah, it's just a song about failed romance, but it has a great melody and the payoff at the end with Collins' excellent backing vocals and Banks' synthesized harmonica still give me chills.

"Another Record" - nothing all that special. Good drumming, though.

Is this a flawed album? Sure. But it's fun. Compositionally it's stronger than anything the band would do going forward overall. And to me it's certainly more distinctive-sounding as well. Add in the venom that some seem to direct toward it, and I have to give it four stars to equalize things somewhat.

Report this review (#935317)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars After "Duke" I had high hopes for the band and then I got ahold of this.

"Abacab" - The really only strongish track on the album.

"No Reply at All" - A simple pop number that's bouncy and happy.

"Me and Sarah Jane" - airy and without much depth at all.

"Keep it Dark" - more pop music with a monotonous kind of keyboard riff driving it.

"Dodo / Lurker" - Way better than much of the above but nothing that I would write home about. Quirky lyrics and keyboard.

"Who Dunnit" - this is terrible - attempts to be funny.

"Man on the Corner" - Beat machine? I hate em. I like this track though. Very simple but it has a melancholy sound that I don't mind.

"Like it or Not" - A dumb love song that is innocuous but I don't mind the sound.

"Another Record" - The name of the track kind of sums this album up for me - it's just another record.

What on earth was this? On the interview that I listened to Banks admits to purposely breaking away from the old Genesis sound. When Genesis played the Abacab tracks live at around this time they were boo'd in Holland. On first hearing this I must have added to the chorus of boo's that there were plenty of from fans of older Genesis material. As a progressive album this is about as usefull as a nail in the foot. To me it became Phil Collins - pop crooner - and his backing band from here on in. I can only award two stars here as it is a poor if innocuous album that I wouldn't even recommend to collectors or fans of the band - it is, however, good at what it is - a total turnaround from the band into teen love angst music.

Report this review (#946856)
Posted Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Not having an especially strong connection to Genesis' prog output, I can listen to Abacab and let its merits, flaws, and distinctively '80's vibe stand on its own without feeling cheated that one of my favorite bands just turned their backs on me. I don't think that this is a "love it or hate it" album because there isn't enough good stuff to love, and not enough bad stuff to hate; in fact, reading through reviews here seems like it's a "hate it or ignore it" album. I definitely fall into the second category.

The title track opens to a driving back beat, strong vocals, some raucous synth work. I kind of like it, actually, until we get to the song's midpoint, at which point it goes off the rails and just sort of fritters away 2.5 minutes with keyboard noodling. I can see how this song alone sets the stage for all of the hate that this album gets!

"No Reply At All" is, for what it is, actually pretty fun. It's a solid pop song - upbeat, catchy, with a great feel and strong bass grooves. The synth horns are dated and corny (and performing an ironic call-and-response with Phil), making this song fit very easily into Phil Collins' solo output. Actually, the same goes for "Man on the Corner", which almost sounds like a warm-up for Collin's hit, "In the Air Tonight". These two songs highlight what is probably the best thing about Abacab: Phil Collins being an excellent vocalist.

"Keep it Dark" and "Dodo/Lurker" are easily the album standouts, especially for those clinging to whatever few vestiges of artsy prog are left in Genesis at this point. "Dodo/Lurker" is actually very good; it's dramatic, dynamic, and interesting as it passes through different moods with engaging lyrics. A nice example of 80's prog.

Do yourself and skip track 6, which is definitely the worst song by Genesis that I've ever heard.

Abacab ends with two bland, gutless, and directionless tracks. Which is too bad, because it leaves the listener with a bad impression of the album as a whole, which isn't terrible. My average of this album worked out to 2.6, which I think is about right.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances:2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#1408173)
Posted Monday, May 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is the demarcation between the end of the early post-Gabriel Genesis sound, heavy on mellotron and with lots of acoustic instrumentation, and the beginning of the 80's funky, poppy, harder-edged electric sound. Collins' voice becomes harder to match the music. Unfortunately, the approach to this sound is blase almost throughout. I hated No Reply at All initially -- couldn't get past the horns -- but now I regard it as one of the better tracks. At least it moves! Mike's quirky, funky bass line is amazingly difficult to play -- Mike Gordon of Phish didn't even try when the band covered this song during their Hall of Fame presentation of Genesis' induction. Abacab and Dodo are also worthwhile listens; Abacab especially with it's expressive guitar solo over the most minimalist bassline ever (one note repeated over and over!) and accented by funky, almost as minimalist keyboard chord patterns. The rest of it is boring (Man on the Corner) or cringeworthy (Who Dunnit), sometimes both in the same song (Keep It Dark). In my opinion this may be the worst album of the Phil Collins era, with only Invisible Touch as a rival.
Report this review (#1618698)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
3 stars This is the album where the band decided to go with a different sound with producer Hugh Padgham who wanted a bigger drum sound. The influence of Phil Collins is becoming more important bringing his past solo experience with "Face Value". It did not have a success among the critics and some old fans of Genesis. "Abacab", "Dodo/Lurker", "Keep it Dark" are solid tracks and "Me and Sarah Jane" show a return to some music complexity of the past. "Who Dunnit" is a strange and funny song that came from an experimentation of Tony Banks with his synths. For the rest of the songs that have a more simple structure, i still enjoy listening to them after many years. "No Reply At All" with the addition of horns is typical of a song from Phil Collins solo material. "Another Record" is maybe the weakest track of this album.
Report this review (#1773339)
Posted Sunday, August 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
2 stars #1 Review

