Album [Bonus Track]by ABBA
ABBA's fifth album was a marked step forward for the group, having evolved out of Europop music into a world-class rock act over their previous two albums, they now proceeded to absorb and assimilate some of the influences around them, particularly the laid-back California sound of Fleetwood Mac (curiously, like ABBA, then a band with two couples at its center), as well as some of the attributes of progressive rock. That they did this without compromising their essential virtues as a pop ensemble makes this album seem even more extraordinary, though at the time nobody bothered to analyze it -- The Album was simply an incredibly popular release, yielding two British number one singles in "The Name of the Game" and "Take a Chance on Me" (which made the Top Five in America, their second-best showing after "Dancing Queen"), and achieving the quartet's highest-ever showing on the U.S. LP charts, reaching the Top 20 and selling a million copies in six months. The opening number, "Eagle," dominated by synthesizers and soaring larger-than-life vocal flourishes, is followed by the more lyrical "Take a Chance on Me," with its luminous a cappella opening. The whole album is like that, effortlessly straddling hard rock, pop
ock, dance-rock, and progressive rock -- though the hits tend to stand out in highest relief, there are superb album tracks here, including the driving, lushly harmonized "Move On" and "Hole in Your Soul," which provides guitarist Lasse Wellander with a beautiful showcase for his lead electric playing. The second side of the album is dominated by material from a "mini-musical" called Girl with the Golden Hair that Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus wrote for the concerts on their just-ended tour intended to be used in a dramatically coherent storytelling context. Two of its songs, "Thank You for the Music" and "I Wonder (Devotion)," are less exciting than the straight rock material found elsewhere on the album, though the former became a popular concert number for the quartet, while the latter is the kind of lushly melodic, moodily reflective song that could easily have graced a Barbra Streisand album of the era. The closer, "I'm a Marionette," however, is a startlingly bold attempt to recast the influence of Kurt Weill in a hard rock mode, ending The Album on a high note, musically and artistically. ~ Bruce Eder & William Ruhlmann
- Release Date:
- Polydor / Umgd
Performance CreditsABBA Primary Artist
Janne Schaffer Guitar,Electric Guitar
Benny Andersson Keyboards,Vocals
Ola Brunkert Drums
Lars Carlsson Flute,Saxophone
Agnetha Fältskog Vocals
Malando Gassama Percussion
Rutger Gunnarsson Bass
Roger Palm Drums
Björn Ulvaeus Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Lasse Wellander Guitar
Anni-Frid Lyngstad Vocals
Technical CreditsBenny Andersson Arranger,Composer,Producer
Agnetha Fältskog Composer
Rutger Gunnarsson String Arrangements
Michael B. Tretow Engineer
Björn Ulvaeus Arranger,Composer,Producer
Rune Soderqvist Art Direction,Cover Illustration
Stig Anderson Composer
Björn Anderson Cover Illustration
Anni-Frid Lyngstad Composer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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EAGLE - Mind-boggling ELO-ish song about wanting to be free. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME - Wonderful bouncy song with an acapella intro. ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN - Abba trying to do C&W...and being successful with a beautiful song. THE NAME OF THE GAME - The name of the game is Romance! MOVE ON - Fair attempt at reggae. HOLE IN YOUR SOUL - An unfortunate dark spot for Abba. THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC - Extremely beautiful song about discovering music and what a passion it is. I WONDER - Orchestral song about leaving your own world behind. I'M A MARIONETTE - Horrifying song about being abused.
You can find good rock songs "hole in your soul", "i'm a marionette" in this album. Peaceful songs "eagle" is a strange choice for an opening track. The other silent songs are "I Wonder", "Thank You for the Music", "One Man, One Woman", and "Move On". Well, they have well done but there is too much peaceful tracks in this album. But they are very much classics too.
If you could only own one original Abba album (not the countless compilations and greatest hits repackages), this is the album I would recommend. From "Eagle" through "I'm A Marionette", I think this is clearly Abba's most consistent album. Absent are the sophmoric, lyrically silly songs they have a tendency to blight their earlier albums with. The writing is solid, the musical and vocal performances are very good, but the big difference is the production. Rather than the thrown together feel of their first two US releases (Waterloo and Abba) and the inconsistent "Arrival" this sounds like a cohesive work that was thought out in advance. The songs seem to flow from one to the other more naturally, giving the effort a more polished feel. "Eagle" is a lushly arranged and sung song, effectively evoking the freedom of soaring. "Take A Chance On Me" contains a nice, intricate vocal arrangement (I defy anyone to sing the backing chant without taking a breath!). "One Man, One Woman", though a little schmaltzy, is a pleasant song which uses the group's vocal assets effectively. "The Name Of The Game" is probably one of the best songs in their entire catalog with crisp instrumentals and their trademark harmonies. "Move On" is probably my least favorite, with a rather pretentious spoken introductory verse, but once the ladies start singing, the song finds its groove. "Hole In Your Soul" is a fun little rocker with one of their throw-away lyrics, but there's no denying the energy they infuse it with, which makes it a good listen. "The Girl With The Golden Hair" trilogy of songs reveals Anderson and Ulvaeus' penchant for show tune writing that woudl later emerge. "Thank You For The Music" could easily have been pulled from a Broadway musical, as could "I Wonder (Departure), both nice lyric songs that don't offend. "I'm A Marionette" is a whirling, classically influenced closer, evoking haunting images of a performer in over her head, beyond her control. It's an effective, emotional closer to a very solid effort.
Favorite tracks: "Thank You For The Music" "The Name Of The Game" "One Man, One Woman" Least favorite: "Hole In Your Soul"
This album has some of my favorite songs by ABBA. People usually think "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia" when they think of ABBA, but they generally miss out on gems like "One Man One Woman," "Move On" and "Eagle." This album is just a pleasure to listen to...