George Starostin's Reviews



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Manuel Americo Figueredo da Rosa 2147 (16.06.99)

I am a heavy metal fan, and I listen from Iron Maide, to Coroner, Metallica, Manowar, Was, Bathory, Candlemass, etc, and I have to say that ABBA are the best group in the history of music (considering the whole of the song writting of Benny Andersson). From the heavy groups I like, I preffer those who can put some melodic pieces in their work. Those who can really do something else than just bang a battery, scratch a guitar like a mad animal would do, not an artist, someone who can write somthing readable (Maiden do, Metallica as well, Zepplin, are welcome)....
When it comes to Art, ABBA are there, at the very top.... not everybody preffers them, of course, but only idiot headbangers, who are deaf of stupidity, would punch someone in the nose for liking ABBA.... Benny, makes music as good as the old composers... just listen to his post ABBA compositions and you'll know why.
This is a suport mail.

Simon Hearn (07.09.99)

I know it is not considered cool to say so, but ABBA are the best band in the pop genre of all time. Often imitated, but never bettered they had what pop music and bands require to be great. Looks, song writing ability and bravado. 'The winner takes it all' is the best pop ballad written.
They will go in and out of fashion for eternity, but nothing can demean them - they rule as far as pop is concerned and will continue to be influential - look at steps for god's sake.

An Anonymous Guy (28.01.2000)

After years of listening I am absolutely convinced that ABBA made the best music ever made on this planet. I am talking about MUSIC not image, lyrics or social importance. I am not talking about being the most innovative. I do not give a damn who first used sitars in pop music. It´s music that I care about and ABBA are the best. Their finest album is Super Trouper, while The Visitors, The Album and Arrival are also truly great.

<> (02.04.2000)

PSSSSSTT!!! Hey , I like ABBA!! GEEEZ Did I just admit I like ABBA? It isnt the most popular thing to admit to but someone bought all those albums besides me! I have allways heard that they have sold more albums world wide than ELVIS or the BEATLES ! Very slick highly produced well written pop. Every note sounds like they were trying to paint the MONA LISA! and it works! ( most of the time).You have to be in the right mood to listen to them and dont expect any great musical breakthrough or ideas that deviate from thier tried and true formula but it still works! The gals were not bad on the eyes either !

Adam Harrington (21.04.2000)

Sometime ago, I saw the Australian movie "Muriel's Wedding," whose main character is an overweight girl who does nothing but listen to ABBA records. Now, I wasn't crazy about the movie. Frankly, I thought it sucked. But the very worst thing about it was the godawful music in it. And again, who was it by? ABBA.
There are plenty of groups I don't like. I don't care for the Monkees, but for the most part, their stuff is tiresome, not insufferable. But one second of ABBA is enough for me to be overcome by nausea.
I don't like the arrangements. They are way too slick and lightweight. They are pure muzak; even calling them "pop" is a stretch. The two women's vocals are flat and emotionless, and the lyrics are absolutely horrible. The subjects of the songs were all bigtime cliches, and some of the references they tried to pass off as highbrow failed miserably (like the Napoleon/Waterloo metaphor -- I must say that if I ever hear that song, the water in my loo is bound to contain vomit).
You say a lot of ABBA's stuff has "a great melody, professional arrangements and a terrific sound." Your opinion, George, is yours, but I don't agree with any of these statements. If you're judging the melody by whether they're singing more than one note, yes, they usually are. And yes, the melodies stick in your head, but not like your favorite song you wish you could put on right away. They stick in your head like that annoying commercial jingle you wish you'd never heard. Did professional people do their arrangements? I'm sure they did. Professional people also do the arrangements of the "music" you hear in elevators. And their sound ain't terrific. It is terrifyingly bad. If anyone ever puts on ABBA, I ask them to turn it off, leave the room, or cover my ears.
How ABBA ever made the charts is a wonder; they don't deserve to any more than poorly-done muzak versions of old, mediocre pop songs. I'd say that trying to pass ABBA off as pop is an insult to the many good pop groups out there, and I think people should think twice before even considering buying their records.

Kathleen Keplar (15.07.2000)

Painful...absolutly painful. I try my best when writing these reviews to be as though and intelligent as I can manage to be. I mean, everything has at least some value in it somewhere, doesn't it? There was a lot of music I didn't care for before I started playing guitar myself. Once I became a so called 'musician' I found respect for most of the styles and sounds of these other bands. I can appreciate what goes into it even though I still don't care for the music itself. ABBA? Oh please...I'll make this one short and sweet...Shallow, slick, professional. Cornball, phoney, contrived. Commercial, pointless, just plain crap! They've always seemed like a band trying to 'act' and 'sound' like a real band. Real R&R is a hard assed muscle car, half stock, half homemade. Unique, scary, and built for speed. Dangerous and exciting. What the hell do we get from Sweden? Volvos for christ's sake! ABBA? A serious review or even a serious remark? Give me a break.....  

Tania Zagnitko (01.09.2000)

ABBA!..It's wonderful! It's my life, my dreams, my fantasy & my love. ABBA's music is the best medicine for me, when I'm blue & lonely. In their songs there is an echo of my soul, they help me to forget everyday problems & to feel the charm of life again. I begin to reminisce about the happiest days & a strength to live & fight appears in me. As one fellow has said:"I live, I breath, I see, I sleep...- ABBA!" This groop means everything to me. It's the best groop in the world!!!  

Diane Waite (28.09.2000)

Though I am a Major ABBA fan, I will try and keep objectivity in this review. Every group in the world has had some terrible music at times where even the biggest fans cant stand them. Examples groups would definitely have to include Elvis, Beatles, Bee Gees, Michael Jackson and of course ABBA. Songs such as 'She's my kind of girl' can get very tedious at times and I admit I don't like much of ABBA's pre 1974 music. Though due to ABBA's high popularity certain songs become too well known and become quite unpopular. I know 'Waterloo' isn't too well received across the world as is also (amazingly) 'Mamma Mia'. School children often ridicule past musicians because they are out of fashion or they don't sound as "upbeat" as today's musicians. But one underlying factor that everyone should respect is that ABBA's popularity is still at a peak nearly 20 years after their breakup. People shouldn't ridicule such a group based on a couple of songs they don't like. They should respect there success and begone withit. There in no use stewing about a groups popularity when you don't like them. I don't like Blink 182 or Metallica but I respect their success. People who dislike a group base their disgust on one or two songs , they don't even try to listen to some of the groups better music. I'm not going to begin on ABBA's melody or arrangements because the major fans have already said it. If people are out for a band that they can overall like then ABBA would be a good choice. ABBA's lasted this long, let's hope they last even longer.

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

Yeah, George, I've got your point because I also grew up in Russia and at the same time... (Hell, why did I come here?!)
I agree. They ARE professional, really. Although I don't like female vocals. Skip that. Benny Andersson is a really funny guy! Of course, you can call them the best pop group of the world (you guys below) although I think that Beatles are the best in that genre (and, hell, as for me - my favourite pop-group is CCR... don't blame on me!)
Let's see further...

Raghu Mani (28.12.2000)

I shouldn't like ABBA. Every rational part of my brain tells me that. I dislike that sort of music in general but somehow, whenever I listen to ABBA I find myself enjoying it. Maybe it is because they were one of the first pop/rock acts I ever seriously listened to and I am merely being nostalgic. However, I did listen to quite a few artists in those days and I cannot stand most of them now (Boney M would be a prime example). From those days, the only artists I still like are The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel ... and ABBA. I know its cheesy, over-produced and often disgustingly commercial. However, there's something about their melodies, the singing and the sheer innocence in the songs (I think I'm going way overboard here - so I'd better stop now) that makes we like them. They are never going to be my favorites but I'll always like them.

