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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover

ABACAB

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1474 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FalconBleck
2 stars Update Feb. 24th 2023 Almost 6 years ago i did this review, then updated it last time almost 4 years ago, and my perception of this album has changed a bit, but i maintain that its the album i listen the least alongside the self-titled album, and the reason is because some tracks i just don't like. Even though i called it the worst album, i really enjoy the sound in some parts, as well as being overall an excellent effort by the band, as all their efforts were, yet you will notice that sessions were better overall than the album, in fact they were so good that they played many of those pieces live, yet they abandoned Abacab from future tours pretty quickly, played from the album tour, 2 albums more and then no more, one of the most marginalized albums live... atleast they rehearsed Abacab many times.

Now, how did this all change by song? 1.- Abacab (7/10): Showcasing the new sound with harder drums, stripped down keyboards, more hard playing guitar, non-sense lyrics and a seemingly standard structure, yet they had to f*ck up with not following an standard structure, and adding a cool solo improvisation at the end, that i maintain is Better Live (shoutouts to that series). So this track does many things that i love about Genesis, except that the objective in it was to do all that i don't, and that makes it a solid 7/10.

2.- No Reply At All (7/10): The only track from this album that i heard at the radio playing in 2019, that's incredible, and this track, well, Tony Banks said that he used the cross-hand technique he used on The Lamb, and that's true, this is actually pretty fun to play, and i really like the changes and some weird background chords that this track has. About the horns, its easy to jump and dismiss this track as a Phil Collins pop schtick when hearing them, that probably contributed to this song's popularity, but i don't mind, there is a live version without them, and you might find this song better, but for now, i care about what the composition is doing, glad to have another complex happy song from this band, also shoutouts to the bass. Why a 7/10 then? Well, the horns are still annoying and the ending i don't like, clearly not 10/10 material but still pretty good. Shoutouts to the bass!

3.- Me and Sarah Jane (9/10): This track is the closest to early Genesis, it feels like a track missing from Duke, while also having disjointed keyboard notes similar to the introduction of Time Table, and yet it gives this Wind & Wuthering feeling, and yet the lyrics are pretty simple. This song has the constant changes that you want and expect from Tony Banks, as well as featuring this new funkier sound, it feels pretty surreal, so far all 3 songs feel very different. Honestly, this track feels like an experience to me, and i can't take it as less than a master-piece, there is just too little i don't like about it, like this song feels like it has to be longer, hence the score.

4.- Keep It Dark (6/10): Previously i was harsh on this track, because i never realized that the beats are on disjointed times, i also enjoy the harsh sound, but particularly the weird keyboards and lyrics, so far this track is a winner, yet there is not many things happening in the song, the drums and guitar riff are mostly static, and the change is ok but it could be weirder, i also really like how the song goes very high, but i feel like it needs more.

5.- Dodo/Lurker (8/10): If this had been a suite, i could've given it a bigger score, i mean, you get a new sound, with stripped down stuff, almost no lyrics, a harsh sound to atract a new audience, yet you still do a long suite of songs like in the old times? Well, this Dodo/Lurker track is great, continuing from Behind The Lines with an incredible start, with the ugly and weird sounds that this album offers. I really enjoy this track, is a classic and shows the potential of the new sounds and techniques, yet i had to reduce 2 points because of the reggae sections that i don't like.

6.- Who Dunnit? (5/10): I was very harsh with this track, as everyone has been, and you know, the drums are boring, the singing is terrible, the song is not very complex, but i have to say, this track is funny in most contexts, live is excellent too, and the sounds of the Prophet-5, i love them. Now do me a favor, to understand why this song is solid, play it on the keyboards.

7.- Man On The Corner (3/10): This track is a mood, that's the positive, again, how it sounds, what tells and what is hapenning through the song, not much. The problem is that it really bores me, i know what it is doing, but the drum change is not enough to justify this track being so long, i feel like this should be part of something bigger, even though it is part of this album, and its again another curve ball, its not one that i need for almost 5 minutes. 8.- Like It Or Not (2/10): We keep getting worse, this track is click-bait, it hooks you with a cool introduction, and its a ballad, but a boring one, after all these years i still don't care about it, and the band seemingly doesn't care as well. 2 points for the good intro and the good change, at half the track, sadly i'm not invested in anything else from this track, even the way Phil sings here annoys me.

9.- Another Record (3/10): I think that i said this introduction reminds me a lot of Smallcreep's Day, so there was potential, only to be ruined by harmonica sounds. The singing seems pretty modern to me, reminds me of 90s rock a bit, pretty interesting. Overall this track is better than the previous one because i feel like something is actually hapenning, and could be better than Man On The Corner even, but they had to add the worse sounds ever done by Genesis, and what those sounds are doing aren't worth the hassle.

B1.- You Might Recall (6/10): From 3x3, 6/10 on that review from 2019. I truly enjoy this track, i think that it gets me in a certain mood that no Genesis song or solo has guided me to, the biggest problem with this song though are the way Phil sings, there are some sections that i truly dislike, but overall, this track makes me feel like i'm having a nice calm day, probably on vacation but not doing anything particularly festive, just admiring the sky, walking the light washed foggy streets, maybe a bit of summer rain, with ray lights in between, so once again, visual music, with a good rythm section to boot, yet not much more, i shouldn't ask more from this track because it could probably ruin it, but i will, this track could use a break in between, and definitely and ending.

B2.- Naminanu (6/10): Actually insane drum playing, yet not much going on besides that, enjoy the changes again, they remind me of dodo a bit, and the bass rythm is quite catchy, even though part of the Dodo Suite, i haven't enjoyed my time listening to this one while waiting for Dodo, i would've made this one shorter and have it repeat its title less. I enjoy the guitar here, overall a nice instrumental with some pretty cool solos that could've been something better.

B3.- Submarine (7/10): As a track that continues from Lurker, its excellent, purposed for an ending it works, but stand alone its bit too repetitive, somehow this one has the quality of some of those calm instrumentals on The Lamb, so i think that its worth of your time, even with repetition.

B4.- Me and Virgil (5/10): From 3x3, 3/10 on that review from 2019. The singing is a bit annoying, and the intention of the track is missed a bit, it feels incomplete, like some effects or stakes are missing, yet the bone is there, some melodies are annoying as well but somehow it gets into me, it has some cool changes and the lyrics make me very sad. Back in the day i thought i got the hate for this song but now i don't, there is a lot to like, it just needed to be better, is it probably because the song is too sad?

B5.- Paperlate (5/10): From 3x3, 5/10 on that review from 2019. A happy track with horns again, i remember liking this one better than No Reply, now i feel that the cross hand is more appealing to me. I have to say that this track doesn't overstate its welcome, its a perfectly rounded little track with good changes that remind me of Me and Virgil a bit. This track is a fun diversion, the horns annoy more than No Reply, the bass is not as sick and the chorus doesn't appeal to me really much.

Total: 56/100, even with all the changes, i still think that this album is a 2 star, i think that this time the B-sides hampered the score a bit, yet my least favorite tracks from these sessions are on the main album, i don't know what were they thinking with those.

One key word on this whole ordeal: "Potential", this album probably has some better sessions, if they kept the Dodo Suite instead of those 2 later tracks, the album's score would definitely be a solid 3 star.

--------------------------------------- #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.

FalconBleck | 2/5 |

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