Genesis - Abacab

Album cover

  1. Abacab (7:01)
  2. No Reply At All (4:39)
  3. Me And Sarah Jane (5:59)
  4. Keep It Dark (4:31)
  5. Dodo / Lurker (7:28)
  6. Who Dunnit? (3:22)
  7. Man On The Corner (4:26)
  8. Like It Or Not (4:56)
  9. Another Record (4:28)

Virgin, 1981

also by Genesis:

see also... Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, Jethro Tull

With the polished disco of the opening track "Abacab", Genesis had finally transformed fully into stadium-pop merchants. Then we hear some tootling horns that make "No Reply at All" indistinguishable from a Phil Collins solo track. I'd say again and again that there's nothing wrong with well-written pop music. They are capable of that, but this album is their turkey. "Keep It Dark" is off-beat enough to be the album's strongest disco-pop piece, but it doesn't shine out very far among the insipid material here.

"Dodo/Lurker" is the token nod to their 70's days. Pretty good stuff, in the spirit of "Squonk" or "All in a Mouse's Night", but it's not worth getting the album just for this. Although what were they trying to do with "Me and Sarah Jane"? This peculiar song seems to have been made up as they went along, mingling jerky pop and spaced out pomp rather messily.

But the pits are reached on the demented "Who Dunnit". While this isn't quite the worst Genesis song (that dubious honour would later go to "Illegal Alien"), it's time to put the hands over the face, as they try to be quirky and witty but fall flat. Also what was with Phil going "fawww you" so raucously in the sensitive but wet ballad "Man on the Corner"?

July 26, 2004

4 out of 10

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson