You know. The one that you like a song or two off of it, so you say, 'hey, give it a whirl', and you buy it and give it a listen. You stick to the excellent singles for a while, and then start to play the others. You enjoy them. You then play the whole damn thing through in one go, and then do it again. And again. Because it has grabbed you and is never, ever letting you go. And you want to shout it's praises in public, in the most superlative, terrible detail, to the bemusement of everyone else. Which is what I'm about to do here. You were warned.
'Lexicon...' is about love. Heartbreak, longing, bitterness, break-up, happiness- but instead of a string of cliched routine pop songs, ABC made what is essentially a kind of pop concept album. It even sort of features a persona, as Martin Fry's voice showcases the innocence of hopeful love and bitterness of a man scorned who feels frustration and sadness but is unable to really vent his anger (like most people, really). Each track is individual(there is no 'fade out' on any of the tracks) but also part of a whole, in terms of theme and execution.
'Show Me' opens the album, but by the end has become frantic in it's speed, and abruptly finishes, to then immediately launch into the splendid 'Poison Arrow', a perfectly produced bit of pop, complete with bitter, and possibly slightly ironic, lyrics, and a classic chorus ('Who broke my heart. YOU did, YOU did'). On 'Tears Are Not Enough', as Fry opens with a near falsetto, but proceeds to sound almost vicious ('yes you're shown you're tough...tears are not enough'). 'Valentine's Day' is notable for the wonderful ending lyrics, and the single 'Look of Love' also is a great showcase for Martin's great pop range, beginning on a high note and finishes with a vocal flourish that indicates his joy in the performance itself.
'All of My Heart' manages to be a pop ballad that fits this mostly up-tempo album, and despites first appearances, is not sappy. And 'Together 4 Ever' finishes the main part of the album in a desperate, dark finale that is both like and unlike the rest of it. 'Look of Love Part 4' is a pleasant, soaring instrumental, and I've always had a soft spot for the bonus track, the Mantrap theme, which is a reworking of 'Poison Arrow' which wouldn't sound amiss playing in the bar in 'Casablanca'- simple and melancholy.
'Lexicon' is great. Well-produced, well-written, well-performed, smart, fun and inventive, and one of the few pop albums that can be played now and still sound fresh. Worth trying, for there is a good chance that you'll like it, and the possibility that you might think it's just a bit more special.