Incomplete, but still worth purchasing
Da Man | Pekin, IL | 11/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"it is of my opinion, that ABC is quite possibly the most underrated (at least in America) 80's band. They did have several big hits here, but they have been all but forgotten alongside acts like Depeche and Duran.I deduct one point because as others said, it's missing a few videos. But there's enough to rave about to support buying it.ABC exploded onto the scene in 1982 with The Lexicon Of Love. Off that album, we get the classic Poison Arrow, the classy All Of My Heart and the campy The Look Of Love. All 3 of those songs (was there a video for Tears Are Not Enough?) are still excellent over 20 years later. Their first album is still arguably the best.They followed that with the more rock-oriented Beauty Stab in 1983. We get That Was Then But This Is Now and S.O.S. on here lifted from that album. BS is generally regarded as their worst, but there's still some good stuff on here. It's funny to see how much ABC changed in one year from these videos and the prior ones.ABC scored their biggest American success with the third album, 1985's How To Be A Zillionaire. This album is represented with no less than 5 videos (although one is shown twice, the UK and US versions of Vanity Kills). The quality of these videos vary, Be Near Me and Vanity Kills UK were both cheesy videos where Martin, Mark, David and Eden (a midget and drag queen who joined the band briefly) are just having fun. While the How To Be A Millionaire is all animated and very well-made. The US version of Vanity Kills was great too.ABC continued American success with their 4th album, 1987's Alphabet City. 3 videos are lifted off this, When Smokey Sings (their biggest US hit), The Night You Murdered Love and King Without A Crown. Unfortunately despite the success of the first single, this album marked the end in the US. Smokey peaked at #5 yet the two followups stiffed (even tho I consider King one of their best singles)1989's Up is merely treated as an afterthought on the video collection. With only One Better World. One thing that's neat is that the image changed for each album. The first album was very formal, the second album was grungy, the third album was campy, the fourth album was very blue-eyed soul and the fifth album was casual.It would've been nice to see an interview with Martin Fry looking back on these videos, maybe even find the MIA Mark White. If you just want the videos, get it now."
What You See Is What You Get
A Fan But a Realist | United States | 03/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a straight ahead video collection of ABC's videos from the 1980s. The sound is good and the video reproduction is OK.Like most videos from the 80s, ABC's work for the small screen improved as the decade wore on. However, the first video on the collection is "Poison Arrow," directed by J.Temple, and much better than anything they did until the "How to Be a Millionaire" videos of the mid-80s. My favorites are "Be Near Me," "Vanity Kills," and "When Smokey Sings." The most disappointing video is "Look of Love." It was bad in 20 years ago and it's bad now. The final video, 1989's "One Better World," is a good example of why the band faded away in the 1990s: it's just kind of boring. Don't expect any new stuff with this DVD. It's strictly the videos . . . no artists interviews, outtakes, or even liner notes. If you like ABC's hits, this is a great DVD to have. But even the biggest fans will be tempted to turn the TV monitor off and just listen to the music."
Almost Absolutely ABC
hippiedj | Palm Desert, CA USA | 12/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A point is taken away for this video complilation for a few reasons: 1) This is not a complete collection of clips, and since it only runs an hour Universal could have gone the extra inch and at least updated it by adding one of ABC's most striking videos "Love Conquers All." I had to obtain a Best Of New Wave DVD from the Netherlands to get that clip. For the price, Absolutely ABC should be a more complete collection. 2) The abrupt "swipe" of the last image of each video kind of gives it a feel of rushing it along rather than letting you enjoy and reflect these wonderful songs, and 3) The lack of a discography or other extras.That said, this is otherwise an enjoyable experience from a time when music was abundant in creativity. From the "romantic new wave" of ABC's beginnings to the later clips' house music style, Mark White and Martin Fry provided something different with a pop sensibility making ABC accessible to many tastes.The music: These songs are just as good today as they were then. I was always fond of ABC's use of string arrangements from the likes of Trevor Horn to Anne Dudley, and songs like "The Look Of Love," the grand "All Of My Heart," "Ocean Blue," and even rougher-edged songs like "That Was Then But This Is Now" are memorable for what you hear in the background, making these songs rather cinematic. There was a lot of care and emotion conveyed in those songs. ABC's third album and look boasted more of a cartoon flair with White and Fry losing more members yet adding other novelty characters (the girl Eden's name was first actually Fiona as listed on the import 12" single of "How To Be A Zillionaire," showing they were medling with an image for the moment). The songs "Be Near Me" and "Vanity Kills" (particularly the UK version of the latter) are nonetheless exciting and for '80s officionados extreme favorites -- these were always requested on my radio show in St. Louis up through my last show there in '95. The late '80s brought ABC into a more "house" style of sound, but still with signature sounds like "When Smokey Sings," "The Night You Murdered Love," and "King Without A Crown" (at least the house sound was made more apparent in the remixes which I proudly own).The visuals: It's a matter of personal taste really, but whether you like the concepts behind each clip or not, one good thing they have going for them is that they aren't mega-million-dollar distractions like even today's worst rap vidoes are churning out.
ABC's videos are good examples of visuals accentuating songs instead of overpowering them -- some are simple in execution, but still with a flair for costume and in some cases a film noir touch. Even the animated "How To Be A Millionaire" manages to entertain without being a shrine to a band's ego. I appreciate the choice of actors in clips such as "Poison Arrow," "S.O.S.," and "Vanity Kills (US)," -- if these would have been made now, they would have replaced most of the dancing patrons of "Poison Arrow" with pretty youths, and replaced the male swimmer of "S.O.S." with a female. It's nice to see these clips in a light that is more suited to the concept.While some may criticize videos like "The Look Of Love" and "One Better World" for a lack of impressive visual flair, you have to at least give them credit for their positive attitude and frivolity. You don't get much of that anymore, as most songs and videos are just so "angry" nowadays. As a fan of ABC even up to their late '90s studio release and as a big fan of '80s new wave, this DVD was a welcome addition to my collection despite the huge mistake of not being a more complete offering. Still, give it a spin and you'll find yourself remembering good times from when these were first released and smiling as you sing along. That counts for something in my book!"
I want the whole thing.
Rockin' Rick | Lockport, IL United States | 07/07/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The picture and sound quality aren't bad. Although, the earlier videos were shot on film and it would have been nice if they had cleaned them up a little. There are a few songs missing. Worst of all, the very beginning and end of each song is clipped/covered by a graphic providing title and year. The music starts and after a few beats the graphic slides off, and then it slides back in before the song is over. If I'm paying for a whole video I want to see the whole video."