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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover

ABACAB

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.58 | 1165 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Not having an especially strong connection to Genesis' prog output, I can listen to Abacab and let its merits, flaws, and distinctively '80's vibe stand on its own without feeling cheated that one of my favorite bands just turned their backs on me. I don't think that this is a "love it or hate it" album because there isn't enough good stuff to love, and not enough bad stuff to hate; in fact, reading through reviews here seems like it's a "hate it or ignore it" album. I definitely fall into the second category.

The title track opens to a driving back beat, strong vocals, some raucous synth work. I kind of like it, actually, until we get to the song's midpoint, at which point it goes off the rails and just sort of fritters away 2.5 minutes with keyboard noodling. I can see how this song alone sets the stage for all of the hate that this album gets!

"No Reply At All" is, for what it is, actually pretty fun. It's a solid pop song - upbeat, catchy, with a great feel and strong bass grooves. The synth horns are dated and corny (and performing an ironic call-and-response with Phil), making this song fit very easily into Phil Collins' solo output. Actually, the same goes for "Man on the Corner", which almost sounds like a warm-up for Collin's hit, "In the Air Tonight". These two songs highlight what is probably the best thing about Abacab: Phil Collins being an excellent vocalist.

"Keep it Dark" and "Dodo/Lurker" are easily the album standouts, especially for those clinging to whatever few vestiges of artsy prog are left in Genesis at this point. "Dodo/Lurker" is actually very good; it's dramatic, dynamic, and interesting as it passes through different moods with engaging lyrics. A nice example of 80's prog.

Do yourself and skip track 6, which is definitely the worst song by Genesis that I've ever heard.

Abacab ends with two bland, gutless, and directionless tracks. Which is too bad, because it leaves the listener with a bad impression of the album as a whole, which isn't terrible. My average of this album worked out to 2.6, which I think is about right.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances:2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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