Steve Hall (09.01.2001)

My oh my,was i gobsmacked when i saw the name ABBA on your website.Yes they are the cheesiest of the cheesy in the entire pop world and to top it all off they're Swedish.But i'm gonna have to join the case for the defense aswell,after all most of the negative things about ABBA are not to do with music but image.Yeh i hide my ABBA albums under the bed away from visitors and i'm careful not to whistle along when it's on the radio,but when you look at it musically they did write some great melodies and it's hard to think of a truly greater solely "pop" group.You're comparisons with today's pop is completely justified,what "talent" have The Backstreet Boys or N'sync or Britney Spears (apart from her body) got compared to ABBA, absolutely none at all.Yeh it is shameful admitting it but if those who hate them remove the image and politically correct way of viewing ABBA they really aren't that bad but on the contrary deserve a medium of praise for their work.

Morten Felgenhauer (15.01.2001)

For a long time I wrote ABBA off as worthless pop music. My wife, who prefers melody and harmony instead of / in addition to guitars and energy, listens to them a lot and made me realize that they wrote some of the best melodies of this century (no, I don't get hooked on commercial melodies) and that the arrangements (especially the vocals - note all those in the background) are often of brilliant quality. The session players (bass, drums and guitars) are good musicians who don't produce elevator music. The songs are smoothly produced, but I am not offended. It's just that they would be even better if played by a rock group (like the Beatles). Their early albums aren't very impressive, but this is typical of many groups. And their lyrics are often best ignored. I am now at the point in my life where I have to admit that ABBA produced some of the best music of the 70s (and I know what I am talking about). The proud rocker in me has to undergo a lot of therapy, though, before I admit that ABBA belongs up there with the Great Ones.
PS! The nationalist in me must point out that Anni-Frid was Norwegian. And don't tell my wife about my confessions above!

Glenn Wiener (17.06.2001)

The music of ABBA can clearly be categorized as lightweight pop. The instrumentation is not spectacular but it adequately supports the messages from their songs, which are pretty darn catchy. 'Fernando', 'Take A Chance on Me' and especially 'Dancing Queen' have good hooks and are very pleasant. Whereas I could never see myself becoming a hard core fan, a greatest hit compilation may very well be in my future.

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

It would be easy for me to dismiss ABBA as an generic pop band which is perfectly happy to produce nothing more than cheesy lightweight songs with lots of silly lyrics. And to a certain extent, they are just that. Still, they are more than that, they are pop itself. When you ask an average person on the street who made the best pop music, the answer would, very likely be ABBA. They're famous all over the planet as the creators of numerous hits, and they're often celebrated as THE BEST pop artists ever. ABBA is an icon of the 70's, and indeed, an icon for the ages. Naturally, that's only one side of the medal. On the other hand, they are often cursed for being generic, shallow, phony, emotionless, commercial, radio-friendly, non-innovative and full of clichés. It's normal to hear people saying that their arrangements are too slick and artificial, and that their ballads are fake. And yes, I agree with both of that claims, cause indeed, they are both. They're repulsive and charming in the same time and they do tend to get under my skin, just like the Bee Gees or Boney M. I know I should hate them, but I CAN'T. Certainly, their image is vomit-inducing and it's hard to see them as something better than today's pop scum like Britney Spears. However, they are better because they were TALENTED. They were professionals who knew exactly how to use all those previous counts as their advantage. If there's only one thing you can't accuse ABBA for being, that is monotonous. They used beautiful vocal harmonies, diverse instruments and catchy pleasant melodies too create their songs, and indeed, those songs aren't topped even today. If they do sound dated, that is another thing, but sure enough, that can be said about many other, more revered artists in existence. In any case, it's nice to dive in the wonderful world of ABBA from time to time, and if we can forget our gripes with them and just enjoy their sometimes brilliant music, all the better.

Rene Martin (29.12.2001)

I am a 41 years old guy who has a main hobby: music. I am also a parent of teenagers. I was very proud when my 13 years old daughter told me one day to buy a CD of ABBA. It really moved me inside, because I never told her that ABBA was my favorite group, and I could understand how different generations can understand good music. What ABBA did for music is only comparable of what Einstein did for science. Every song ABBA wrote and sang was a masterpiece. There were no holes in the lyrics, no holes in the music and no holes in the final product. I am a huge fan of the Beatles, of course, but listening to 1 compilation recently, I asked myself if The Beatles elaborated their songs as good as ABBA did, and listening to their voices I said to myself again: something is missing right now in Beatles songs: the magnificent of the voices. ABBA's singers, Agnetha and Frida are located in the highest pedestal of voice range like Barbra Streisand, like Ella Fitzgerald, like Celine Dion. Specially Agnetha, my god, what a voice, what a charisma, what a change. I can name a list of good musical groups who had endured by years like Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Santana, Chicago, CSNY, etc even the new ones like Backstreet Boys, Creed, etc, but not all their songs have grown in quality as all ABBA songs did. It is a shame, and also a nostalgic thing, that they don't want to give to the world the spark they gave once, reuniting again, even for that huge amount of money offered recently: 1 billion. I will be blessed if my voice would be strong enough to let understand them that we need ABBA.

Mattias Lundberg (04.02.2002)

I believe this is the second time I have to confront Kathleen Keplar; the question is not what this person is talking about, but rather why?. How can you ventilate opinions that are so obviously, blatantly based on the argument 'I don't like right because I like left'. If you want to comment on a band on this page, why comment on things you don't like ? Of course it's your right to do so but what's the point? If you don't like football you need to find millions of football pages to slate, if you don't like sitting in the sun, whistling, you better attack web rings for this activity &c. &c. I just can't see how you can waste your precious time on slagging off music that you obviously don't enjoy. You and some other commentators above brought up the points on which ABBA is usually 'critized'. Please try and regard these concepts as they stand rather than as you try to understand them in your loathe of ABBA; apply them to all music worthy of a review and you shall found that they are not negative by definition: (Shallow: Fleetwood Mac, Professional: The Wings, Phony: Barrett-led Pink Floyd, Contrived: Frank Zappa, Commercial: The Beatles &c. &c.). Let me also point out that the fact that I'm Swedish doesn't make me positively biased against ABBA (even if it might appear as such, due to this little flamer), on the contrary - if you're from a small provincial country at any rate - you tend to naturally underrate the culture from that country, believe me. What I have to say though, is that ABBA represents, together with e.g. Dylan and Elton John, musicians whose music is not normally 'my cup of tea' but which are just so obviously talented that I cannot help but like their music. I'm sorry about this little outburst, George, you don't have to put it up on your page if you find it offensive.

Paddy Nair (19.05.2002)

Definitely the greatest group other than the beatles.I read a lot of crap in your column about "what do you expect from Sweden" and "superficial songs". You do not sell 20 years after disbanding if you are superficial. Sales can be the only objective criteria. People like to listen!
As regards the former comment everything regarding rock is not "made in Britain & America"! I think Super Trouper was their best album, followed by Voulez Vous.I understand they are third in Sales behind Elvis & Beatles & that is where they should be.

