GENESIS - 40th anniversary of "Abacab" (18th Sep 2021)

  • 40 years ago today, on 18th September 1981, GENESIS released Abacab, which eventually became one of their most ciontroversial albums.



    This is our review, done serveral years ago (but not in 1981)

    https://www.genesis-news.com/c…bacab-CD-review-s294.html


    Feel free to post your thoughts!


    an interesting sidenote - in case you thought - ah, there are four different cover image versions - you might be wrong.


    Phil Morris has sent me those files. The first image shows the 4 well known variations plus two cassette versions. And then there is also an Argentinian version ...



  • Absolutely love Abacab. It has a special place in my heart. There's something more freeform and disinhibited about it than any of their other albums. Favorite tracks are the title track, Me and Sarah Jane and Keep it Dark, but it's all good. I even love the back end which feels hidden somehow because tracks like Like it or Not and Another Record are deep deep cuts (like Eddie Murphy's character in Beverly Hills Cop going deep deep undercover), and always feel fresh to me whenever I hear them.


    Happy birthday Abacab!


    Edit: giving it a 40th anniversary whirl and feeling more struck than before at the menace in that middle section of No Reply At All. It's all bright and breezy and then suddenly it stops and there's Phil yowling and the drums going half time. Very effective.

    Edited once, last by thewatcher ().

  • My mini review!? 8)


    Abacab

    The intro is overwhelming, for me the Genesis are still there,

    but you have to get used to the new sound.


    No Reply At All.

    A shock, the trumpets !?

    But the song also works like that, thanks to Phil.


    Me And Sarah Jane.

    The most successful song, but only because it reminds a little of Tony's old things.


    Keep It Dark.

    Fast track, but it doesn't hit like Abacab.

    But this too can be saved.


    Dodo / Lurker.

    I found out later that it is one.

    An 80's version Squonk.


    Who Dunnit.

    Even now it is difficult to hear.

    It's amazing that Tony likes these things.


    Man on the Corner.

    Knowing Face Value better, this song

    I re-evaluated it and I compare it to Roof Is Leaking.


    Like It Or Not.

    Mike's track, always better than Duke's Alone Tonight.


    Another Record.

    It starts very well, then it looks like a copy paste of Like It Or Not.


    Final opinion: The first album of the Collins era, take it or leave it ...;)

  • I can never work out if this is my favourite or second favourite album. I alternate it with We Can't Dance. If you took the best tracks from this & combined it with the best of We Can't Dance you would have an unqualifed masterpiece

  • I can never work out if this is my favourite or second favourite album. I alternate it with We Can't Dance. If you took the best tracks from this & combined it with the best of We Can't Dance you would have an unqualifed masterpiece

    Cool mixture there! We Can't Dance gets precious little love around here and I feel bad for it as it was really my induction album for Genesis. I was 10 and my trusty walkman and WCD cassette were a solid foundation for me.


    What would an Abacab/WCD tracklist look like?

  • Great album, one of my favourite three man era. I like almost every track, the first five are classics to my ears, then it tails a bit. I like Whodunnit, could do without Man on the Corner and Like it or Not is OK. I’ve always liked Another Record, I like the drumming, but it’s a little bit lightweight. So, first five tracks up with the best and then a bit of filler for my tastes

  • I love this album. It was the second Genesis album I ever owned (the first being ATTWT). To me much of the music on Abacab was very unique—like nothing I’d ever heard before. With the exception of Whodunnit (which I have since come to appreciate for its quirkiness) I loved every song on Abacab. My particular favorites were Abacab, Me and Sarah Jane, Keep it Dark, Dodo/Lurker and Man on the Corner. I saw Genesis on the Abacab tour. By the time I saw the Encore Tour 9 months later I owned every Genesis album back to Foxtrot and was able to sing along to every word in Supper’s Ready.

  • For me, Abacab is a paradox.

    I grew up listening to the 1970-1980 Genesis, so I was accustomed to the "mellow prog/pop, 12 strings, big chords" thing.

    One day, I found a cassette my mum had bought, that was still packed (maybe for 25 years...).

    It was Three Sides Live.

