Sunday, 7 February 2010

Track of the Week 2010: #6

ABC - 'Date Stamp'

From time to time I've been known to dig out an old album and give it spin after spin for no reason other than said album is completely awesome. For the past two weeks The Lexicon of Love by ABC has been that album. Released in 1982 it's a showcase of the mastery of the pop genre and stands up as possibly the greatest pure pop album of all time. That may sound like an exaggeration, but trust me it is not.

When I first started listening to the album it took me a while to get used to. The production is supplied by genius Trevor Horn but sounds on the surface to be a very '80's record. It's very slick and contains all manner of over-the-top flourishes (brass, strings, extra vocals etc). Still, I persevered as I was already fairly familiar with the songs due to them being played by my dad all throughout my childhood.

ABC never released anything after The Lexicon of Love that came anywhere close to it. There was the occasional single that was pretty good ('When Smokey Sings' for instance) but much of it was forgettable. Subsequently this album became much more than the band both in terms of its sound and commercial success. Albums these days seldom get as big, in terms of their scale and ambition, as The Lexicon of Love and this is sad. How amazing would it be if one of today's better pop groups forgot for a moment that the album was tied to their brand name and just produced something more than themselves?

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