Category: ABBA

ABBA – The Essential Collection

ARTIST: ABBA                                      51shnmk3ERL._SX425_

TITLE: The Essential Collection

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 20: Waterloo (#6 US, #1 UK), I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do (#15 US, #38 UK), SOS (#15 US, #6 UK), Mamma Mia (#32 US, #1 UK), Fernando (#13 US, #1 UK), Dancing Queen (#1 US, #1 UK), Money Money Money (#56 US, #3 UK), Knowing Me Knowing You (#14 US, #1 UK), The Name of the Game (#12 US, #1 UK), Take a Chance on Me (#3 US, #1 UK), Chiquitita (#29 US, #2 UK), Summer Night City (#5 UK), Does Your Mother Know (#19 US, #4 UK), Voluez-Vouz (#80 US, #3 UK), Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (#3 UK), I Have a Dream (#2 UK), The Winner Takes It All (#8 US, #1 UK), Super Trouper (#45 US, #1 UK), Lay All Your Love On Me (#7 UK), One of Us (#107 US, #3 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ring Ring, The Visitors

LINEUP: Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus. Session dudes, of course.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s ABBA – the international pop music sensation that’s still a juggernaut today.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s almost like I don’t need to review this – you know most of the songs and the ones you don’t are just as memorable – probably.

Their regular albums were spotty (though “Hey Hey Helen” kicks it good), as they really focused on singles. The first four tracks here were from their debut (Ring Ring) and the rest follow from their Eurovision victory (“Waterloo”) and beyond. They started to slow down in the US (but not in the UK, really) when they called it quits

They’re pretty inescapable now, thanks to movies and musicals and what not. They constructed pretty much perfect pop singles – despite what you think of them you have to give them credit for that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They were the first Eurovision winner to sing in a language other than their native country.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A-: It’s one of the best comps out there for ABBA.

 

ABBA – Ring Ring

ARTIST: ABBA       ABBA_-_Ring_Ring_(Original_Polar_LP)

TITLE: Ring, Ring

YEAR RELEASED: 1973

CHART ACTION: Not in the US or UK

SINGLES: At least nine tracks were singles in some country or another – no hits in the US or UK at the time.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title track has made it to a couple of compilations.

LINEUP: Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: What started out as sessions designed to help Benny & Bjorn’s songwriting and producing career morphed into a group, and an album proper, when Ring Ring and a couple of earlier singles became hits in Scandanavia.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s true that these four never set out to become a group. They had a lot of projects going on and Bjorn and Benny invited their wives to sing on their productions (they had their own careers). The songs trickled out, were hits, and then when Ring Ring became a European hit their manager said, “let’s make an album”. And so they did. The rest, as they say, is history.

As for the album itself, it’s produced nicely, though it sounds a little less polished and ornate as ABBA albums would become. Many of the songs have earworm choruses but the actual songs themselves weren’t that great and hearing Benny or Bjorn sing lead on so many is odd. They did cobble this one together, though.

There’s just a couple of songs that I’ll keep around. The rest are fillers, even if they were singles in other countries.

NOTES & MINUTAE: The singles and the album were released as Bjorn and Benny with Agnetha and Anni-Frid (or some variation) as the name ABBA didn’t get coined until after the album came out..

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes. A couple of them exist, with B-sides, Swedish songs and a song in German, if you care.
GRADE: C: ABBA junkies will eat it up – well most of it. The rest of us can pass.

EXILED for the most part.