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Non-Prog CD Reviews

ABC

Absolutely

Review by Gary Hill

ABC's blend of danceable pop really took over MTV for a year or two in the `80`s. This album is a compilation of many of their hits, some of them from that time period. The band always brought a strong lyrical content and meaty arrangement to their work, setting them above a lot of the other bands of that genre.

The two core members of ABC are Martin Fry and Mark White. Yes fans should also take note that Trevor Horn produced several of the tracks on this disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Poison Arrow
This is a strong, funky song with a Bowieesque texture.
Look of Love
A bit discofied, but again Bowieish, this one is quite potent and features effective backing vocals and string section. The spoken segment is an exceptionally poignant portion of a very emotional number.
All of My Heart
"Once upon a time when we were friends, I gave you my heart, the story ends, No happy ever after, now we're friends." That verse serves to set up this song which asks, "What's it like to have loved, and to lose her touch." The lyrics really steal the show on this cut, being very well written and universal. "Well I hope and I pray that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart." This ballad with lush string arrangement features wonderful writing and arranging, and is full of lyrical magic.
Tears Are Not Enough
Featuring a very funky bass line and horn section, this is a considerably addictive and catchy number. "Blueprint that says that boy meets girl, Picture: girl meets boy, Picture in a magazine." This piece also features a wonderful keyboard break an intriguing vocal arrangement.
That Was Then, But This Is Now
Having that wonderful ABC poppy, but still meaty, dance sound, this one takes on harder edges and a rather quirky arrangement. Still string-laden, it features a rather psychotic sounding guitar break.
SOS
This pretty rock ballad features a section late in the piece that is quite Bowieish.
How To Be A Millionaire
An upbeat, danceable tune, this one has some unusual looping and an almost techno tone at times. It is a high-energy tune that really delivers.
Be Near Me
Featuring some exciting bass sounds, this is a very competent and bouncy love ballad.
When Smokey Sings
With an intro that feels a lot like the previous cut, the song quickly takes on its own uniqueness. It has a catchy Motown texture with a more modern arrangement. Lyrically it is a tribute to Smokey Robinson, but also mentions several other R & B greats. "Luther croons, Sly's the original-originator, James screams, Marvin was the only innovator, But nothing can compare, Nothing can compare, When Smokey sings."
The Night You Murdered Love
Another funky cut, this one is quite emotional and the arrangement is wonderful. "Didn't use a blade, You poisoned the moonlight, When you put out the sun, It's cold outside-the night love died, On the night you murdered love."
King Without A Crown
Featuring a rather sparse arrangement, the funky bass line serves as the main backdrop for this powerful vocal line.
One Better World
Funky and soulful, this one features an awesome keyboard jam segment.
Ocean Blue
This is a mellow ballad with a strong bass sound. "Well you took me home, And you took me back, But deep inside, The feeling just died and I couldn't see why." The arrangement here is quite orchestral and progish, even a bit in the mode of Rick Wakeman at times.
The Look Of Love (1997 Remix)
This is a funkier remix of "The Look Of Love".
Be Near Me (Munich Dance Mix)
The title pretty much says it all, this one is a dance mix take on the original.
One Better World (Pickering Park Mix)
This is a techno dance rendition of "One Better World."
 
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