Saturday, February 5, 2011

Album Review: ABBA

By the time ABBA was released in 1975, the group was on their way to becoming a truly international phenomenon.  Although the first two singles from the album (the glam-rock "So Long" and the '50s era flavored "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do") failed to be commercially successful, they showed a new ABBA.  More polished, more energetic.  Most telling is the fact that Björn's lead vocal duties had been reduced from half of the album to only three of the eleven songs.  On the ABBA album, the women finally (and rightfully) took center stage.  The result was an album that spawned two bonafide international hit singles ("SOS" and "Mamma Mia").  These two tracks were arguably the best things that the quartet had released to date.  But there were more highlights on the album.  Frida's warm, deep voice was given the perfect showcase on "Tropical Loveland," while Agnetha's innocent, high pitched vocals are perfect on "I've Been Waiting For You."  After his distasterous lead vocal on Waterloo's "Suzy-Hang-Around," Benny showed his true power on the progressive rock instrumental "Intermezzo No. 1."  As an album, ABBA was much stronger than either Waterloo or Ring Ring, but it was still not what you could call a cohesive collection of songs.  With so many different styles (glam rock, reggae, pop, progressive rock, ballads and '50s bandstand), it was hard to tell exactly who ABBA was.  They were still finding their style.

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