Bob Josef (02.06.2002)

The presence of ABBA on this site, with highly favorable reviews, has always baffled me. If there was one group that was uncool for a teenage boy to like in the 70's, it was the Swedish babes with their chirpy voices and their boyfriends coming out of the AM radio. However, an old two LP set called The Singles crash-landed in my collection recently. So, combined with these reviews, the fact that my fiancee is a fan, and the fact that in the 70's they were Sweden's #1 corporation (even ahead of Volvo and SAAB -- they accounted for a significant portion of Sweden's Gross National Product), I decided to check them out.
And I'm afraid my opinion hasn't changed much form my teenage years. Granted, they could write very catchy, hook-filled melodies. They did make a fair attempt to incorporate various European influences (British, Italian, Spanish, French), I'll also give them that. But they couldn't handle American influence too well (rock, disco, funk) at all. First, their music is highly derivative of Phil Spector's both in production (a highly compressed Wall of Sound) and in those girl group vocals. But Frida and Agnetha always sound like cheery, shallow 14 year olds, no matter what they're singing -- zero emotional range. Some of this has to do with their lyrics, which are at best awkward. You can tell English is not these folks' first language -- they always sound like they're singing phonetically.
But the other problem is that there is zero "edge" to this music. Now that word may sound laughable when applied to ABBA, but even the frothiest 60's pop has some "bottom." It never sounds like the B-boys ever used a bass guitarist. songs. Again, it seems like they used the most compressed sound possible and then turned the treble all the way up. Which may have sounded cute coming out of an AM radio in the 70's, but is just irritating today. I can understand why people get so attached to their music, but it just cannot be taken the teeniest bit seriously, I'm sorry. They bowed out just in time, fortunately. As "Under Attack" and "One Night in Bangkok" (the single from Chess, the musical the B-boys wrote with Tim Rice post-ABBA) proved, 80's synths and drum machines in the hands of these folks would have been a disaster.
The cover of The Singles, by the way, has the girls dressed in the most garish, ugliest dresses I've ever seen. Put that together with the cover of Waterloo, you've also got the nominees for the Band With the Worst Fashion Sense Ever.

Howard Waite (26.08.2002)

I would like to ask one question here? George where do you get your facts and figures from? You bag highly successful artists who you know have a lot of fans and praise americanised bullshit. We all know america is one of the hardest musical markets to crack but america comes up with some sure rubbish. There hasn't been a descent american artist for over 12 years. You should make it clear also that this is your opinion not the worlds opinion. I'm a fan of the almost the top five biggest selling artists of all time except for michael jackson. Elvis is the king of rock and roll undisputed his best song is definately "american triliogy" The Beatles need no explanation My upmost favourite of theirs is "Hello , Goodbye" , Wings are not so good but i do like the song "Mull of Kintyre" Michael jackson is an unoriginal fake who rides on the popularity band wagon but has died a dismal death years ago with his ever popular more famous EP "the real story about me touching up that boy" With the hit single I'll pay you $75,000 if you would keep it to yourself. The Bee Gees, disco yeah! They rock! My fav band but i really don't care what anyone thinks about them really. Their successful, very popular and have almost had more hits than the beatles themselves! Why is it that people diss disco yet they love 90's and naughties disco trash? They seem to sound very similar not very original if you ask me. Britney spears biggest and most famous slut to walk on two legs. She might as well fuck on tv i'm sure she could get some sales out of it. might make her more popular too. Garth brooks let's just keep his deep dark secret in the closet, if you know what i mean. Madonna i think she's too old and you know with all that money you'd think she could fix her bloody teeth. Now R&B what went wrong. GARBAGE GARBAGE GARBAGE. untalented bums who are trying to make a living.
Still everyone has their own opinions. And even though music is turning shit so shit in fact that faggot president bush could probably make some hit popular in that lovely country of the egotistical and domineering. But i do have a prediction for everyone. I belive that if america keeps "bullying" the rest of the world we might see a world war waged on america because i've heard countries are becoming quite unhappy. but you wouldn't care george because your from russia! "Russians don't like americans"(that was a stereotype)
[Special author note: just to relieve any doubts, I confirm that yes indeed, this reader comment had "Abba review" in the subject line, so I had no choice but to post it here. What do I know? I'm just posting your ideas!]

Pedro Andino (28.12.2003)

oh sure! laugh if you want but i adore abba! they first started in the early days when everything seemed too cute! ring ring! sucks balls! waterloo! ack! abba! oh start! arrival! and they were hit makers!!!!!!! benny and bjorn anna and anni frid two guys and two lovely girls and when you see the band in the clips from tv shows! THAT IS THE 70'S! DON'T EXPECT ABBA TO SING ON THAT 70'S SHOW!

Barry Stoller (01.06.2004)

ABBA & Queen: This comment is for the intro sections to BOTH bands. It's almost the same band, with the same songs - only the package is a bit different: one is pop for little girls and the other is rock for little boys. Just spin 'Mamma Mia' and 'Killer Queen' back to back and ... it's pretty obvious. Note that same processed electric guitar tone, that's the first clue. Go on to the other tracks. Is not 'Bohemian Rhapsody' the perfect Abba track? Is not 'Chiquitita' the perfect Queen track? On and on, really. Queen doing 'Money, Money, Money' - hot! Abba doing 'Somebody To Love' - fantastic!
The second clue is the vocals: switch Freddie with Anni-Frid and Agnetha and you get the same deal: loads of passion (but) without emotional commitment - not an easy task ... but the key to understanding both groups. Jeez, George, why didn't a genius like you figure this out?

Alexey Provolotsky (01.09.2005)

For me, listening to Abba is pretty much like walking on a thin line. Meaning one step and you are glad you do it, another step and you ask yourself how could you start listening to such schlock. Hit and miss. First two albums are definitely miss (they share only one (!) good/decent song, “Waterloo”), two next ones are more miss than hit, the next one is more hit than miss and the last three are more (much more, in fact) miss than hit. So, I made me a nice selection of what I consider to be “hit” (17 songs, not that few) that helps me not to fall down from that thin line. Pretentious, but absolutely true.
I quite like Abba. Not much, I guess. I still can’t get over their lyrics, but I do enjoy their three albums (the three evident ones, of course) and rather a small bunch of songs from their last three efforts (four songs, to be precise: “The Winner Takes It All”, “Angeleyes”, “The Visitors” and “One Of Us”). They had a talent for writing catchy (sometimes in a very annoying sense of word) pop melodies and a BIG talent (I would say genius) for composing rudimentary lyrics to accompany those tunes. Nice voices (when not oversweetened, of course). Good harmonies (for the most part).
Well, my aim is not to put them down, my aim is to say that George overrates them a bit. A two overall is a maximum, IMO. Also, it was really very surprising to see that so many people actually like them. Seriously, I couldn’t expect to find that many favourable reviews. Well, me, I quite like them too, so… I got the MP3 with all their albums by chance. I, personally, am not a fan of buying MP3’s; never bought any. One CD and you are happy. Boring. Anyway, after listening to all of their albums (listening to their first two nearly killed me), I came up with this: get their MP3 and make yourself a compilation. Or just go and buy Abba, Arrival and The Album. These are good records. Give them a chance.

Lindsey Eck (29.09.2005)

This band has become the subject of a so-called jukebox musical called Mamma Mia, first on Broadway, now headed to Vegas. The t.v. commercial uses the song "Dancing Queen" and every time I hear it (and view the dance troupe) I think, "Dancing queens / So many flaming queens / Dancing queens!" Yup, in America this stuff sounds awfully gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that ... hell, I even like Bronski Beat. What's the difference? Well, despite the robotic synths Bronski Beat actually rocks. ABBA doesn't. Also, a song like "Small Town Boy" is deeply emotional while ABBA is sterile and lacks resonance.
Let's look at a few of their radio hits. Consider "Fernando." This song, minus the dance beat, is virtually a ripoff of "Blue Bayou," as covered by Linda Ronstadt. Once you realize that, you can compare the thin soprano vocals of ABBA to Ronstadt's rich, expressive contralto and you realize ABBA doesn't sing that well. Plus the song is utterly derivative (even "Blue Bayou" was derivative, and it came years earlier).
"Waterloo." The central metaphor of this song—you gave me my Waterloo, i.e., you defeated me—is not developed by the rest of the lyrics. If the idea is that the speaker, though a brilliant conqueror on the field of love, has been defeated following a megalomaniacal overreach by a wily opponent, which (if anything) is what "Waterloo" might imply, the rest of the song does nothing to support that idea, and the military metaphor is undercut by the light and poppy arrangement. In your own terms, this is utterly inadequate. In their defense, this is the kind of thing non-English speakers come up with when trying to write a song in a language whose literature and traditions they only imperfectly understand, but that doesn't mean I have to listen to it. It gets worse: The shuffle beat, mastered by the Doors ("a back beat narrow and hard to master") is completely misinterpreted by this mechanical rendering. The song fails to rock and I'm amazed anyone thought one could dance to this.
"Mamma Mia." Why the Italian phrase for a band that so obviously has no Latin blood? I mean, it would be unhip for Dean Martin to do a song called "Mamma Mia," and this is thus 10 times squarer than even Deano.