This is the worst Genesis album (yes, worse than Calling All Stations), this will probably change since i'm still unable to understand why some people love this album... being the worst Genesis album, is not that bad and it's also not saying much, you just have to live here in latin america, hear the most modern radio and then you'll know what horrible music is.

This review will be per song, so here i go:

1.- Abacab: 7/10 My favorite song in the album by just a little, it doesn't feel as repetitive as the rest of the songs and its really catchy, sometimes i hear something that starts similar and i want to sing this simple yet interesting song. The other thing that enhances this song is the live version done in 1987, it is a lit better than the studio version, so i think this song its over this album.

2.- No Reply At All 5/10 This song feels like Phil, it has the trumpets, its catchy and really well executed, not that very prog but its a great song, that also doesn't feel like it should be in the album.

3.- Me and Sarah Jane 9/10 I really like how it starts, i like the lyrics and the song in all changes constantly, its a really pretty song and also very complex, but i don't feel like all the instruments are doing the work they need to do with the song, including the voice, it feels like a mess sometimes, but it is not bad, and also it is played in a much better way live... or i should say "Three Sides Live".

4.- Keep it Dark 4/10 I don't like it, it starts interesting, but then is it as if Abacab struck into the song and then it just gets repetitive quickly, this song should be like 1 and a half minute, not more than 4 minutes!

5.- Dodo/Lurker 8/10 This was the other song in the album that almost got to be my favorite, its really catchy and it starts with a bang, shoutouts to the aweosome drum work here, i think that this song acomplishes the objective of the album better than Abacab itself, but Abacab its just a better song... by a little.

6.- Who Dunnit? 2/10 I can't even listen to it, its the worst song that Genesis has ever done, this is the main reason why i think Abacab is the worst Genesis album, its silly, it sound horrible and its badly executed, why Tony Banks, why?!? - Update: This song was a intended as an experiment and then made into a joke.

7.- Man on the Corner 3/10 Its a boring song with boring and effortless synths.

8.- Like it or not 4/10 An average song , it feels like an average 80s rock song. I love the start but it never evolves, it goes backwards.

9.- Another Record 5/10 Starts interesting, but it's just average, what a way to end this album, the same way that it is.

The album overall gets a 52/100 points, wich translates to 2 stars.

Update: Ok, when i wrote the first update i forgot to talk about the "Dodo Suite", the one that's composed of Naminami, Dodo/Lurker and Submarine, and that's a really good suite that could've saved this album, even tho i increased some score into Invisible Touch because of some unreleased songs it was more about the intention, inspiration and technicality that they put in the songs that represented the ones that aren't, while here in Abacab... we see none of that, we obviously have Dodo/Lurker, but it feels out of place and even incomplete without Submarine.

Mini-Update 27-2-18 & 4-5-18: Fixed some song points.

Mini-Update 3-4-19 : Fixed some points, Added a little thing to Like it or Not and Me and Virgil, changed scores of B-Sides to fit with the scores of 3x3, i realized my mistake of giving Me and Virgil the wrong score, mixing the writing and score with other song. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

B-Sides

1.- You Might Recall 6/10 Starts really interesting but then it feels like any pop-phil genesis song, not a lot happening on the instruments, but more on Phil's voice. Really not a song for me, it's simple, fits this album, but it also has some interesting things going from time to time.

2.- Naminanu 9/10 One of those songs that feel like they come from Brand X, it's really good, despite some repetitive parts and the dull lyrics. The music here is really captivating and its specially more knowing that it's part of a suite, that includes Dodo/Lurker after this and after that the next song.

3.- Submarine 8/10 It continues from Dodo/Lurker and feels right into place, while it reminds to some other songs done in soundtracks and by different bands, this song has something special on it besides the title, it can make you wonder about things, look into the ocean and make you think how small we are, and things alike. The only problem is that this song is too repetitive, but maybe it needs to be like that in order for this suite to end in a beautyful way.

