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Abacab Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews

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Abacab [2007 Remaster]
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, November 29, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

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Phil Collins might be swinging away the late '90s, but in 1981 he was sharpening his pop chops, from his first solo offering to this, the first Genesis album to break the hallowed million-copy mark stateside. But Abacab wasn't entirely about charting Top 40 singles ("No Reply At All," "Man on the Corner," and the title track); it still exhibited some late-stage evidence of a trio courting the art-rock muse that had graced its past ("Who Dunnit," "Dodo," "Keep It Dark"). However, by 1983's eponymous follow-up, the hit factory that was Genesis in the mid- to late-1980s was operating full steam ahead, and the angel Gabriel's spectre had all but vanished. Then, there were truly only three. --Bob Michaels
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 29, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: 1981
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002J2H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,778 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I find it interesting to see other reviewers pointing out that "Abacab", originally released in September of 1981, was a huge departure for Genesis--it's an excellent point, because, indeed, this is the album that truly marks the beginning of the "pop"-era Genesis, as it's generally referred to. There's a certain timeless gloss & punchiness here that sets this album apart from all of the Genesis albums that came before it, and it 'sets the stage', so to speak, for their next couple of albums that followed. It's not exactly a coincidence either--David Hentschel who co-produced the previous two albums was gone, & this album was engineered by Hugh Padgham who had also engineered and assisted on Phil Collins' debut solo album from earlier the same year. "Abacab" was also the first album the group recorded at their own studio. Now, don't get the wrong idea--contrary to what certain people will try to make you believe, this is not an album of light & frothy 'sell-out' pop songs. The level of musical intelligence & sophistication is still astonishing, & track after track is intoxicatingly catchy. The 7+ minute title track starts the album off with a bang--it's got an arresting moody atmosphere, & it's simply loaded with savvy keyboard & guitar licks from Tony Banks & Mike Rutherford respectively, laid over Phil Collins' crisp drumming. Tony Banks' solo composition "Me And Sarah Jane" is a definitive example of his compositional brilliance--it flows seamlessly from section to section, working its way through different moods; it truly takes you on a journey. "Dodo" starts off with an exciting, dramatic blast before the irresitible synth riff kicks in, and it's followed by an arrestingly contemplative minor-keyed section before eventually working its way back to the opening section in thrilling fashion.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Genesis did not "stab their fans in the back" with Abacab. The "fans" who felt this way (like trickoftail and all the rude boo-ers from the Abacab tour) were never really Genesis fans in the first place. They were just progressive rock fans who liked Yes/ELP/Rush etc. and some of the longer epic pieces and concept albums that Genesis did.
Yes, Abacab doesn't sound like early Genesis or other early prog bands...so what? It's still a great album full of fresh, creative ideas. Progressive rock isn't the only good style of music on the planet. To say that this is on the same level as Backstreet Boys or N'Sync is just plain ignorant, just as it is to say that it sounds just like Phil Collins' solo material. The only songs that sound anything like Phil solo on this album are No Reply At All and Man On The Corner, the rest are definitely Genesis songs.
Bottom line: if you only like the prototypical "progressive" side of Genesis, like the 10-minute epics and the long keyboard/guitar solos and the classical-sounding arrangements and the concept albums, then you might not like this album. But if you like bands that aren't afraid to change their sound and experiment with new ideas (which is the REAL meaning of "progressive"), then give this one a chance.
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By A Customer on May 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Since when was progressive rock bad? When it became a big watered-down mass of cliches, and everybody thought that by adding a few keyboard/guitar solos or by writing pseudo-"intellectual" lyrics or by making sure at least one song per album was 10 minutes or longer or by naming their songs/albums after classic novels, they were somehow reaching a higher level of artistic greatness than other bands, without paying any attention to the actual quality of their music. Bands like Styx, Asia, Dream Theater, Flower Kings, etc. are all examples of third-rate "progressive" rock. I never said progressive rock sucks, it's just like any other style of music -- some of it is good and some of it is bad. I do not have limited intelligence, and I do not listen to much pop radio. If you were as "intelligent" as you claim, you'd realize how silly a lot of prog bands' lyrics are, and how formulaic a lot of the music eventually came to be. Genesis didn't want to fall into that rut, so they tried something new.
Yes, pop music was around before progressive rock, but a lot of the elements of progressive rock were around long before it became labeled as such. Genesis developed their style from a wide variety of influences, and albums like The Lamb are both pop AND progressive. ("Pop" and "progressive" are not opposites -- I know that's hard for you to understand.) The fact that you keep comparing Abacab to Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears just shows how totally clueless you are about this kind of music. BB and Britney are manufactured pop acts who are more about image than anything else, and are simply being used as marketing tools to screaming teenagers.
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Format: Audio CD
To whoever keeps accusing Genesis of being uncreative because they used "machines" on this album: Drum machines and digital synthesizers are just as much real instruments as pianos and guitars are. Contrary to what some believe, it does not necessarily show a lack of talent to use instruments like these. Granted, a lot of pop singers will simply select a preset drum machine pattern and a digital loop sample and sing over that, but that's not what Genesis did on Abacab. Phil Collins came up with some very inventive rhythms on the drum machine (check out In The Air Tonight, Man On The Corner, etc.) and used them mainly for atmosphere. He didn't use them in place of real drums, because he always added real drums on top of the machine and played against it. This is very different than what most pop acts do.
Likewise, Tony Banks took advantage of the new set of sounds that became available with digital synths in the 1980s. He selected sounds that were appropriate in context and played them as such. This does not show a lack of talent at all, he's still carefully choosing the right sound and playing an appropriate part, just like he always did. I can understand why someone might prefer the analog sounds of the 1970s, but that still has nothing to do with talent.
Also, in reply to the "no Peter no Steve no Genesis" argument: Peter and Steve were certainly important members of Genesis, but the backbone of the band has always been Tony and Mike. Most of the music and a good deal of the sound has usually come from them. Peter was mainly a lyricist and a showman, and Steve is an excellent guitarist but he didn't contribute much to the band in terms of writing. So I think as long as you've got Tony and Mike, you've got Genesis.
Anyway, back to Abacab...
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