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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.90 | 58 ratings

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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.

patrickq | 3/5 |


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