Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My '80s Remastered - How to Be A Zillionaire!

A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to picking up the remastered and expanded edition of ABC's third LP How to Be A Zillionaire!. Released in 1985, it saw the band lose original member Stephen Singleton and gain two others in Eden and David Yarritu, who did pretty much nothing more than dance in the videos. The band also became cartoon characters because, to quote Martin, "real life was rubbish. We wanted to reinvent ourselves and our world in cartoons. Larger than life and twice as ugly". It also saw them adopt a harder edged, NYC electro club sound to back their usual hooks and barbs. From the liner notes comes this from Martin - the three records listened to while making this LP were Shannon's Let The Music Play, the Keith Leblanc helmed Malcolm X cut up No Sell Out and Grandmaster Flash's New York New York. The influence of those songs can really be felt - in fact, Keith Leblanc programmed and played beats on several tracks. This record ended up being the band's biggest US hit. Sonically it is definitely of it's era and so it sounds a bit dated. If you have any fondness for that mid '80s electro sound (as I do!) you will probably find some enjoyment in these two bonus tracks -

Vanity Kills (Abigail's Party Mix) - hard electro beats and bass, lots of silly vocal samples, a wicked trumpet solo and Martin's great put down lines - "humble you ain't" all make this one good, funky fun.

Fear Of The World (In Cinemascope) is, in it's original form, the album opener, and signals the new, harder edged sound to be found. I love this tune - it's got killer chimes, big Fairlight strings - "we are living in the best of all possible worlds". It's an epic production that suits it's cinemascope subtitle.

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