The Lexicon of Love is the debut studio album by the English pop band ABC. Released by Neutron Records on 21 June 1982, it entered the UK Albums Chart at number one, also topping the New Zealand and Finnish charts. Certified gold in the US, it went platinum in the UK where four singles reached the top 20; "Tears Are Not Enough", "Poison Arrow", "The Look of Love" and "All of My Heart", which Pitchfork ranked number one on their "Now That's What I Call New Pop!" list.[13]

The Lexicon of Love
Studio album by
Released21 June 1982 (1982-06-21)
Recorded1981–1982
Studio
Genre
Length37:25
LabelNeutron
Producer
ABC chronology
The Lexicon of Love
(1982)
Beauty Stab
(1983)
Singles from The Lexicon of Love
  1. "Tears Are Not Enough"
    Released: 16 October 1981
  2. "Poison Arrow"
    Released: 5 February 1982
  3. "The Look of Love"
    Released: 7 May 1982
  4. "All of My Heart"
    Released: 27 August 1982
  5. "Valentine's Day"
    Released: 1982 (Japan only)

The album was also included in the 2018 edition of Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[14]

Background, recording and release edit

ABC was formed by Stephen Singleton and Mark White as electronic band Vice Versa. Joined by Martin Fry, the band eventually morphed into ABC.[15] A debut single, "Tears Are Not Enough", followed in 1981; it was remixed by producer Trevor Horn for inclusion in The Lexicon of Love.[15]

The album's title originated in the headline of an NME review of an ABC gig.[15] Songs were written collectively by the band, with arranger Anne Dudley also given a credit on some tracks.[15] Lead vocalist Martin Fry said that they had wanted to fuse the attitude of punk and the sophistication of disco. While he has denied that it is a concept album,[16] The Lexicon of Love features recurrent themes, including heartache and the struggle to make meaningful connections. "Most of the other people were writing about electric pylons. We wanted to hark back to Cole Porter and his ilk, but in a very modern way," Fry said.[15]

The majority of the album was recorded at Sarm East Studios in London, with additional work done at Abbey Road, Townhouse, RAK and Good Earth studios.[15] Produced by Horn and engineered by Gary Langan, it features orchestrations by Dudley and programming of the recently-developed Fairlight CMI by J. J. Jeczalik. Horn says that he convinced the band to replace their bass player, Mark Lickley, with Brad Lang. "I talked them into getting a better bass player, which maybe wasn't a kind thing to do,” he said, "[but] Brad Lang was quite brilliant".[17]

A year after its release, Horn, Langan, Dudley and Jeczalik formed the Art of Noise, and most of the production team and session musicians on the album formed the basis for the ZTT label. The cover photograph is by Gered Mankowitz.[15] Distribution in the US and Japan was handled by Mercury Records; Vertigo Records released it in Canada and Europe.

Performance, tours and further releases edit

"Tears Are Not Enough" (in its initial release produced by Steve Brown), "All of My Heart", "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love" were all top-20 entries in the UK; the latter two also charted in the US, peaking at No. 25 and No. 18 respectively.[18] The album reached No. 1 on the UK charts and peaked at No. 24 in the US charts.

The band was augmented by session musicians, and the 11-piece ensemble toured Europe, the US and Japan. The shows at Hammersmith Odeon in November 1982 were recorded for inclusion in the band's film Mantrap which was released the following year.[15] In 2004, a two-disc deluxe reissue including previously unreleased outtakes and early demos and a live performance of the album from 1982 was released by Neutron Records.

In 2009, ABC (with Fry as its sole member) performed the entire album at the Royal Albert Hall in London, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Dudley. They were joined onstage by Horn.[19] The Lexicon of Love was again performed live in its entirety on 18 December 2012 at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to mark its 30th anniversary. Dudley reprised her role as conductor, performing with the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra, and they concluded a four-date mini-tour at the same venue on 30 March 2014. Between November 4 and 9, 2015, the band and orchestra also performed at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sheffield City Hall, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

A sequel studio album The Lexicon of Love II was released on 27 May 2016.[20] A Blu-ray audio disc with new Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround sound Blu-ray remixes by Steven Wilson, as well as a remastered vinyl edition of the original mix, was released in August 2023.[21]

Critical reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [22]
Blender     [23]
Christgau's Record GuideA−[24]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [25]
Mojo     [26]
Q     [27]
Rolling Stone     [28]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [29]
Select4/5[30]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[12]

