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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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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.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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