1981: Just when you thought you had heard every David Bowie and Bryan Ferry imitator to warble his discontented angst into the wind, along came ABC. They were smart like Bowie, fashion-mad like Ferry, and (before he became producer du jour) sonically adventurous with Trevor Horn at the dials. Lyrically witty to the point of brilliant, "The Look Of Love" remains a sonic marvel. It combined the lush orchestrations of disco with the propulsion of Motown, with enough English mannerisms to broach "new wave." Horn's production touches also made it sound completely unlike anything else on the radio or dancefloors at the time.
Yet there was more than a dreaded one hit wonder here. Songs like "Poison Arrow" and "Tears Are Not Enough" had more hooks than a hardware department and made radio sound vibrant in the early 80's. Lead Singer Martin Fry also had the looks down for the early generation of MTV, and the high style of the band's early videos (including one of the earliest longform music vid/movies in "Mantrap") gave them the extra boost that they needed to conquer the US. But what really mattered was, and remains, the music. "The Lexicon Of Love" has held its original splendor years after many of the other MTV bands of the period have lost their sheen. This was one of the first CD's I bought when Disc players were relatively new, and the remaster here, as it does with Roxy Music's "Avalon," brings out even more of the original disc's depth and sparkle. I can't imagine my record collection without "The Lexicon of Love."