Gavin Power (21.06.2006)

Not a big fan of ABBA, the group is too big for its music I recon. However, to reminisce and glimse the sun lit gold; Lukas Moodyson's film "Tilsammans" has a great internal story going on. The focus and ethos of this flick is set in stone with a few lines from ABBA's "SOS". Powerful stuff, have pinches of it in your life.


Josh Fitzgerald (06.04.99)

This album, (yes, a remastered version has been released in the US) I feel, is more accomplished than you hint at. Okay, "I Am Just A Girl", "I Saw It In The Mirror", and "Me & Bobby & Bobby's Brother" are all nauseating. But look, and you'll see some things you probably haven't realized. There's a song written by Agnetha on here, "Dissillusion" is a dang good tune. "She's My Kind Of Girl" isn't a true ABBA song. It was recorded by only Benny & Bjorn in late 1969, for some swedish movie. It's another good song. "He Is Your Brother" rules. I'm serious. Rules."People Need Love" was their very 1st single in 1972. It's also really good. "Another Town, Another Train", and "Nina Pretty Ballerina" are passable. But the rest I feel is much better. But it's still not their best effort either way. My rating-7

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

This is a pretty weak album (it is their first!!), but it does show glimpses of what great songwriters the band possessed. 'Ring Ring', of course, is the tune people will know. An interesting listen if you are an Abba fan, otherwise forget about it and move on to some of the monster output of their later career. A 3.

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

Yep, you guessed it, ABBA wasn't off with a great start. Indeed, it's only fair this album enjoyed such a massive flop. It really took the success of 'Waterloo' to show people ABBA has something special, and after hearing this record I can understand why. Look, it wouldn't be fair to compare this little throwaway with the rest of ABBA's output, cause it is obvious that they don't know which direction they want to go. They didn't found their style yet, and this must be seen for what it is, a decent enough stab at local generic pop music. Some songs came out respectively enough, like 'Ring Ring', 'He Is Your Brother' and even 'People Need Love' which I'm not prepared to proclaim garbage just yet, cause I do enjoy it a little (please do have in mind that it's a sing-along, and those songs are meant to be popular anyway). Truthfully, none of those songs aren't on ABBA's classical level, but they're kinda cute if you just think of them as some minor local hits by an anonymous group, which luckily, is the truth. Vomit abounds trashy compositions like... well, like all the other tracks. Okay, it's slightly possible that tracks like 'Listening To Early ABBA Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Impossible Enough Unless You're Braindead)' and 'Me & Bobby & Bobby's Brother & Mother & Father & Grandparents & Their Dogs Miriam & Benji' are also decent, but after all, who the f**k cares ? Actually, if I get a bit more serious right now, I could find in my heart a high 3 for their effort. Let us not forget, this wouldn't be a bad album at all, if we're talking about the Backstreet Boys or someone that talentless.

Pedro Andino (01.08.2003)



Josh Fitzgerald (06.04.99)

Another album that I feel is much better. "Waterloo" IS a classic. And your totally right about the ballads. Yech! And "Watch Out" is a truly pathetic attempt at a heavy metal song. Blah! "Sitting In The Palmtree" is fun, you gotta admit. "What About Livingstone" has some way cool harmonies by the two girls. "King Kong Song" is something only ABBA in their early days would have gotten away with. If they put that song on The Album imagine the mayhem! "Suzy Hang Around" might be my favorite track, it's an awesome ode to the days of elementary school. Cool! Early ABBA is much better than what you say. My rating-7

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

I want you all cast aside the sentimentality for the title track and judge the album on its merits as a collection of tracks. If this is done, no more than a 2 rating can apply here. Yes, the title track is a classic of modern music, but does that necesarily mean the album is great? NO! The ballads (as George pointed out) are revolting and alot of the other material is just plain mediocre. Go buy Abba Gold if you want to listen to the title track and save yourself the embarassment of having one of the worst ABBA releases in your record collection.

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

Waterloo? Let me recall...
Well, it is way haaaard to recall... the two things I remember is that "Sitting in the palm tree" was pretty fun, and "King kong" too... But the best one here is surely "Watch out"... although I've heard that they really didn't write it... skip that, ABBA fans! Sometimes truth hurts...

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

Not MUCH better, but a little better.... yeah, I guess it is. This could be called the first classic ABBA album, but does that mean it's any good ? Well, I'm not to sure myself. The title track is their first REAL hit, and deservedly so, but the rest... Anyway, they do sound more like themselves here, but not quite there yet. I agree this album is too sugary even for their low standards. Corny ? Yep. Sleazy ? Yep. Slick ? Yep. Lame ? YEP. This album features exactly the kind of smelly primitive music which all ABBA haters are thinking of when they hear their name. And I can understand that. Hell, I would HATE them too if I heard only Ring Ring and this. As I was saying, 'Waterloo' is a colossal high-volume song with impressive vocal hooks and it's probably one of the best pop songs that came out of the Eurovision contests in general. Oh yeah, the lyrics stink like twenty year old cheese that was rotting in someone's basement, but that isn't important, now is it ? I for one certainly can't concentrate on the content of the lyrics when I hear that piano playing and the gals repeating that endless chorus line. Yeah, it's dumb, but that's what ABBA does best, 100% pop music at its finest. Again, there isn't much here when you get pass that song. 'King Kong Song' is so stupid that it hurts, but I can't deny it's kinda catchy. 'Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)' is pretty good though, if you can ignore the fact it sounds more primitive than, well, 'Dancing Queen'. 'Sitting On The Palmtree' is unmemorable, but it's funny while it lasts. 'Honey Honey' is certainly over-something, but I wouldn't say "oversexy". 'Watch Out' is a killer song, and it really kills my braincells with its enormous "musical value". And the ballads... oh, the ballads. The ballads sound like something the Bee Gees would do in their most crappier years, but still, I do believe it would be much more entertaining to listen to them than to this worthless, virtually unlistenable dreck. Hell, I get more satisfaction while listening to 'How Deep Is Your Love', which says a lot. Even that trash-fest with its fake emotions and the terrible production is somewhat catchy. This is just SICK. Yeah, the ballads here are also catchy, but I only catch bullshit with them, so it's better to forget the whole thing. This is still far, far away from 'Fernando' or 'Chiquitita'. Mind you, I think this album is sickening, but if you like 90's extra-light pop music you'll enjoy the crap out of this record. A very, very low 4.

Bill Slocum (17.10.2003)

According to the liner notes, the lyrics in "King Kong Song" refer to a "big black wild gorilla," not "wide." With that change in mind, surely you must now admit Abba to the forefront of rock's great lyricists.


Josh Fitzgerald (06.04.99)

We are total opposite when it comes to musical taste."Man In The Middle" is probably their WORST song up to that point. "Rock Me" is almost just as bad. The rest is good though. "SOS"? REAL good! "Mamma Mia"? WOW! "So Long"? 'Salright. Actually, I'm pretty sick of "I Do x5" but your right about the rest. Oooooh!

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

'SOS', 'Mamma Mia', 'Intermezzo No 1', 'Hey Hey Helen', 'I Do I Do'..........are classic pop songs. This is one of Abba's finest hours and therefore gets a 9 from me. I think if this album hadn't been released at this particular time Abba may not have emerged as a great pop band, if you consider their previous medicore releases. Now all together now: Mamma Mia..............!

