2016-06-26

 

Alphabetically, affectionately

Through the years, one of the things that makes me feel at home when I get back to Portugal is my Vinyl collection. Chief among all the Vinyl, home is The Lexicon of Love by ABC, as well as all their other albums from my 80s/90s: Beauty Stab, Zillionaire, Alphabet City, Up, and Abracadabra (after this I have them on CDs). Lexicon is the 80s classic, certainly one of the best Pop albums ever made with its orchestral, theatrical blend of Disco, Funk, Bowie and Frank Sinatra. All of their other albums have been systematically underrated by the music media when released, except perhaps Zillionaire in the US---it is one of the most innovative albums of the 80s, future blending american electro-groove (Shannon's sound chiefly) with british electronica, in many ways predicting the 90s (Deee-lite comes to mind). But that is another story.

This year saw the release of the Lexicon sequel. There had already been an excellent sonic sequel with Alphabet City, but The Lexicon of Love II is an actual thematic and lyrical sequel. I was afraid that it would be far worse than the original, but am so glad that Mr. Fry stepped up to his amazing lyrical ability (nothing like Mr. Fry's lyrics on the bridges of ABC songs) and managed to deliver a heartfelt view of the Lexicon, 34 years later. This is not a remake, or a re-attempt; it is really a sequel in the best sense of the term, a meta-view of the original from the perspective of an older man. It does not have the heights of energetic passion of the first (show me, tears are not enough, the look of love), but it delivers the warmth of sustained love (kiss me goodbye, the flames of desire, viva love, brighter than the sun). On the sound, despite the usual greatness of Anne Dudley's orchestration, the sequel would benefit from an edgier, younger production. Personally, I would love to see James Murphy work a new Lexicon sound, rather than try to recapture exactly the sound of the original, but, hey, who needs the moon when you've got the stars? 4 ever 2 gether.

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