    I was quite surprised (and I didn't like very much at first) by the edgy "rock" sound of the three first tracks.

    So, I knew the live versions of Dodo and Abacab before the studio ones (because my mum didn't have any album post-Duke, and I didn't know why).

    When I finally got Abacab on vinyl, I didn't like very much...


    "What ? They cut out the final part of Abacab ? That was the best part, you fools !"

    "No Reply At All ? Phil should have kept it for Face Value, it suits him more..."

    "Me and Sarah Jane... Ah, finally, a Genesis sounding song."

    "Keep It Dark... Another version of Abacab... oh, the chorus is nice actually..."


    "Dodo... God, these synths sound awful"

    "Who Dunnit... What... What... What the... Hol.. Sh..."

    "Man on the Corner... Well, after the previous one, I can appreciate anything, at least it has some musical sense..."

    "Like It or Not... Typical Rutherford song, I prefer Your Own Special Way, but it's fine".

    "Another Record... Oh, the intro sounds promising... Uh, in fact, I was wrong... Wait, a synth harmonica, really guys ?"


    So, it took me some time before appreciating it. Still, it's not my favourite album, but I understand the concept, why it has been made that way, and some songs reached a new level when played on stage (the title track, for example).


    It is an important album for the band, they changed the way they were working, they got their own studio... It's the most controversial among fans, and even the band stopped promoting it after 1987.


    It's why it's a paradox, essential in their evolution but rejected and forgotten in some way...

  • I can never work out if this is my favourite or second favourite album. I alternate it with We Can't Dance. If you took the best tracks from this & combined it with the best of We Can't Dance you would have an unqualifed masterpiece

    Different strokes for different folks.


    For me, if you took the best tracks from Abacab and the best from We Can't Dance, you'd have..........the Abacab album. :saint:

  • In common with some here I love this album. The Lamb is my favourite, this is 2nd. My top 2 Genesis albums are possibly the two most divisive ones they did. What does that say about me?!


    In a way I sort of get that it's paradoxical. It was a hugely important album in their evolution, maybe their boldest. Yet on tour they quickly abandoned it, which might be to do with the other main contradictory thing about it for me. Oddly for an album with a starker spacier sound most of its tracks translated badly on stage apart from Dodo and, most obviously, the title track which became a fiery piece of taut storming rock. By the time of its final outing in 87 it was one of the strongest things in their set, the only one from this album to far outshine its studio original.


    The minimalist packaging added to the right-angled turn they made. Major kudos to them for realising they were starting to repeat themselves and so ripping up the script and starting afresh.

    Abandon all reason

  • Cool mixture there! We Can't Dance gets precious little love around here and I feel bad for it as it was really my induction album for Genesis. I was 10 and my trusty walkman and WCD cassette were a solid foundation for me.


    What would an Abacab/WCD tracklist look like?

    I am no good at this and I am dreadful at sequencing. However:


    Abacab

    No Son Of Mine

    Jesus He Knows Me

    Keep It Dark

    Driving The Last Spike

    Dodo/Lurker

    I Can't Dance

    No Reply At All

    Dreaming While You Sleep

    Me And Sarah Jane

    Man On The Corner

    Fading Lights


    If there was a CD with a bonus track it would be Living Forever. For some reason I think this would work. I am well aware that WCD isn't loved but it's 'my'album and always has been.


    Maybe DTLS & Dodo/Lurker should not be together but I couldn't leave either of them out.

  • Interesting fantasy album. Actually I like the sequence you suggest. The only change I might make is to place I Can't Dance before Dodo/Lurker

  • Final opinion: The first album of the Collins era, take it or leave it ...;)

    What happened to A Trick Of The Tail, Wind & Wuthering, And Then There Were Three, and Duke?! Abacab is actually the fifth album of the Collins era...

  • What happened to A Trick Of The Tail, Wind & Wuthering, And Then There Were Three, and Duke?! Abacab is actually the fifth album of the Collins era...

    Rkive is being wry, hence the winking emoji. They're either having a dig at that "Collins took over" viewpoint many have (as though anyone could take over a band with Banks in) or holds that view. But perhaps they'll confirm.

    Abandon all reason