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

Well... that's nice but much, much forgettable! Yeah, I agree that "Intermezzo #1" is the best here. And another two which are hard to forget - "So long" and the final "a-capello" ("The way all friends do" - I'm not sure whether it really IS on this album but I had it there when many years ago I had this casette). And, in fact... this is not that terrible pop-up that we'll hear a year after...

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

This is it, the first real ABBA classic, and indeed, it's appropriate that the album bares their name. Here we have brilliant pop songs in spades: 'S.O.S.', 'Intermezzo No. 1', 'So Long', 'Mamma Mia', 'Hey Hey Helen', 'I Do I Do...' and so on. Interesting enough, there isn't a bad tune in sight. Actually, some aren't exactly masterpieces, but they're certainly not bad. I suppose 'Tropical Loveland' and 'Man In The Middle' qualify for that group (although, I see that George likes the first one), but just barely. The problem is, I don't know which song do I like best, since the hits are a little overplayed, so I'm tired of them, and the rest is so... even. Maybe 'Bang-A-Boomerang' ? Nah. 'So Long', probably. Oh, and the ballads are better this time, I must add. Naturally, like I already mentioned, I don't like 'Tropical Loveland' too much, but 'I've Been Waiting For You' is REAL good (especially if one considers what kind of balladeering garbage they released on their previous albums). Anyway, maybe it's the lack of nostalgia, but I just don't enjoy this album like I do most of the others. It isn't exactly a 9, but I also don't think it's worse than Arrival, and that one should get a 9. I don't know. Ah, I might as well go with you on this one, George. I'll give it a high 8.

Alexey Provolotsky (01.09.2005)

Yeah, you should really go listen to their two previous “efforts” in order to fully understand how immaculately great this album is. Forgetting about that, Abba is still a very nice pop record. My personal favourites are quite trivial, I guess: “Mamma Mia” (possibly their best ever), “Hey Hey Helen”, “S.O.S.” and “I’ve Been Waiting For You”. You can’t seriously tell me you can do without these four songs. It’s pretty hard to describe an Abba song; solid, catchy, good harmonies, silly/dumb, sweet, annoying. These are their keywords, and I’m not going to use them all the time. As for the other tracks here, they are okay. “Intermezzo No. 1” stands out, ‘cause it’s at least kind of interesting in its diversity (although I admit I’m not too crazy about it).
Overall, a nice pop record. So, an 11 would satisfy me.


Josh Fitzgerald (07.04.99)

Not really my favorite because 85% of the songs were hits. Not that the hits are bad, they just get tiresome after a while. "Dum Dum Diddle" is great song, for 10 year olds. "Money, Money, Money" is my least favorite ABBA hit. "Arrival" is just there for no apparent reason. I'm sick to death of "Dancing Queen", and "Knowing Me, Knowing You" is trying to be a sad song, but to me it sounds like their as happy as can be. The rest is halfway decent though. "Why Did It Have To Be Me" is my favorite Bjorn sung tune. It rocks. "That's Me" is pretty good, though I can see how you say it's bland. Just standard pop. That's what ABBA was good at. My Rating-5 1/2

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

More suited to be the title of their previous album when Abba DID arrive, this album is a worthy follow up. 'Dancing Queen', 'Money Money Money' and 'Knowing Me Knowing You' are classics of their genre and proved that Abba were no fluke novelty pop act. From this moment on, they should have been considered skilled writers and performers - listen to the arrangements and melodies - sublime! A 9

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

Good vocals, good arrangements, nice tunes but... BORING! And, hell, another kind of "hits ashtray". I just skip. Never mind. IMHO, that's happened because of... "Money, money, money"... (damn, "money root the root"! that's always sad, even if we are talking about a pop group).

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

This was IT. The album that made a name for ABBA even in America. Naturally, the most well-known number here is 'Dancing Queen', and like George said, there's no reason whatsoever to dislike it. Although, the lyrics are.... well, the lyrics are... crap. No matter, who on the face of this earth really listens to ABBA because of the lyrics ? Not me, and probably nobody else. Anyway, this number has it all, energy, complexity, vocal hooks... however, I don't like it so much as I used to. Why ? The song itself is good, but after I've heard the *A Teens version a countless number of times, I kinda hate it now (the same goes for 'Mamma Mia', 'Super Trouper' and 'Gimme Gimme Gimme'). Enough of the bitching. After all, that isn't directly related to the ABBA originals since they're excellent. 'Dancing Queen' was ABBA's biggest hit in the U.S. (at least to my knowledge). BTW, I admit I'm frequently very skeptical towards most artists that are popular in the U.S. Did you noticed how some high profile American artists just aren't that popular in Europe? For instance: Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen (contrary to popular belief, he's not that big outside of America) and even Grateful Dead.
Back to Arrival. Again, the songs are mostly solid. I say mostly, and that's because of the title track, 'Why Did It Have To Be Me' and 'That's Me'. The first is a rather dull instrumental number which comes out kinda dragging and pointless. And the other is a mixed bag, a badly mixed bag at that. It's nice to hear Bjorn do the leads, but that doesn't exactly make the song much better. A little bit of everything is thrown in, including that guitar buzz which George doesn't mind, but I just can't stand it. I don't have any special remarks on 'That's Me', but I just don't feel it's in the same league like, I dunno, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'. However, the remaining tunes are obviously very good. The shallow 'Dum Dum Diddle' is a cute little tune, although slightly silly, but it's ABBA, so I manage to neglect that. Anyway, 'Dum Dum Diddle' is no 'King Kong Song'. 'Money, Money, Money' and 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' were hits, and deservedly so. The first is superb, but somewhat short. The only thing that irritates me on 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' are the background vocals by the guys, and maybe, the song's repetitiveness. 'When I Kissed The Teacher' is a typical pop number which could came out annoying and offensive, but like most other fine ABBA tunes this one also walks that thin line that separates a masterpiece from trash, and it comes out as a winning combination since it is funny and more important, fast. Could you imagine that song slowly dragging for all eternity, and still be able to hold yourself back when it comes to spiting on ABBA? Of course you couldn't, it's good because it's fast. If it wasn't, I would have no problem with immediately dumping it in the recycle bin. 'My Love My Life' is a mighty fine ballad, which would have sounded awful in the hands of... of... the Bee Gees, for instance. As you already noticed, all my gripes with this record are mostly insignificant, and I have no problem with giving it a 10.

Ryan Maffei (09.04.2002)

ABBA aren't really deserved of any major credit as songwriters or musical visionaries--they were a derivative kitsch commercial act, albeit one of the pioneering kitsch commercial acts (like KISS, let's say...that quadruple-letter acronym must be an indicator of something) in music history. And Arrival is a surprisingly good record, although not without its faults, and little more than a guilty pleasure at times. "When I Kissed the Teacher"'s lyrics are a nice encapsulation of the album's scope of success--they're naive and blatantly obvious, really, but there's a strong undertone of careful craft to be found within the words, and in the end, that bit of pop writing manages to capture the 14-year-old girl essence brilliantly, just as Roger Waters did with madness on Dark Side of the Moon. And with an excellent team of songwriters and arrangers (not sure if they're the same guys), the majority of this stuff is harmless ear candy that occasionally transcends fluffiness but really doesn't need to to be enjoyable. "Dancing Queen" is really an immortal pop song, a prime piece of craft, great melody, great harmonies, everything anyone could want out of a harmless dance song (although it annoys me that some people are twisting the original thematic purpose to make the tune a "gay pride anthem"--nothing against gay pride, it's just that it irks me in the same way that Elton John's bastardized "Candle in the Wind" did in 1997, corrupting and changing the effect of a once classic song forever). There's a bit of forgettable filler-y stuff here and there, "Dum Dum Diddle", "My Love, My Life", and "That's Me" barely register, and when I do notice them they come off as unremarkable; however, "Money, Money, Money" is delicious mock-cabaret, one of the best mock-cabaret tunes out there, "Knowing Me, Knowing You" is a soaring, excellent tune, earnest lyrically but with a stellar, full arrangement to boot, and "Tiger" is a real ass-kicker--my fave on here, actually. So, all in all, a fine-ish album, particularly for glitzy pop. An 8. There you go.

