When this album was released in 1982, I was 15, thin and thought I knew it all. Thirty years on I am fatter and am aware that I know very little. But I do know this record is one of the greatest pop albums ever made and that it should be in any serious collection of pop music. Given that these days the great majority of my listening focuses on classical music then this is perhaps surprising or perhaps it is not because the sound of this music has a symphonic power and the lyrics would not be out of place in an opera house. Why is this album so exceptional? One classic test of the quality of an album is how many bad tracks are mixed in with the good ones-here the answer is simple-there is not one bad song here and indeed some of the ones which were not released as singles like Date Stamped or Many Happy Returns are equally as good as classics like Poison Arrow or The Look of Love. Then there is the gloriously ironic cliche-ridden lyrics which are as fresh and enjoyable now as three decades ago. Then there is the music itself-a complex blend of jazz, funk, percussion and strings with the synths just one element of a complex musical whole. Having a producer like Trevor Horn was obviously a stroke of great good fortune because the instrumentation, the blending and sound are all outstanding. Even the artwork is a masterpiece and entirely true to the spirit of the music. Some would characterize this music as New Romantic, but the truth is like all of the best albums, the Lexicon of Love transcends any genre or era. I direct this review to fans of the Beatles, Progressive Rock, those under 30 who may not know this music or even fans of Sinatra or Bennett. Listen to this and I defy you not to smile and enjoy, admitting as you do,that you have acquired an outstanding album.
on 21 January 2002
Having ditched my old turntable for a new CD-only player I went through all my old vinyl and picked out the essentials that needed to replaced by CD. While 90% of the synth/pop stuff from the 80's now sounds dated, 'Lexicon' stood out as one of the few that still sounds as good in 2002 as it did around 20 years ago. To those too young to remember or weren't around 'Lexicon' shows how 'pop' is done properly. Big on glam, big on glitz, big on sound. Not for ABC black pullovers, Gap khakis and rehashed Beegees/Cat Stevens numbers.Every track is a winner, although I'd say the 'singles' are not as good as 'Valentine's Day', '4 ever 2 gether' and 'Many happy returns'.Its got the lot, lush string arrangements, big drums and some cracking bass lines. 'Thriller's often talked of as being the best 'pop' album made. Nah! This blows that away every time.
on 1 October 2006
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.
on 20 March 2006
Why must music sound this good?! This album breaks my heart it sounds so good! I don't understand it!!! How can something look shinier than the shiniest tinsel and still have blood coursing thru it's veins. I wanna do my hair and put my best pout on, meet her by the cigarette machine, have her say she loves me then break my heart, i wanna strut, and still believe in love...
If the Beatles were the soundtrack to ur very thoughts in the 60's ,then this was one of those albums that was the soundtrack to going out, falling inlove and breaking up in the 80's.
Where Bowie failed, Martin Fry and Co. succeeded brilliantly with this album in the 80's, with just the right mix of high drama and blue-eyed soul. I imagine them both giving each other the nod...
With all the garbage clogging up the airwaves and leaving me as a Musician/Producer positively jaded and weary in the 21st Century, discovering this album again is like Vicks Vapour Rub to my senses. These moments r what make Pop great! Provocative, Dynamic, Exciting, Dangerous...
There r some bands the likes of 'Elefant' among others who r responsible for some kool moments too, and be it unfair to compare such, but baby this is what ur aiming for! This is the bench-mark...
If ur gonna do 80's retro, do it right for crying out loud!
Do ur research, give me the magic!
These moments r what made u wanna queue in the rain @ the band's gigs, r what made u wanna put their posters up on ur wall, r what made u walk to save ur dosh instead of taking the bus so u could by that album in the first place!
I actually gave this 6 stars.
U can't see the 6th one, but u can definitely feel it can't u :)
on 9 October 2013
ABC brings back a lot of memories for me. I had this album many times over the years, first on tape and then on CD, I actually got this latest one just purchased from the USA as its getting harder to find it now. ABC and lead singer Martin Fry were an 80's pop band and along with the likes of Spandau Ballet, Ultravox and Duran Duran brought out some great songs which are still classics and played extensively today. Lexicon of Love contains their biggest hit Look of Love, along with a whole host of others which will rapidly grow on you if not heard before. Other notables include Poison Arrow, Show Me, Many Happy Returns. All the tracks are very good though, you can buy this very confident that you won't be disappointed and you'll have a great and happy listening music for years to come for parties and anytime you chose.
on 11 January 2001
When I was forced to listen to this album, back in 1982, by a brother with a curious Martin Fry haircut, I tried with all my might not to like it.I was won over in seconds by the lush orchestral opening with seemed so out of kilter with the single-note synthesiser music typical of the time.Each track built on the one before in such an uncontrived and seamless manner that, without trying, it built into the best concept album ever, and one of the best of all time. Times have flowed ever onwards and fashions have changed, yet this album sounds as fresh and contemporary today as it did all those years' ago.What a shame that the group chose to dramatically change tack after this, their seminal work; but there again, it was a hard act to follow. Do yourself a favour, buy the album and relive those days where everything seemed possible and adult responsibilities were something that your dad worried about.
on 15 February 2008
From the sound of ancient cash registers, through the syrup of a symphony string section, to Martin's melodrama and Mark's on-the-button riffs, this is, was, and will always be an 80's, 90's, Naughties , and eternities perfection piece, if you're looking for high kitsch, high drama, high camp, and unbeatable effervescent pop.
I find that I have to play the whole (concept, to pinch a "Yes"ism)album. I just know this SO well; not just which track is next, or the lyric, but the key its in, and the length of gap (if any)'tween tracks.
It has never been bettered, by anyone, let alone "ABC" , and no, Sir, "Beauty Stab" isn't even in the same league.
This is becoming a little excessive and effusive for a 45+, over-weight, Father of two,boring CEO, but once upon a time, Children, Daddy was......
on 22 January 2011
All my friends are sick to the back teeth of this album, even those who've never heard it. The second I've had a drink, endless gushing eulogies pour forth for what I consider to be one of the greatest albums of all time.
Released two years before I was even born, I obviously came late to it and have never heard such an incredible pop album where everything is exactly as it should be with not a single duff moment. And those lyrics! Hands down some of the best of all time.
This is an album for so many moments. When you want to dance it provides the ultimate soundtrack, but if you're feeling down it's incredibly uplifting and carries you right through.
I could describe individual songs but it would be a list of yet more superlatives so I just insist: buy this album.
'ABC' were certainly one of the most unique sounds to come out of the 80s. Martin Fry's voice being certainly unique and immediately recognisable.
A string of hits ensued from: 'The Lexicon Of Love' between 1981 and 1982 - including the classic epic 'All Of My Heart' which always reminds me of when we got our first Video Recorder and captured the fabulous Video to this song from TOTOP. This album features only two parts from the collection of the four of 'The Look Of Love' (parts 1 & 4) and so if you want to hear the other two, then you'll have to buy the 12" Single where all four parts were brought together as a Collectors' Item!
Great sounding band with a great debut album - still sounds great today!
I have like previous reviewers of this album finally got around to replacing it on C D . My wife and I listened to it in the car on a long journey and it is still as good if not better now as it was more than a quarter of a century ago. It really has all been said from the vocals to the production even the cover of the album. I must agree that it is possibly the best album of the 1980`s. I guess Michael Jacksons Thriller and Fleetwood Macs Tango in the night would also be contenders but Lexicon of love truly is a timeless album and blows your mind everytime you hear it. That is the true test of any album if you are still enjoying it as much all these years later. A truly awesome album a must buy for any collection.