The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and remained on the charts for 50 weeks. It was the fourth biggest selling album in the UK in 1982.[15] Mitchell Cohen of Creem contemporaneously declared it to be a "piece of sumptuous kitsch", adding that "the whole shebang is so florid, so exaggerated, so damned catchy – you want to hear "The Look of Love" a second time before it's even half over; it's a casserole of about forty different pop hits and advertising jingles – that you may feel guilty for falling for it."[31] Robert Christgau gave the album an "A–" rating, writing that "Martin Fry's candid camp and ad-man phrasing don't fully justify his histrionic flights, but they do give him room to be clever, which is clearly his calling--some of these synthetic funk rhythms make me laugh out loud, and he's an ace jingle writer".[24] Don Waller of the Los Angeles Times praised the album, stating that Horn "deserves a share of the applause, but the songs — credited to all four ABC members — are the real deal: apocalyptic, widescreen romances with more hooks than a meat-packing plant." [32] Waller proclaimed that "Tears Are Not Enough", "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love (Part I)" call out for "any one of a dozen contemporary black vocalists". "ABC's biggest drawback is Martin Fry's singing, which borders on the effete," he wrote. [32]

Ken Tucker of The Philadelphia Inquirer was less enthusiastic, dismissing the album as "prissy dance music, light on the beat and heavy on the sort of maundering crooning that the effete English rock musicians frequently mistake for passion."[33]

Retrospectively, AllMusic found Horn's production to be "dense and noisy, but frequently beautiful", while "the group's emotional songs gave it a depth and coherence later Horn works (...) would lack." The site praised the band for "[using] the sound to create moving dance-floor epics like "Many Happy Returns" which, like most of the album's tracks, deserved to be a hit single."[22] In a BBC review of the 2004 Deluxe Edition, Rob Webb stated that "The Lexicon of Love stands as a landmark album in British pop", and "underpins just what a sharp band ABC were: witty, lyrical and very, very funky". He found each song to be "a love affair in miniature: some are touching ("All of My Heart", "Show Me"), others a bitter invective at misplaced passion ("Many Happy Returns")", and concluded that "[dance] music had rarely been so literate."[4]

In The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Colin Larkin awarded the "superb" album 5 stars (outstanding). Lauding the "pristine pop songs", he declared that it "remains a benchmark of 80s pop, and a formidable collection of melodramatic love songs assembled in one neat package."[34] In a review of a 2005 retrospective of Trevor Horn's work, Pitchfork concluded: "If you don't already own the original records, all can be found cheap and all (especially ABC's Lexicon of Love) are essential documents of their era".[35]

Track listing edit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Show Me"4:02
2."Poison Arrow"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Mark Lickley
3:24
3."Many Happy Returns"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
3:56
4."Tears Are Not Enough"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • David Robinson
3:31
5."Valentine's Day"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
3:42
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."The Look of Love" (part one)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
3:26
7."Date Stamp"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
3:51
8."All of My Heart"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
5:12
9."4 Ever 2 Gether"
5:30
10."The Look of Love" (part four)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
1:02
Total length:37:25
1996 digitally remastered edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
11."Tears Are Not Enough" (demo)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
3:29
12."Poison Arrow" (jazz re-mix)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
6:54
13."The Look of Love" (US special remix – edit[a])
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
5:43
14."Alphabet Soup" (12" mix)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
8:02
15."Theme from Mantrap"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
4:19
16."The Look of Love" (live)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
6:07
1998 reissue
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
11."Theme from Mantrap"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
4:19

2004 deluxe edition edit

CD1 — Part 2: The Original Singles
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
11."Overture"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Dudley
3:59
12."Tears Are Not Enough" (original single version)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
3:36
13."Alphabet Soup"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
8:03
14."Theme from Man Trap"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
4:19
15."Poison Arrow" (North American jazz mix)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
7:06
CD1 — Part 3: An Oddity and An Out-Take
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
16."Into the Valley of the Heathen Go"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
2:00
17."Alphabet Soup" (BBC Swapshop version)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
3:13
CD2 — Part 4: The Route to the Lexicon
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Tears Are Not Enough" (Phonogram demo, 20 July 1981)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
3:32
2."Show Me" (Phonogram demo, 20 July 1981)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
4:03
3."Surrender" (Phonogram demo, 20 July 1981)
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
3:29
CD2 — Part 5: The Lexicon of Love, Live at Hammersmith Odeon, November 1982
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
4."Overture"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Dudley
3:56
5."Show Me"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
4:21
6."Many Happy Returns"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
7:02
7."Tears Are Not Enough"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
5:33
8."Date Stamp"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
7:07
9."The Look of Love"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
5:59
10."All of My Heart"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
6:45
11."Valentine's Day"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
4:44
12."4 Ever 2 Gether"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Dudley
6:53
13."Alphabet Soup"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
  • Robinson
8:26
14."Poison Arrow"
  • Fry
  • White
  • Singleton
  • Palmer
  • Lickley
5:22
  1. ^ Mislabeled as 1990 remix. Also known as "The Look of Love (Part 5)".

