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Discussion in 'Music Forum' started by cshadows2887, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. cshadows2887 Mar 14, 2016
    (Last edited: Apr 24, 2020)

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    ABBA (stylised ᗅᗺᗷᗅ) were a Swedish pop group who formed in Stockholm in 1972. With members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, ABBA became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982.


    The Swedish hit machines. Starting with winning the Eurovision song contest, they were off and running on a world-dominating run of success. Their American reputation was never burnished with much cred but they combined an unerring nose for pop hooks with considerable ambitions and some of the cleanest, most detailed production of the era. Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson weren’t necessarily heralded for it, but were excellent songwriters and even better arrangers and knew how to write perfectly for their wives, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Their early records had a giddy joy of making great pop music, and as their marriages crumbled, the songs began to incorporate more personal and occasionally darker-tinged aspects.

    Recommended Listen:
    ABBA: The Album

    Crash Course:
    1. ABBA: The Album
    2. The Visitors
    3. Waterloo

    Compilation Replacement:
    ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits

    Signature Songs:
    1. “Waterloo”
    2. “Mamma Mia”
    3. “Dancing Queen”
    4. “Knowing Me, Knowing You”
    5. “The Winner Takes It All”

    Personal Note:
    A lot of sources put Arrival as their album to listen to, but I made an executive decision to try and represent them faithfully, but by all means listen to that one, too. They’re another band where most of my favorites are not on the signature list (“One Man, One Woman”, “Suzy Hangaround”, “When All Is Said and Done”, “On and On and On”), so their album tracks are definitely worth exploring. They could be dorky occasionally, but if you can embrace that, they have an incredibly unique sound and exceptional arrangement and production.
  2. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    They didn't have a thread on the old site, but just try and stop me! Muahahahaha.

    "One Man, One Woman" and "Suzy Hangaround" are their best deep cuts. Top 5 ABBA songs, but somehow languishing in obscurity.
  3. Meerkat

    human junk drawer Prestigious

    This is great I have a place to talk about how much I love "Lay All Your Love On Me" now
  4. bobby_runs

    where would i be if i was my brain Prestigious

    I have a sealed copy of one of their compilations on vinyl.
  5. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    I really want to make sure I hear Arrival and Voulez-Vouz this week in addition to re-listens
  6. Meerkat

    human junk drawer Prestigious

    I have to note, for personal reasons, that not only were A*Teens formed initially as basically an ABBA cover band and next generation ABBA, but S Club 7 covered "Dancing Queen" for ABBAmania (that tribute album also featured The Corrs, B*Witched, Steps, Westlife, and Culture Club) and performed it in the first season of their TV show.
  7. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Not helping me get cred from the skeptics here!! Haha
    Meerkat likes this.
  8. Meerkat

    human junk drawer Prestigious

    In my defense, Westlife actually had a pretty well-respected career. But that's another conversation for a different thread haha.

    I'm listening to self-titled right now and holy shit they got incredible guitar tones on this record. Musically speaking, it's a really fun record.
  9. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Honestly their production was always next-level and only got better as they went. Some of the guitar sounds on ABBA: The Album are just awesome
  10. Meerkat

    human junk drawer Prestigious

    "So Long" is such a fun closing track. "Intermezzo No. 1" threw me for a loop and was very unexpected. These songs are just so much fun. I can't listen to them without smiling and purely enjoying the experience
  11. Nick

    @fangclubb Prestigious

    I'm so here for the ABBA talk. I remember stealing the aux cord at a party a few years ago and putting on ABBA. It didn't go down as well as it should have.

    and westlife. I grew up on the same road as Nicky Byrne
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  12. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    Just hitting play on The Album, and wow, Eagle is a really great opener.
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  13. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    uhhhh so I didn't know that Take A Chance On Me was an ABBA song until right now haha. oops.
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  14. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    First spin of Arrival:
    - "When I Kissed the Teacher" is awfully stupid lyrically but even their dumb songs always sound immaculate. The little turnaround breaks that pop up are awesome and the guitars sound unreal.

    - "Dancing Queen" is legitimately a perfect pop song. If you can step back from all its cultural baggage and just listen, the details are amazing. The bass is so smooth and propulsive. The strings are beautiful and never flashy. And that piano. Legit classical.

    - "My Love My Life" is a good example of their songwriting complexity. There are a lot of classically structured chord changes and intricate vocal arrangements, but they never let it get in the way of the fact that it's a song that has a nice smooth sway and a lovely, bittersweet melody/lyrics. Also has to be the subtlest use of church bells ever. Usually you only break those out to be bombastic as fuck.