4.- Me & Virgil 3/10 An interesting love ballad with an sticky rythm, it feels really 50s and i like it a little, when you start thinking that its repetitive, it suddenly changes, and the song gets destroyed and boring, the interesting part near the end doesn't save it, the song is just annoying.

5.- Paperlate 5/10 The other typical Phil Collins song that was in this album, with those trumpets that are really nice. This song is better than No Reply at All.

This is it for the B-Sides of this album, as i promised, while it doesn't change the overall score of the album, the average score is a 66/100, much better than the original release, Abacab would've been much better if some of these songs were included.

Aside from this, i'm planing on reviewing the concerts for each album and the videos, but for now i'll continue with B-sides for every album and new reviews.

Report this review (#1784900)
Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
1 stars Simply dreadful. This is certainly not prog. It's pop and it's not even good pop at that. It's such a sad decline for a once great prog rock band.

Of course they were "going with the times" and doing what they thought they had to do, but I can't give them any redemption for that, as there were plenty of prog artists who didn't follow the commercial trend (Van de Graaf Generator is the first that springs to mind).

Phil Collins' voice is mostly horrible and grating throughout this album and he shouts as much as he sings. Just listen to the terrible "Who dunnit?" for the worst example of repetitive shouting.

There is no interesting use of instrumentation and the music is bland pop not even played that well.

Okay, they can play their instruments, but I regard that as a basic requirement. If you can't play your instrument then get off the stage!

I couldn't recommend this trash to anyone.

Really awful stuff. No points. Okay one point because I have to.

Report this review (#2009956)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
patrickq
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars There's a bit of a debate as to when Genesis "sold out" or "went pop." A few fans would say it happened right after The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, when Peter Gabriel left; many put it after Wind & Wuthering, with Steve Hackett's departure. But there are more than a few who feel the band was still progressive for another album or two - - or three. 

But I suspect that most fans of 1970s Genesis would say the that the band's progressive heyday was definitely over by the time Abacab was released. As someone who's liked Genesis music for decades, but who isn't a Genesis expert, I think the band still had something to offer fans of progressive rock in 1981.

The best songs here are opening numbers of each side of the vinyl: "Abacab" and "Dodo / Lurker." They're also the longest and most "progressive" tracks. In my opinion, they represent something close to an ideal marriage of prog-rock and early-1980s new-wave -  - and on these songs Genesis seems to meld the two styles effortlessly. 

The effort seems more laborious on three others songs on Abacab, "Keep it Dark," "Who Dunnit?," and "Me and Sarah Jane." Each is a reasonably good song to which some progressiveness has been added. In particular, I sense a great three-minute pop song lurking in "Me and Sarah Jane." On the other hand, "No Reply at All," "Like it or Not," and "Another Record" - - the poppiest songs here - - are played without much pretense, and while "Another Record" is little more than filler, the other two, especially "No Reply," benefit from being played straight. 

The hardest song to classify along these lines in "Man on the Corner." It is a new-wavish pop song, but it's art-pop, and like "Abacab" and "Dodo / Lurker," no undue effort seems to have been made to force "Man in the Corner" to sound progressive.

I'm erring on the side of conservatism in assigning Abacab three stars; it's probably the band's best three-star album, but doesn't quite rise to the level of, say, A Trick of the Tail. Nonetheless, it's a solid album.

Report this review (#2151391)
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm somewhat in between of those who intensely dislike this album and those who like it, thus an easy three star album for me. The title track is a brilliant team effort, for once Mike Rutherford displaying some good lead guitar, Tony Banks adding some great keyboard flashes and Phil Collins driving it all forward. Great staple addition to their live performances over their next few years and just maybe we get to hear it live again next year when the band reunites.

No Reply At All is actually a very good song once you get past any bias you have about a horn section belonging on a Genesis record. Me And Sarah Jane is Tony Banks attempting melancholy. Personally I don't like it, but others might. When Banks sticks to darkness I love it. Watchers Of The Skies is just about my favorite Genesis track. You won't find anything like that here on Abacab unfortunately.

Keep It Dark is awful. While Abacab is an example of a seven minute song which seems to be over in less than three minutes, Dodo/Lurker is an example of a seven minute song which still seems to be dragging it's feet after fourteen minutes. Who Dunnit makes Keep It Dark a musical masterpiece by comparison.

If you haven't lost interest in the album by the time you get past the first two tracks on side two you have a couple of treats ahead of you. Man On The Corner is a very good laid back number by Phil Collins, while Like It Or Not is a very good love song by Mike Rutherford with some great Banks keyboard work.

If the band could have finished this album with a half decent number I would have added a half a star to my score. Not to be. They give us Another Record.

Report this review (#2352079)
Posted Friday, April 17, 2020 | Review Permalink

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