Beauty Stab

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Beauty Stab
Sl beauty.jpg
Studio album by ABC
Released 14 November 1983 (1983-11-14)
Recorded August–September 1983
Studio
Genre
Length 42:58
Label Neutron (UK)
Mercury (US)
Vertigo (Canada and Europe)
Producer
ABC chronology
The Lexicon of Love
(1982)
Beauty Stab
(1983)
How to Be a ... Zillionaire!
(1985)
Singles from Beauty Stab
  1. "That Was Then but This Is Now"
    Released: October 1983
  2. "S.O.S."
    Released: January 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Smash Hits 6/10 stars[2]
Robert Christgau A−[3]

Beauty Stab is the second studio album by English new wave band ABC. It was originally released in November 1983, on the labels Neutron, Mercury and Vertigo. The album was recorded over a period of three months between August and September 1983, in sessions that took place at Sarm Studios East and West, Townhouse Studios and Abbey Road Studios. It was a departure from the stylised production of the band's debut album, The Lexicon of Love and featured a more guitar-oriented sound.

The album was produced by ABC with Gary Langan, who was the audio engineer on the band's first album. The band employed the rhythm section of Andy Newmark (drums) and Alan Spenner (bass guitar)[1] both of whom had recently recorded and toured with Roxy Music at the time. The cover photography was by Gered Mankowitz.

On release, the album was received negatively by the majority of music critics. In a 1995 article, music journalist Simon Reynolds listed Beauty Stab among "the great career-sabotage LPs in pop history".[4] In retrospect, the band members themselves have been quite vocal in that they were less satisfied with the album with founding member Stephen Singleton leaving the band soon after promotion for the album was completed. Martin Fry later stated that "we were eager to go in a totally different direction [to The Lexicon of Love]. We didn't want to do a sequel. In retrospect, perhaps that is exactly what we should have done".[5] The album was certified Gold by the BPI for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies, but was not as commercially successful as its predecessor. It peaked at No. 12 on the UK Albums Chart and spawned only two Top 40 singles (neither of which made the Top 10).[6]

In 2005, a digitally remastered reissue of the album was released with bonus tracks.

Music and legacy[edit]

According to Bob Stanley of The Guardian, Beauty Stab was a drastic departure from The Lexicon of Love, and was "their attempt to take on the preconceptions of their fanbase": "The strings were gone, replaced by some tough guitars that sounded weirdly dated – sometimes like Low-era Bowie, sometimes closer to Led Zeppelin. Had it been released two years later, when guitars were voguish once more, it would have kept the ABC boat afloat. Instead, it just sounded confusing."[7]

In a list of follow-up albums featuring a change in style, Alfred Soto of Stylus Magazine said that "the band abandoned the marimbas and Mantovanni" of their previous album "for rawk power chords and declamatory singing." Although noting that "most of its songs are as politically informed as a can of hair spray", he felt that "Beauty Stab is touching, the sound of young men with too much money and too facile a talent for one-liners getting back at the philistines who dismissed them as nancy boys."[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Martin Fry, Mark White and Stephen Singleton.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "That Was Then but This Is Now" 3:34
2. "Love's a Dangerous Language" 3:40
3. "If I Ever Thought You'd Be Lonely" 3:55
4. "The Power of Persuasion" 3:32
5. "Beauty Stab" 2:06
6. "By Default by Design" 4:07
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Hey Citizen!" 3:55
8. "King Money" 4:02
9. "Bite the Hand" 3:06
10. "Unzip" 2:49
11. "S.O.S." 4:49
12. "United Kingdom" 3:23
Total length: 42:58

Personnel[edit]

ABC

Additional personnel

Production team

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart[9] 58
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[10][11] 36
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[12] 29
Finnish Albums Chart[citation needed] 22
Japanese Oricon LP Chart[citation needed] 34
New Zealand Albums Chart[13] 42
Swedish Albums Chart[14] 32
UK Albums Chart[15] 12
US Billboard 200[16] 69
West German Media Control Albums Chart[17] 50

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b DeGagne, Mike. "ABC: Beauty Stab [Bonus Tracks] > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Rimmer, Dave (24 November 1983). "Album Reviews". Smash Hits. Vol. 5 no. 24. EMAP Metro. p. 27. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "ABC: Beauty Stab". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Simon Reynolds (1995), ""Unknown Pleasures: Great Lost Albums Rediscovered" (Melody Maker free supplement booklet)", Melody Maker (free supplement booklet), IPC Media, Tusk ranks as one of the great career-sabotage LP's in pop history, alongside the Clash's Sandinista[!], ABC's Beauty Stab and Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique; one of those albums by bands apparently on a creative and commercial roll who nonetheless wilfully confound their audience, motivated by artistic frustration, or fucked-up/fucked-off confusion, or simply because they've succumbed to a kind of collective death-wish. 
  5. ^ http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/abcs-martin-fry-regrets-not-capitalising-on-early-success-235195.html
  6. ^ "ABC". ChartStats.com. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Stanley, Bob (7 March 2008). "How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "The Non-Definitive Guide to the Follow-Up – Article – Stylus Magazine". 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 10. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Steffen Hung (17 December 1983). "ABC – Beauty Stab". dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "ABC – Beauty Stab". charts.org.nz. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "ABC – Beauty Stab". swedishcharts.com. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Beauty Stab by ABC Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ ABC. "ABC – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 

External links[edit]