Alexey Provolotsky (01.09.2005)

It’s a bit more solid than Abba, but not as solid as The Album. The classics include “When I Kissed The Teacher” (they almost always had good openers; taste?), “Dancing Queen” (my childhood’s favourite), “My Love, My Life” (I still ask myself how I can enjoy this song as much as I do) and “Knowing Me, Knowing You” (despite the irritating uh-huh’s, the song is amazing). “Tiger” is catchy, yes, but they obviously overdo the “dumb factor”. “Arrival” is a nice instrumental, though. Comes close to gaining a low 12, but gets a high 11 instead. “Money, Money, Money” is totally tasteless and annoying. I hate it now.


Josh Fitzgerald (14.08.99)

Yeah, this album is good. Nice production. I used to love "Eagle" also, but lately I've been ignoring it. Hmmm. "Take A Chance On Me", and "The Name Of The Game"are probably two of their best hits. "Move On" is really neat. And so is "Hole In Your Soul". "I'm A Marinette" has a fast and intense melody, and it really makes you feel that you're in their position. Just listen to the words! The ballads are okay, though. "One Man, One Woman" is the best ballad on there. The others are boring. Their high point is right, but my favorite album is still to come. My rating-8

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

I would disagree and state that this album is a little worse than Abba - Abba. I love 'Take a Chance on Me', 'Thank You for the Music' and 'The Name of the Game', but viewed as a cohesive ALBUM, Abba is far greater. There is no denying the quality of the songs on here, but for me they don't belnd well together, feeling like a collection of singles, rahter than an album - this is justa personal opinion though. An 8.

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

The only thing I can say is - that 'Eagle' is a far, far good song! Not as "pop", and that's the reason. Peace.

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

A slightly uninspired name, isn't it ? I should probably be terrified of that kind of a name, but screw it... the songs are all top notch. When I gazed on the names of the songs, I was very much pleased. This one has a big bunch of colossal tunes splattered all over the place: 'Eagle', 'The Name Of The Game', 'Thank You For The Music'.... just to name a few. The best thing about this album is that most songs sound serious. The style hasn't changed too much, as they still give us our average doze of dumb-happy pop songs with catchy choruses and silly atmosphere. Naturally, that doesn't make the songs any worse than usual, they're all solid naive numbers. However, there isn't too much of them, as the serious factor is extremely strong here. One of those normal, enjoyable ditties is the hit single 'Take A Chance On Me', and indeed, that one doesn't go any further in artistic complexity and value than most of the other ABBA hits until then. Ignore it, and you're left with lots of exceptional, and yes, even moving numbers. 'One Man One Woman' is a strong piece of music, maybe not moving, but surely beautiful in it's own way. BTW, is it just me, or aren't their ballads getting better all the time ? 'Hole In Your Soul' isn't corny-less, I admit, but it's still sounds kinda fresh. 'I'm A Marionette' is atmospheric and serious, much more so than one would expect, since the title almost guarantees loads of cheesyness. 'The Name Of The Game' is also moving and kinda moody. It's a long memorable treat that stuck in my mind for a long time. 'Thank You For The Music' actually used to be featured in a mini-musical 'The Girl With The Golden Hair' and it was performed during their 1977 tour (for this album, I suppose). 'I Wonder (Departure)' is a nice useless track that still sounds cute and I like that Broadway feel to it. Anyway, not essential but still interesting. 'Eagle' is actually the kind of a epic track like 'Child In Time' that moves the listener and never gets tedious in it's longness. Sadly, just like 'Fernando', this song really is a bit too short, but it still leaves me very much satisfied. I would also have to give this one a 10.

Eric Bukowski (02.07.2005)

It's funny how some of the albums you rank as best albums or award high points to are some of my least favorites. This is by far the worst sequencing of any ABBA one, it seems as though when they start cooking they just as quickly slow back down again and for a very long time. At times, when they do finallly get it up a teeny bit, as on the pitifully sterile "Hole In Your Soul" they fail to deliver.
What's up with all these ballads? I smell lots of in-studio potsmoking all over this album. Exactly once they bring the goods on the slow side when they throw the white doves out of the speakers with "One Man One Woman." "Eagle" has a cool, somewhat psychedelic feel to it which is interesting for showing ABBA stepping outside of themselves a little bit, and the same goes for the high drama that is "I'm A Marionette."
Unlike a lot of ABBA albums which I can say easily half if not more of the album is great, the only real highlight to me on here is the fantastic tune "Take A Chance On Me." Not even the other hit, the generic "The Name Of The Game" can even come close.
I've never heard the first two albums so to me, this is one of their least-best and doesn't even at least have a good selection of hits.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (01.09.2005)

Absolutely. This is THE Album. It’s simply filled with solid songs (I’m not talking about “I Wonder”, though; it’s plain and forgettable). Five greats this time: “Eagle” (this song is sooo wide), “Take A Chance On Me”, “One Man, One Woman”, “The Name Of The Game” and “Thank You For The Music”. Do I love these songs! But the rest are not bad, too. Say, “I’m A Marionette” is unquestionably more than decent. Serious, even. Tries to be serious, but hardly manages to become. At least, that’s how I feel. A definite 12 here.

<> (19.07.2006)

I have only one thing to say... 'Eagle' is one of the most magnificent songs I have ever heard, no matter that it belongs to a pop group. All others by ABBA are far, far behind it, though I like many of them too, at least when I am in mood for ABBA. But to 'Eagle' I can listen, even if I'm not.


Josh Fitzgerald (17.08.99)

Now THIS is one for "Atrocious Beyond All Imagination". The worst pile of disco garbage the world may ever see. They range between annoying ("Angeleyes") to "turn it off before I kill myself" ("The King Has Lost His Crown"). The ONLY good song on here is "Chiqutita." And I stress, the ONLY good song! My rating-2
PS. I Have just re-listened to Voulez Vous, and I have realized that "I Have A Dream" is also a good song. But still, I think everything else is pathetic. And I even like The Bee Gees! I don't really hate disco, in fact I Enjoy Saturday Night Fever, I just don't like ABBA's disco. That's all 4 now!

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

Erm......I used to hate this album, due almost entirely to the disco style of songs and also the production, but good will out. If you listen to the song structure on 'Does Your mother Know' and 'I have a Dream', then there is no denying that Abba magic was still there, albieit hidden beneath the murky depths of disco. The title track, one of their most well known, is not my fave Abba track I have to admit. A good album, ruined by over use of disco. A 6

luro (07.10.2000)

What a bad critics for one of ABBA's best albums! It is another style, sure, but see it as extra, this is absolutely also 100% ABBA. You can talk for example about 'Lovers' as a song which could be sung by any other disco-artists, but this is not true, I hear some complete other things in it. I feel like "uhm also I nice, fast song" and than the refrain that they sing so (ABBA-ish) together, with the beautiful screaming voice of Agnetha on it....she goes for it. Voulez-Vous contains only one song which is definitely the most worse ABBA song ever: I have a dream (aaaks...horrible), but for the is brilliant!

Charles Milton Ling (21.11.2000)

I respect your comments, but beg to take exception to one of them. Boney M could have written "If It Wasn't For The Nights"? Surely you jest. To be honest, I don't quite realize what is so "disco" about this song. But then, it was a long time ago...

