82693-2 Abacab
Produced by Genesis
Released on September 1981
Find it at GEMM
82693-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

P aunchy, stubble-bearing progger that I am, I would tell you that Abacab is ababysmal. And I would be lying through my teeth. The truth is it’s a remarkably good record, albeit an entirely different record than Duke (the last grand gesture). Phil’s Face Value revealed that the band could take off the prog helmets and thrive on the newly synthesized air of the ‘80s. So Abacab has all of the urgency you would expect from a band who had just drunk the potion and grown giant. Compared to the earlier works, Abacab reveals how cumbersome the old Gabriel-era baggage had become. (In time, Collins’ coisas would prove just as cumbersome.) The last two albums were impressive but ultimately outmoded dinosaurs. Abacab, by contrast, is the very model of a modish album. The gauzy, impressionistic sounds of the past are gone (they return briefly on “Lurker” and “Like It Or Not”). In their place is the modern industrial nightmare: pitiless clockwork, towering machines, processed emotions. Genesis albums had lately become dreary observations dressed up, but this time they sent Abacab out of doors naked. “No Reply At All,” “Abacab” and “Man on the Corner” peddled the same plain tonic as Face Value. Even on the more tuneful tracks (“Me and Sarah Jane,” “Keep It Dark”), it was best not to look too closely for fear of finding the ugly underneath. There was a stately air to the earlier work that lent it a certain warmth. Abacab is a cold record. Precise, accomplished, intelligent, engaging, but cold. If that sounds like an indictment, consider that all prog bands in the ‘80s evolved into cold-blooded creatures (Yes, Rush, King Crimson, Queen, Jethro Tull) as a means of survival, suggesting that a new musical Ice Age was indeed upon us.

82693-2 back sleeve 82693-2 picture sleeve CS 19313 front cover
82693-2 back sleeve 82693-2 picture sleeve CS 19313 front cover


  1. ABACAB    7:02
  2. NO REPLY AT ALL    4:41
  3. ME AND SARAH JANE    (Tony Banks)    6:00
  4. KEEP IT DARK    4:34
  5. DODO/LURKER    7:30
  6. WHO DUNNIT?    3:22
  7. MAN ON THE CORNER    (Phil Collins)    4:27
  8. LIKE IT OR NOT    (Mike Rutherford)    4:58
  9. ANOTHER RECORD    4:30

    All songs written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford unless noted


TONY BANKS -- keyboards
PHIL COLLINS -- drums, vocals
MIKE RUTHERFORD -- basses, guitars
EWF Horns -- horns (2)
Tom Tom 84 -- horn arrangement (2)
Hugh Padgham -- engineer
Bill Smith -- cover

return to GENESIS discography

UK September 1981 Charisma LP/CS CBR/CBRC 102 picture sleeve
US September 1981 Atlantic LP/CS SD/CS 19313 picture sleeve
BUL 1981 Balkanton LP BTA 11279  
CAN 1981 Atlantic LP XSD 19313 inner sleeve
JPN 1981 Vertigo LP 20PP-74 lyric insert
JPN 1981 Vertigo LP 25PP-32  
MEX 1981? Vertigo LP LPR-23024  
WW 1981 Vertigo LP/CS 6302/7144 162 picture sleeve
US 1994 Atlantic CD 82521 gold disc digital remaster w. booklet
US November 29, 1994 Atlantic CD/CS 82693 definitive edition remaster
UK 1994 Virgin CD/CS CBRCDX/CBRC 102 definitive edition remaster
JPN 1998 EMI/Toshiba CD VJCP-68104  
UK   Simply Vinyl LP SVLP-278 180g vinyl
EUR 2000 EMI CD 839890  
UK 2007 EMI 2CD CBRCDR-102 SACD w. bonus CD feat. album
in 5.1 surround sound + videos
JPN 2007 EMI/Toshiba 2CD TOGP-15015 SACD w. bonus CD feat. album
in 5.1 surround sound + videos


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