Sunday, September 15, 2013

Album Review: Voulez-Vous

Personally, a lot had happened to the members of ABBA by the spring of 1979 when Voulez-Vous hit the stores.  Agnetha and Björn divorced and Frida and Benny married after a lengthy engagement.  Creatively, things were continuing to evolve too.  Benny and Björn were finding it harder and harder to write material that they felt confident enough in.  Work on Voulez-Vous had actually started in the spring of 1978.  Unlike the sessions for previous albums, there was a decent amount of material that didn't make the album, despite being nearly finished.  The current trend of disco was a strong influence.  The group's style could easily be described as having little in the way of soul.  Somehow, ABBA's tradtional European melodies blended with the disco style to create a very unique sound.  "Angeleyes" and the album's opener, "As Good As New," were two gems perfectly at home in the ABBA catalogue.   The title track was written by Benny and Björn during a songwriting trip to the Carribean.  The backing track was recorded at the Bee Gees' Miami studio without the help of Swedish musicians.  The result is one of the group's funkiest tracks yet.  On "Lovers (Live A Little Longer)" and "Kisses Of Fire," ABBA created an adult image of themselves by singing about sex.  Certainly, the themes on Voulez-Vous were grown up.  "Does Your Mother Know" dealt with the controversial subject of jailbait.  By now, it was clear that ABBA were masters of their craft.  Voulez-Vous was the most sophisticated album yet.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

1978: If It Wasn't For The Nights (Without Strings)

As ABBA continued to work on the follow up to ABBA-The Album, they were finding it harder and harder to push forward.  First, Benny and Bjorn were having a bit of writers' block.  They were struggling to come up with new material.  Second, Agnetha and Bjorn were getting closer to ending their marriage.  This put a bit of a strain on the atmosphere in the studio.  Nevertheless, work did continue.  One track that started out as a big favorite for the next ABBA single was "If It Wasn't For The Nights."  ABBA traveled to the UK to perform the new track on TV.  The backing track for their performance is a mix without strings.  Have a listen and see if you agree that the strings added extra punch to this track.

Thanks to for this clip.