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ABC – The Lexicon of Love (1982)

January 28, 2015

[Album 372/1001]ABC-Lexicon

I’m always on the lookout for music references that I can bring into my high school classes.

For example, the standard form of a line is written in the form Ax+By+C=0.

Can you guess which Jackson 5 song I play to introduce this format (though at least one student inevitably guesses I Want You Back)?

Now I haven’t tried it (yet), but I’d anticipate hearing the sound of crickets if I said, “OK, this time let’s write the equation using a format not unlike the group who recorded the 1982 album, The Lexicon of Love, which of course is…*tumbleweed rolling*”

Which of course is a shame as this ABC record is an ambitious, impressive debut.

I try to use the song of the day at the beginning of each class as an initial hook; if my lesson intro gets a student’s attention, they’re more likely to stay tuned.

The intro to Show Me certainly reeled me in with the glossy strings, the bold horns, and the delicious bass pattern.  Consequently, my attention was easily maintained for the remainder of the record.

Although listening to the LP was fun, it would have been even better to see them perform the entire record alongside a live orchestra, as they did in 2009.

The production is slick, yet satisfying.  I’ve since learned the producer Trevor Horn has been credited with “inventing the 80s.”  Although some might consider that to be a blemish on a CV, I’d say it’s quite a compliment!

As the 80s can have that polarizing effect, I’d imagine listener reaction to The Lexicon of Love is probably divided based on genre preferences.

If the term ‘new wave’ is considered a bad word in your musical vocabulary (or lexicon if you will), I doubt this album will single-handedly convert any non-believers.

However, if ‘new wave’ is loved within your musical lexicon (whaddya mean it’s a wordplay stretch), ABC goes down easy as 1-2-3.

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From → 1980s

10 Comments
  1. Great post and interesting to read a view from someone listening for the first time. Its such a key record of 1980’s pop in the UK that its hard to form an objectuve opinion of it now.

    I love this record. Always have done since it was released during my early teens. It was the catalyst for a devotion to ABC that exceeded the standard if their later output.

    That said, I do hold a candle for their much maligned second album Beauty Stab, which is only now receiving the attention it deserves. I wrote a piece about it in my blog a couple of years ago if you are interested:
    ABC – Beauty Stab (1983) | Record at Random
    https://recordatrandom.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/abc-beauty-stab-1983/

    Be intetested to know what you think of this.

    • Good to hear from you Record at Random – enjoyed the review, definitely keen on hearing Beauty Stab as well!

  2. ianbalentine permalink

    Beauty Stab IS a fantastic record. I hope it gets the deluxe treatment as Lexicon did a few years back. Trevor Horn would go on to do some of the most fantastic, and memorable, production jobs of the ’80’s (in addition to fulfilling a personal dream and becoming a member of YES for a spell). My favorite of his is most definitely Left To My Own Devices by the Pet Shop Boys, but this ranks a close second. Great post!

    • Just picked up one of those Horn productions, Welcome to the pleasuredome, on LP last weekend – my thanks Ian!

  3. ianbalentine permalink

    That is a tour de force production job! Glad you like it..

  4. Hypocrite that i am, i like this one because it is so polished. Poison Arrow especially.

    • Then I shall join you in hypocrisy – I tend to either like my recordings super-scrappy or super-refined, not so much in between!

  5. Wow you’re on turf I’ve nt yet trod… trodden… trode? Oh hell, this one is news to me.

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