<> (19.04.2001)

I do not usually respond to web sites like this but I felt I had to make a few comments about Abba's greatest album.
Firstly, the album is without doubt Abba's most mature and enjoyable, rich in sounds, superb vocals, lyrics which do not complicate the rich sound further and a wonderful sense of energy. The album also contains one of most favourite Abba songs that I wish a band would cover today. This is 'Lovers Live A Little Longer'. This is a classic song with some of Frida's best vocals and some of the greatest harmonies. Listen to it loud and be carried away by its sensual beat and wonderful rhythm. It reminds me of one or two very early Abba tracks with funky backgrounds, ie the superb 'Hey Hey Helen' and 'My Mama Said'. Give these two songs a chance too, listen to them loud. As for the othe songs on Voulez Vous, it is really the sentimental singles that i most dislike. 'Chiquitita' is a fine song, but too sugary. I hate 'I ave a dream' and 'Does your mother know'. Bjorn has only shone once, and I used to cringe when he strated singing. 'Another town another train' is his best, 'Watch Out' is tongue in cheek and fun but bad in a fantastic way. Listen again to 'As good as new', 'Voulez Vous', the wonderful 'King has lost his crown' and If it wasn't for the nights. Remember also that it was the 1978 era that brought the even more superb 'Summer night city'. Again, one of their best songs.
Abba were at their best when they were uptemp, full of life and energy and singing in that strikingly crisp way that is best heard on their fast and furious tracks.

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

Heh, but this isn't a "bad" album. Sure, it ain't so serious and atmospheric like The Album, but it does sound better than that low grade pop they were peddling in the beginning. This is a disco record, but not an amazing one, cause it's nowhere near as impressive like the Saturday Night Fever. Still, some especially good songs did emerge from the deep, especially the likes of 'Chiquitita' and 'The King Has Lost His Crown'. The first is an perfect Spanish-influenced ballad which was probably conceived as the follow up to 'Fernando', and the second is a overblown disco monster, but nevertheless enjoyable and catchy. 'Does Your Mother Know' is a strong power pop tune, but the lyrics are funny and laughable in the same time. Never mind, it's still one of the best tracks here. 'I Have A Dream' and 'Angeleyes' are decent ballads too, a little fake maybe, but they're still deeply in the enjoyable vein. 'I Have A Dream' is actually very beautiful, if you manage to get pass the mediocre gospel parts. The title track is simply atrocious. Dark and depressive, which isn't all that bad, but it gets really monotonous, really fast. 'As Good As New' is somehow more amusing, but not as catchy and memorable. I do agree with the generic filler part, but I do enjoy the catchy garbage-number 'Kisses Of Fire', although I'm well aware how simplistic and corny it is. Oh yeah, the title of that song sucks donkey ass. Anyway, I'm not really a disco person, and this ain't diverse by any means, so it's a 6.


Josh Fitzgerald (17.08.99)

MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH better! I guess I wasn't the only person who found Voulez Vous incredibly offensive. Okay, it isn't the greatest, but compared to the previous, it's a masterpiece. Every Song is good in it's own way, but my favorites are "The Winner Takes It All", "Me And I", "Happy New Year", and "The Piper". My rating-8

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

Hurrah! No more Voulez-vous nonsense. They're back to doing what they do best. The title track, 'The winner takes it all', 'Lay all your love on me', 'Happy new year' and the underestimated 'The Piper' are all cool songs and deserve to be in a record collection. I think that this album still stands up, even if you have Abba Gold - it is a reminder of one of the last breaths of a great band. An 8.5

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

Bumm! "The way old friends do" (I thought it was "all friends") is here? So, I'm sorry. "The winner..." - a nice ballad although I don't like these "dying" or "fainting" vocals... as is "Happy new year", although the tune is SURELY a rip-off from Blacksuns' instrumental "Dreams of X-mas night" (really, guys! well, maybe those Swedish dudes did never hear Blacksuns - the question stays without answer... we'll never know)

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

Beginning of the end. This album isn't so disco-infested like it's predecessor, but they were unable to shake off those disco shackles entirely. Yeah, that's it. This is exactly the kind of stuff everyone resents ABBA. They have a very slick and polished sound here with lots of radio-friendly filler, and it's also quite synth heavy, and naturally, dated as hell. Some say magnificent, some say obnoxious, I say adequate. The title track is much more than an sloppy generic disco number, although I needed some time to recognize that. It has a powerful chorus, great melody, and yes, it also has offensive, but tolerable lyrics. The extremely catchy 'The Winner Takes It All' is an emotional ballad, and it's dark and disturbing too. 'Lay All Your Love An Me' is bland and shallow as much as it gets, and this time the vocals strike me as somewhat annoying. It's probably my least favorite track here and I honestly don't understand why it was such a massive hit. 'On And On And On' is probably even worse, but the melody isn't bad at all. Not exactly gorgeous, but certainly memorable. 'Our Last Summer', 'Happy New Year', 'Me And I', and 'Andante Andante' are passable tracks, but very throwawayish in nature. 'The Way Old Friends Do' isn't as nice as 'I Have A Dream', and again, mostly so because of the gospel-like part. Finally, we get to the best song on the record, namely 'The Piper'. This one is catchy just as much as all of the other songs, but it also has some kind of a majestic feel to it. Strangely enough, 'The Piper' doesn't sound all that dated, especially since most of the other stuff does. I actually can't explain why do I love that song so much, but I just feel it should have been an megahit. Anyway, it was the B-side of 'Super Trouper', but I managed to spend more time listening to it and not to the "real" hit. I presume everyone likes this album, but I don't believe it deserves more than a 6.

Eric Bukowski (02.07.2005)

Easily, EASILY their best album. Whether it's from being good for real ("Lay All Your Love On Me") to hilariously (yet tastefully) corny ("The Way Old Friends Do" "Me And I"), it's a riot start to finish and the band rarely unclench their grip on the pomposity lever, easily making it their most dramatic and overblown (coming from ABBA, this isn't bad) album. The ever so slight dusting of disco dust throughout the vibe of the album only helps matters. Even when the band means business they still want you to dance.
Apart from featuring their most crisp production to date, it also features their most even and well-paced selection of tunes, ranging from the one-two punch semi-ballads which open the album ("Super Trouper" and the heartbreaking "Winner Takes It All") to ridiculous Gentle Giant-influenced medieval fantasy that is "The Piper".
My favorite track is most definately "On And On And On" which falls into the hilariously, yet tastefully corny selection of tracks from the album. This one's a dancing fools worst nightmare, as it overcomes me, the whitest of all dancers, to cut it up in a way to only be outstupided by...nobody. You don't want to see me dance.
You can start here no problem. The whole album has a lot to offer


Josh Fitzgerald (17.08.99)

This time you REALLY blew it. No offense, but this is one of the greatest band swan songs ever recorded! Every song (except the slightly weak "2 For The Price Of 1") is a masterpiece! That's all I'm gonna say, before I begin to lose control! My rating-10 (!)

Richard C. Dickison (18.08.99)

(No, Stop) Ok, I'll admit it, I not only have this album, I also admit to liking the title song (sudden facial tick).
It showed a place where they could have developed further had they stayed on and recorded more. Where ABBA had been creative with silly disco (shutter) they might have actually gotten us through new wave (ow, that hurts). They kept their sound no matter what style the music was (Delete, must delete). Check out the solo album one of the girls put out with Phil (the PILL) Collins, it contains a close relative to this album in the song 'There's Something Going On' (No more,please). Oh, man I'm showing some age here, er, anyway this semi-mystical Euro-Pop style prevelant here came back around later from the New Age-y crowd, Enya and her ilk (what next Leo Sayer reviews?). Check out the band ABBACADABRA if you want to hear what happens if you turned ABBA into a techno/rave band using what sounds like their own recordings, what they can do with digital splice and dice these days is amazing. I've got to go watch Tele-Tubbies now (I feel so dirty).

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

It seems that I am in the minority that dislike this album. I don't believe it to be a great swansong, but a record that shows the group in great turmoil and pain and for that reason alone, it is difficult to listen to when you remember the Abba of previous years. Its existence as an historical document of a band break up is the only factor that makes its existance worthwhile. A 2 (sorry guys!)

