Lexicon of Pop

“ABC were striking out where a lot of other pop (but not all of it) was too timid to follow.

“I emphasise that ‘but not all of it’ because by early 1982 it was palpably evident that a great deal of pop was striking out. Records like ‘Party Fears Two’ and ‘Ghosts’ were redefining what could be achieved with pop music on a near-weekly basis. The charts, hitherto on the verge of moribund, became exciting again. All due respect to Hendrix and Zeppelin but I can attest first-hand that in the first half of 1982 — the second half was a different matter, but we’ll get to that soon enough – there was no time to listen to the old stuff when so much colourful and innovative new music was demanding my attention.”

– Marcello Carlin wrote 15,000 words on ABC’s The Lexicon of Love. Maybe the only record review I’ve come across which ends with an Acknowledgements section (if you read it, you’ll understand why). I certainly share his feelings about the astonishing inventiveness of the early ’80s, though for me, living in North America (and not in a major centre like Toronto), almost none of that excitement was transmitted through pop radio. It was all through magazines, and (at least until I discovered the Voice) mostly British ones. An Anglophile to the core (a Canadian affliction, what can I say?), I imagined the UK to be this fantastically exciting place where one would turn on the radio and hear records by the Associates and Linx and Laurie Anderson. I’ve learned from reading Marcello over the years that this was in fact not a fiction, or anyway, not entirely so.

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