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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABC's neglected pop-classic from 1984..., 20 Feb. 2006
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This review is from: How To Be A Zillionaire (Audio CD)
There is little doubt that ABC's Trevor Horn-assisted debut 'The Lexicon of Love' was a masterpiece - following that came the rockier 'Beautystab' (1983) which was both a commercial and critical flop. Personally I think 'Beautystab' belongs to one of those underrated albums of the early to mid 80s ('North of a Miracle', 'Perhaps', 'Our Favourite Shop', 'Land', 'A Secret Wish') and it has more going for it than the last two Gang of Four albums. But look beyond 'Lexicon...' and to ABC's third LP 'How to Be a Zillionaire'and you'll find another classic pop album that has dated surprisingly well.
This is the definitive reissue, coming with the best sound thus far and a host of additional tracks/remixes - all screaming good value at this budget price. The Fry/White nucleas developed a post-modern notion of a cartoon band, pre-empting Dee-Lite and Gorillaz and in this form created a great pop collection. The original nine-track album is great stuff, the three singles released are all pop chestnuts of the shiniest order: 'Be Near Me' gorgeous pop as lush as anything on 'Lexicon', 'Ocean Blue' another classic which seems odd not to have been a hit, and 'How to Be a Millionaire'- which uses the kind of sampling common to Eno/Byrne over an electro-pop song which declares "I've seen the future - I can't afford it!" - so 'How to Be...' could be seen as a succesor to Heaven 17's 'Penthouse & Pavement' - tapping into the free market zeitgeist amid the reign of Thatcher and her yuppie drones...
The bonus tracks extend this collection and it's clear that a lot of dance music owes a debt to this set - I detect pangs of The Avalanches, Milo, Daft Punk, Electroclash, Groovejet, The Go Team, Richard X, late Mantronix ('Got to Have Your Love'), S'Express, Zoot Woman/Les Rhythmes Digitales and Madonna (...then again I might just be saying that to get you to buy it?). 'How to Be...' was the actual peak of ABC's career, 'Alphabet City' was a smooth Chic-inflected pop collection that was hit and miss, while 'Up' sounded irrelevant. One to rediscover I feel!
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Location: Worcester, UK

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