Lyolya Svidrigajlova (11.12.2000)

What I think for sure - is that 'Visitors' is the best Abba song ever. 'Head over heels' and 'One of us' are nice, too, and sad (which, in my view, make them less pop-up). Okay. Split? Goodbye. I don't cry.

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

Sure enough, ABBA finally crashes down..... in quicksand, and sinks in matter of seconds. Please do note that they did try with all of their might, but still, they were unable to do anything other than simply... fade away. It's visible they probably did want to make a solid album, but it isn't convincing by a long shot. Eh, it certainly ain't worse than the early stuff like Ring Ring, cause it is still relatively complex, professional and yes, serious. Here you get emotions and atmosphere, and in spades too. Naturally, it is slightly too dark (Black Sabbath could learn a thing or two from ABBA at this point, and likewise), but heck, if you neglect the fact it's ABBA you just might enjoy it. Yeah, you won't have any particular fun while listening to it, but that's all right man, you aren't supposed to have fun anyway. They were feeling quite shitty at that time, and I presume fun was the last thing on their mind. Well, the naive and innocent europop ditties are mostly gone now, and dumb pop tunes likewise. Umm, I did say mostly gone, didn't I ? 'Two For The Price Of One' is corny and simplistic beyond all imagination, and it is a dumb number for sure. 'One Of Us' could also go in that category, and it was an expected hit single. It's similar to their average pop stuff, musically-wise, that is, but the lyrics are certainly less than shallow, especially in the radio-happy kind of way. It could be described as a very depressing number along the lines of 'Voules-Vouz', just without the disco parts.
The best song could very well be 'The Visitors'. Again, it's more similar to Led Zeppelin's 'No Quarter' than to ordinary ABBA standards (in the atmospheric sense, that is), but it's quite catchy too. The ballads are also very solid, frequently sappy or cheesy but still more acceptable than their early ones. 'Head Over Heels' features, not only the stupidest title on this album, but also some intriguing vocal work as well as some restricted banality. 'Slipping Through My Fingers' has more of that impressive vocal work, and again, more of that usual sappiness. It's still very interesting, and the vocals alone should be able to get your attention, so there isn't a real reason for anyone to dislike it. The other tracks are just the kind of primitive filler you would encounter on a Boney M record, so let us not waste our time on it. Finally, let me just state that I consider this to be an fairly decent album, and an mediocre, but acceptable swan song. That said, I'd give it a 6.


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Josh Fitzgerald (17.08.99)

Only for casual fans. This was number 1 in almost ever country! And in some of Europe, it's back on the charts! Good songs, but if you have the albums, don't bother!

Simon Hearn (15.12.99)

I'll keep this brief so that you all know my wholehearted opinion: THE BEST - An 11 (can we raise the scoring to emcompass perfection, George?!!!)

Ian D. Macintyre (17.09.2000)

this is a decent compilation but why was 'The Name of The Game' edited?

Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

Nice. This compilation picks up their hit singles, which were mostly the best stuff on their albums anyway. I'm pleased that 'Waterloo' and 'One Of Us' were included, but I'm rather disappointed that such mediocre tracks like 'Take A Chance On Me', 'I Have A Dream', 'Voulez-Vous' and 'Lay All Your Love On Me' were also featured. Naturally, there really wasn't any chance that they wont be included, since they were hits, but I still think of them as the somewhat weaker points of this compilation. I agree that this is quite enough of ABBA for anyone who's not a diehard fan, and please do a big favor to yourself and don't even think of buying More Abba Gold. BTW, I haven't had a chance to comment on 'Fernando' and 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)' yet, so I'll do it right now. The first is a fine ballad in the same vein as 'Chiquitita' (or should I say 'Chiquitita' is in the same vein as 'Fernando' ?), but the disco rhythm of that song really bugs me. And that's not all, they actually borrowed that rhythm from 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko' by the Beatles. They added some minor cosmetic touches here and there, but in its essence, it's the exactly same rhythm. 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)' is a solid disco number with traces of 'Voulez-Vous' mixed in, but it's more optimistic than that one. Well, not much more optimistic, but slightly, yes. Anyway, this is the best ABBA collection money can buy, so you owe to yourself to get it. Unless you absolutely despise ABBA, that is.

<> (18.05.2002)

I got this one about five years ago. I played it nonstop for about two months before I took a breather, then I played it some more before I decided I needed more ABBA and thus got MORE ABBA Gold. This collection is excellent, though I agree the one song to add to it would be "Eagle". My fave is probably "Take a Chance on Me"; the song just keeps going at it, spouting out that chorus, ah, its wonderful. I especially love the harmonies by the girls on "Name of the Game" "SOS" "Waterloo" and "Knowing Me , Knowing You". And you know what, I like "Does Your Mother Know"; I don't think the lyrics are bad, and there's a bit of an Elton John feel to the song - sort of in the vein of "Saturday Night". Every song is good, and this album woul be one of my desert island picks. For that matter ABBA is one of my desert island artists - along with the Beatles, Genesis, Yes, and Mozart. I ended up having in my possession the "Thank You for the Music" 4 cd boxset. Although there isn't much more than on Gold and More Gold, it did have a few rarities plus some songs that were sung in Swedish, French, etc., which was neat to hear in the artists' native tongue.

Glenn Wiener (28.05.2002)

Putting aside the cheesey synthesizers and a slight over-indulgence in disco, this is one fantastic compilation. I always liked the smash hits 'Dancing Queen', 'Fernando', and 'Take A Chance On Me', but there are many other well written songs. I love the cabaret flavored tunes 'Thank You For The Music' and 'I Have A Dream'. 'Chiquitita' is a very passionately performed ballad and 'Does Your Mother Know' is a fun loving rock n roll tune. Even the disco tunes are OK in small doses. I'm primed to pick up this compilation based upon my borrowing it from my local library. However, your Abba reviews have me intrigued that there may even be more great stuff by this legendary Sweedish Band.


Ratko Hribar (02.11.2001)

What to say? A sloppy, sloppy, SLOPPY song selection. Half of those tracks shouldn't be here. Could anyone tell me why did they felt the sudden urge to put 'Honey, Honey' on here ? Or 'The Way All Friends Do'? Or 'When All Is Said And Done' ? Eh, there's simply no reason for that. Atrocities, atrocities.... and lot's of them too. Yeah, there are some decent tunes here, but the crappy ones are much more numerous. Let's see what kind of forgettable trash is represented here.... well, there's 'Cassandra', 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room', 'Lovelight', 'Summer Night City', 'I Wonder' and, naturally, 'Our Last Summer'. The worst thing is that they didn't even bother to include prime stuff like 'The Piper', 'Dum Dum Diddle', 'The King Has Lost His Crown', 'Kisses Of Fire' (I know what you're going to say, but I just can't help it), 'I'm A Marionette', 'One Man One Woman', 'My Love My Life', 'Hey Hey Helen', 'I Do I Do I Do...', 'I've Been Waiting For You', 'Intermezzo No. 1', 'Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)' or even 'He Is Your Brother'. Okay, some of those songs aren't exactly excellent, but they're better than this garbage !!! However, they did include 'Ring Ring', 'Eagle', 'When I Kissed The Teacher', 'On And On And On', 'The Visitors', 'So Long' and 'Head Over Heels' (yeah, this one isn't essential, but it's still nice). Naturally, stuff like 'Under Attack' and 'The Day Before You Came' is also highly recommendable. In conclusion, this collection is absolutely unnecessary to anyone with good taste, and if you want more ABBA, please do buy some of their regular albums and don't waste your money on shit such as this.


Josh Fitzgerald (17.08.99)

I waited soooo long to see this movie, and it FINALLY was shown on American television about 3 or 4 years ago! It's extremely clever and entertaining. I just wish they hadn't edited it!


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