    - "Dum Dum Diddle" suffers from that early ABBA curse of "sounds great until you listen to the lyrics", which are among their most trivial. Man did they know how to produce a guitar sound though. Listening for purely music and melody and not content, I dig it.

    - "Knowing Me Knowing You" is probably my single favorite song of theirs. Just perfect and an example of what they could do at their best. The harmonies on the chorus, the propulsion of the bass, the intensity in the chord changes, that dramatic guitar flourish are all just so good. And the lyrics are actually strong on this one. Always been drawn to the image of "Walking through an empty house, tears in my eyes"

    - "Money Money Money" is awesome. It's an aspect of their sound that's going to turn some people off because it's dramatic and theatrical, but I love it. That booming bass and dramatic almost Broadway chorus are awesome.

    - "That's Me" has a phenomenal groove. That bass-piano-drums-maracas combo makes this thing's ass shake in a deceptive way.

    - "Why Did It Have to Be Me" is a hell of a synthesized country-50s Rock song. Usually Bjorn-sung songs aren't highlights but this one is a blast. The sax sounds like a total mutant and what would be slide guitar on an older recording is synths. Proof that some of their best stuff was in their album tracks. Love it.

    - "Tiger" is a good rock song in their distinct way. Very dramatic, full of surprises and compact, but still driving and razor sharp. And the girls sing the hell out of it, especially at the very end. Lyric is a total throwaway though. Feels like an attempt to update the sound of "Watch Out" off Waterloo.

    - The title track is a fucking trip. Ending the album on an instrumental like this is ballsy anyway, but using synths to basically recreate, like, uillean pipes or bagpipes or something is awesome
  15. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Yesssssss. So many good album tracks on there and that one is an awesome opener
  16. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    Hole In Your Soul is probably the first time on this album that the lyrics really took me out of the song, especially in the chorus. Everything else has been really good. One Man, One Woman, Eagle, and Move On were definitely highlights for me.

    Kind of strange to end the album with three musical tunes. Not that they're bad songs, but to me I would have preferred them to stick with the same theme throughout the whole album.

    cshadows2887 likes this.
  17. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Yeah I do appreciate that they set it aside as a 3 song suite/mini-musical at the end though, knowing it would be a departure. There are times I'll go through the record and skip it and times where I am ALL about it. But I love their ambition. They were never content with just churning out singles.

    Speaking of singles, I love that none of your 3 standouts are the 2 big hits
  18. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    What was the other big hit? I only recognized Take A Chance On Me.
  19. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    "The Name of the Game" is one of their bigger singles. Made it to #12 here and #1 in the UK
  20. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    Interesting, surprised I hadn't heart it before, and to be honest it didn't really do a lot for me compared to the other tracks.

    On Arrival right now and I think I like it more than The Album. It's so much fun. Why Did It Have To Be Me? is definitely a highlight, I love how different it sounds, and the sax totally makes it for me.
  21. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Yeah I had never heard that song before today and I loved it.

    I still don't think I agree with all the lists that pick it as the one album to represent the band though. I don't think the album is as good as The Visitors or The Album myself. But it has "Dancing Queenl
  22. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    Yeah, on a whim I decided to go with that one for my second album rather than the others in your crash course, simply because I was in the mood for some Dancing Queen haha, no disrespect to your list at all. I'm going to give your other two albums a spin probably in the couple of days.

    After listening to two albums, I can say that they will never be one of my favorite classic bands, but I definitely have a new appreciation for them and there will definitely be a handful of tracks that I come back to/add to some playlists.
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  23. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Oh not what I was getting at even a little bit! I have just always been perplexed by how uniform is is on stuff like the 1001 Albums You Must Listen to and such. Listen to everything, anything, whatever. Awesome that you're engaging

    And yeah that's the idea. After the week you'll be able to say "I know this band a little better" and some weeks there will be songs you'll go back to, a couple albums you love or maybe you find someone you really want to keep digging in.
    ChiliTacos likes this.
  24. Meerkat

    human junk drawer Prestigious

    You're gonna have to talk about that last part with me in the 90s thread. My jaw just dropped
  25. Meerkat

    human junk drawer Prestigious

    Listening through Super Trouper for the first time in a while. I always forget how much I love "Me And I"
    cshadows2887 likes this.