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2 stars (The first review.)

Abacab (1981) is a very odd Genesis album: on the other hand it's very poppy, minimalistic, synthetic and distanced far away from traditional prog, on the other hand it's very brave and experimental in some way. The trio wrote the music more collectively, with a jam-based approach, than usual. One could almost say it's so bad that it becomes good (or then not: I used to listen to it for some time in the 80's but haven't bothered to borrow it again). This single includes the deliciously silly title track featuring some weird synth playing, and 'Another Record' which is one of the more ordinary pop songs on the album, reminding some material from their next eponymous album (1983). The latter track (or album, for that matter) maybe stands better repeated listenings but has less score for originality.

They did quite many singles at that era (from Duke, Abacab and Genesis). Did they really aim at the single market or were they told to release singles by the record company, I don't know. If this was on a jukebox - and it was the early eighties - I would rather play The Police, U2 or Dire Straits for example. And it's not necessarily the worst possible single from Genesis.

Report this review (#661734)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ahhh, ABACAB, the Genesis album that was 25% great and 75% wasted. This single, from the doldrums of prog (1981) contains "Abacab" and "ANother Record". The first is a pretty good, not-really prog song that I do enjoy a lot. The latter is a poppy song that does nothing for me.ALthough, for this album, I guess they did a pretty good job of picking these two songs to be on a single. Not great but ok. For collectors only, however, as I can notice no differences in these songs to the way they were presented on the original complete ABACAB album. Both could have fit well on Phil's solo albums.
Report this review (#749375)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars This single has an edited version of "abacab" from the album of the same name. Like the original album version, it shows a then "new" Genesis in sound, with more simple songs. In this case, the song has a very monotonous bass pedals and bass guitar part playing by Mike Rutherford, with some keyboard sounds (also "new" then) by Tony Banks, and very present but also a bit monotonous drums part by Phil Collins, also with a "new" sound thanks to Hugh Padgham, a very good recording engineer / producer who also had worked with Collins and Peter Gabriel as soloists, and with other bands like The Police, and with YES in their "Drama" album. Maybe the best "new" part in the "abacab" album was the presence of Padgham`s very good recording techniques. The song has simple lyrics, and by the end of the song it has good synth /guitar solos interactions which worked very well in concert, also thanks to two drums played along by Collins (playing "lead drums" along with Rutherford and /or Banks) and Chester Thompson. This instrumental final part was cut in the single version.

"Another Record" in the "B" side of this single is the final song from the "abacab" album, with some influences by New Wave music, good drums by Collins, and a keyboard playing some melodies on most parts of the song sounding like an harmonica. With lyrics asking the listener to play "another record" after lsitening to the "abacab" album. "Another Record" was the only song from the "abacab" album which never was played in concert.

Report this review (#1153095)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars The 1980s are often cited as the "worst decade" for progressive rock. Maybe that was simply due to genre fatigue; prog-rock was a decade removed from its initial heyday, so perhaps the first generation of artists would've chosen to try something new even if the record-buying public hadn't found a new proverbial flavor of the month. As it happened, the late 1970s and 1980s was an early high point of new-wave rock, and some progressive rock bands, now entering their second decade, moved into new-wave territory.

"Abacab," the a-side of this single, is an edited version of a seven-minute song from the album of the same name. The single edit retains the first three and a half minutes of the original, after which the intro is repeated, followed by an instrumental verse, during which the single fades. The splice itself seems a bit amateurish compared to many single edits, although it's no worse than plenty singles that were bigger hits. 

As good as the full-length "Abacab" is, the first section makes a great early-1980s new-wave single. The insistent bass-synthesizer sequence is paired with the live drums to provide a mechanical rhythm section for the lead and supporting synthesizer parts. Apparently, a majority of the song is comprised of major chords, but it's still somewhat dark. The lyrics, whose composition doesn't appear to have taken too much of the group's time, exhibit the same told-you-so paranoia as Phil Collins's later hit "In the Air Tonight," and are a good match for the enigmatic chord sequence.

The "Abacab" single, while not a masterpiece, is a nice piece of new-wave rock. It's also not essential to buy the single to get this version; the "UK single edit" (which I'm reviewing here) appears on Turn it On Again: The Hits and can be downloaded via itunes from that same album.


* The b-side is "Another Record," an LP cut from Abacab. To me, a b-side should only positively impact the rating of a single. So let's just say that "Another Record" doesn't impact my rating here.

Report this review (#2165620)
Posted Thursday, March 14, 2019 | Review Permalink

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