Thursday, June 14, 2018

"Be Near Me" by ABC

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2434
Date:  08/24/1985
Debut:  76
Peak:  9
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This UK band's second album, the more rock-oriented Beauty Stab, didn't set the charts a-fire and performed far less well than their debut LP The Look of Love. By the time Beauty Stab had run its course, the band was down to just two core members - Martin Fry and Mark White. They decided to continue on and hired two new members including the band's first and only female member, Eden (aka Fiona Russell Powell). Although the newbies were credited as members, Fry and White still did the bulk of the work including all the songwriting. The quartet went into the studio and recorded the new album How to Be a...Zillionaire! In the US, this track would be issued out as the first single from the album. The song caught on and soon it would become ABC's first Top 10 hit in the States. It would also be their second #1 at Dance while getting to #11 AC. The hit pushed the album to #30, but it ran shy of becoming a gold-level seller.

ReduxReview:  While leaning a bit more towards synthpop, this song and even the album got ABC back to they style of music they debuted on The Look of Love. I found this song irresistible with its warm chord structure and silky production. I bought the single and then the album when it came out later. The album in particular is underrated in their catalog as far as I'm concerned. It has some lovely tracks like this one along with a few hooky synthpop stompers. It was definitely a bright light after getting through the darkness of Beauty Stab. "Lovely" is not necessarily a word you'd use to describe a synthpop song, but in this case I think it fits very well.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For this album, Martin and White came up with a concept that gave the band a new look. Both for the album package and for the video to the first single in the UK "(How to Be A) Milllionaire," the band members were turned into cartoon characters similar to the ones found on 70s Saturday morning TV shows.  Apparently, the look was some sort of commentary on the artificiality of the 80s. Gone was the sophisticated gold-suited look ABC donned during their Look of Love days and that seemed to disappoint a chunk of their UK fans. The "Millionaire" single stopped at a tepid #49 while "Be Near Me" stalled at #26. In turn, the album didn't sell all that well. However, they would be back in good graces when they would return to their original look for 1987's Alphabet City. That album would be a Top 10 gold seller in the UK.


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