Personnel edit

ABC

Additional personnel

Production and artwork

2004 deluxe edition credits

  • Gary Moore – digital remastering
  • Daryl Easlea – album coordinator, compiler
  • Martin Fry – compiler
  • Deluxe Graphics@Green Ink – artwork restoration, adaption[36]

Charts edit

Certifications edit

Certifications for The Lexicon of Love
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[54] Gold 20,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[55] Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[56] Gold 48,000[56]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[57] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[59] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References edit

  1. ^ El Hunt (17 September 2020). "The story of new wave in 15 classic albums". NME. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  2. ^ Mossman, Kate (2 June 2016). "Martin Fry on ABC's comeback: 'Lexicon of Love II is a kind of Godfather Part II'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  3. ^ Ramirez, AJ (28 January 2015). "Looking for the Girl That Meets Supply with Demand: ABC's 'The Lexicon of Love'". PopMatters. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b ABC The Lexicon of Love Review BBC
  5. ^ Simpson, Dave (10 April 2019). "ABC review – big-budget love-in for Martin Fry's 80s pop masterpiece". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  6. ^ Hurley, Oliver (25 August 2021). "Top 15 Sophisti-Pop Albums".
  7. ^ Medsker, David (9 April 2002). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". PopMatters. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  8. ^ Medsker, David (9 March 2003). "Pet Shop Boys: Disco 3". PopMatters. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  9. ^ Harrington, Richard (17 December 1982). "The ABC's of Cool Brit Disco Funk". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Still a Spectacle, Fun-Loving ABC Holds Up Well". Hartford Courant. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Matt (21 July 2023). "The 50 Greatest Synth-Pop Albums of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  12. ^ a b Weisbard & Marks 1995, p. 4
  13. ^ Harvell, Jess (12 September 2005). ""Now That's What I Call New Pop"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  14. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (2018). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. London: Cassell. ISBN 978-1-78840-080-0.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Lexicon of Love Deluxe Edition Booklet, 2004
  16. ^ "BBC 6 Music interview with Martin Fry". Radcliffe and Maconie (Interview). Interviewed by Stuart Maconie.
  17. ^ Doyle, Tom (July 2016). "Classic Tracks: ABC 'The Look Of Love'". Sound On Sound. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  18. ^ "ABC – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  19. ^ "ABC and The BBC Concert Orchestra present The Lexicon of Love". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  20. ^ "ABC to release The Lexicon of Love II". superdeluxeedition.com. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  21. ^ "ABC's The Lexicon of Love on SDE-exclusive blu-ray audio – SuperDeluxeEdition". 28 June 2023.
  22. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "The Lexicon of Love – ABC". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  23. ^ Himmelsbach, Erik. "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Blender. Archived from the original on 15 December 2003. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  24. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1990). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X.
  25. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  26. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Mojo: 124. [Including] songs as perfect as 'The Look Of Love' – replete with knowingly absurd talkover – or the jaw-dropping 'All of My Heart,' still one of the '80s most underrated singles...
  27. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Q (360): 117. July 2016.
  28. ^ Fricke, David (16 September 1982). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Rolling Stone. No. 378. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  29. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "ABC". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 2. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  30. ^ Harrison, Ian (May 1996). "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Select (71): 102.
  31. ^ Cohen 1982.
  32. ^ a b Waller 1982.
  33. ^ Tucker, Ken (7 November 1982). "Albums". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 12. Retrieved 26 May 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th Concise ed.). United Kingdom: Omnibus Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-84609-856-7.
  35. ^ Harvell, Jess (26 May 2005). "Produced By Trevor Horn: Various Artists - album review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  36. ^ "ABC: The Lexicon of Love". Allmusic.com.
  37. ^ Kent 1993, p. 10
  38. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6165a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  39. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ABC – The Lexicon of Love" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  40. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  41. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – ABC – The Lexicon of Love" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  42. ^ Okamoto, Satoshi (2006). Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  43. ^ "Charts.nz – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  44. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  45. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  46. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  47. ^ "ABC Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  48. ^ Kent 1993, p. 434
  49. ^ "Top 100 Albums 82". RPM. Vol. 37, no. 19. 25 December 1982. p. 19. ISSN 0033-7064 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  50. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1982". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  51. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Lazell, Barry; Jones, Alan (1983). "The Top 100 UK Albums". Chart File Volume 2. London: Virgin Books. pp. 82–83. ISBN 0-907080-73-1.
  52. ^ "The Top Albums of 1983". RPM. Vol. 39, no. 17. 24 December 1983. ISSN 0033-7064 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  53. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1983". Billboard. 31 December 1983. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  54. ^ "Kent Music Report No 453 – 28 February 1983 > Platinum Albums 1982 (Continued)". Retrieved 26 December 2022 – via Imgur.com.
  55. ^ "Canadian album certifications – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Music Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  56. ^ a b "ABC" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  57. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – ABC – The Lexicon of Love". Recorded Music NZ. 5 December 1982. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  58. ^ "British album certifications – ABC – Lexicon of Love". British Phonographic Industry. 4 October 1982. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  59. ^ "American album certifications – ABC – Lexicon of Love". Recording Industry Association of America. 15 February 1995. Retrieved 11 June 2019.

Bibliography edit

External links edit