Saturday, February 5, 2011

Album Review: ABBA-The Album

The pressure was beginning to really build for Björn and Benny to come up with material when work began on the group's fifth album in 1977.  ABBA was now topping the singles charts on a regular basis, and Arrival had proven their worth on the album charts.  Musically, they had taken a major step forward during the past year.  The progression would continue on ABBA-The Album.  The wonderfully complex "The Name Of The Game" was one of the first tracks recorded, and it is a perfect example of the progression of the ABBA sound that was taking place at the time.  The tracks here were quite polished, not oony from a production standpoint but lyrically as well.  There were no silly "Tiger" or "When I Kissed The Teacher" type songs here.  "Eagle," the opening track of the album, clocks in at nearly six minutes long.  It's multilayered, rich sound showcased not only the quartet's talents, but the talents of their musicians and engineers as well.  "One Man, One Woman" and "I Wonder (Departure)," both with Frida on lead vocals, were incredibly mature.  ABBA even showed a hint of bitterness and exhaustion on the album's closer" "I'm A Marionette," a dark number from the so-called mini-musical featured on their recent tour of Europe and Australia.  But things weren't all somber and heavy here.  The international smash "Take A Chance On Me" and the rock-n-roll tribute "Hole In Your Soul" (featuring an impressive vocal crescendo by Agnetha) showed that ABBA was still fun.  But they were certainly more grown up.  The philosophical, latin flavored "Move On" demonstrated that.  ABBA had gotten to the point where they proved that their music was more important than the flashy costumes.  "Thank You For The Music," another number from the mini-musical, was closer to Gilbert and Sullivan than pop, but the point could certainly be taken.

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