the picture that kicks off this thread is a beautiful thing.
― get wolves (get bent), Friday, 18 May 2012 18:21 (1 year ago) Permalink
it was my computer desktop for a spell in college
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Friday, 18 May 2012 18:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think i wanna do this one but am worried i might but every Visitors track in and unbalance it
― Vermicious Knid A (Noodle Vague), Friday, 18 May 2012 18:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
3 tracks into Ring Ring and i realise this is gonna be impossible
― Vermicious Knid A (Noodle Vague), Friday, 18 May 2012 18:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
Never thought I'd find myself saying this but we need Geir for this thread, can someone go fetch him?
― Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Saturday, 19 May 2012 11:17 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'll draw the circle and prepare the blue flame.
― Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 19 May 2012 11:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
"I Know There's Something Going On" would make my top twenty.
― Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 19 May 2012 11:58 (1 year ago) Permalink
Done & sent. No idea how many of mine were singles, tbh it feels like they all were.
― Ismael Klata, Saturday, 19 May 2012 12:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
― fun loving and xtremely tolrant (Billy Dods), Saturday, 19 May 2012 19:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
Obvious "Put On Your White Sombrero" is gonna take this.
I'll be interested to see how many songs not on Gold or More Gold make the top ten.
― Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 20 May 2012 04:05 (1 year ago) Permalink
If I can get my shit together to formulate a ballot, I *will* be voting for Tiger
I know everyone probably knows this but the video is totally worth it
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 20 May 2012 04:15 (1 year ago) Permalink
Pat Benatar's career in 2:56.
― Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 20 May 2012 04:19 (1 year ago) Permalink
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 20 May 2012 04:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
i'd like to encourage people to vote for stuff aside from the big hits because they have such a strong back catalog and the results might be more interesting that way. here is "should i laugh or cry?"
"Should I Laugh or Cry" will be in my Top 20, no worries there, however their hits are so damned good it's hard to vote for anything else. I like all of their hit singles, except "I Have a Dream", which is shite
― Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah Tiger's amazing and kinda scary too, definitely in my Top 10. other classic deep cuts that could all have been singles imo
If It Wasn't For The Nights
As Good As New
― piscesx, Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
You Owe Me One is my deep cut of choice. It was put on tape for the 9th album that never came and ended up the b-side of "Under Attack". One of the final things they ever recorded as a band.
― Johnny Fever, Sunday, 20 May 2012 15:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
The deepest I'll probably go are "King Kong Song" and "When I Kissed The Teacher" - - - I'm kind of an ABBA dilettante but I think I probably still have twenty beloved cuts.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 20 May 2012 16:08 (1 year ago) Permalink
btw if anyone does NOT know "When I Kissed The Teacher," put it on repeat STAT, it is top three easily
yeah an amazing bit of work that, although it's never been the same for me since i realised that it sounds like she's saying 'When I Kissed The T-Shirt'.
― piscesx, Sunday, 20 May 2012 16:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
/i'd like to encourage people to vote for stuff aside from the big hits because they have such a strong back catalog and the results might be more interesting that way. here is "should i laugh or cry?"/"Should I Laugh or Cry" will be in my Top 20, no worries there, however their hits are so damned good it's hard to vote for anything else. I like all of their hit singles, except "I Have a Dream", which is shite
My deep cut of choice is "Just Like That" -- never finished and turned into some song on Chess I believe. But the snippet on the "Undeleted" medley (and heard on various YouTubes) is absolutely one of my favorite things by them.
― Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 20 May 2012 16:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
i really love the gemini version of "just like that", which (iirc?) is a good deal sadder-sounding than ABBA's (warning tho: xxxtreme 80s production)
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Monday, 21 May 2012 17:12 (11 months ago) Permalink
oh I am so doing this! "Waterloo" and "Fernando" are two of the best songs of the 70s afaic, and I have wanted an excuse to explore deeper for a minute. I am going to spend all week digging deep into their albums on Spotify!
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:06 (11 months ago) Permalink
Anyone else going to vote for this?
Has to be one of the strangest songs they did but I've always loved it.
― Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:12 (11 months ago) Permalink
omg those shirtsLOVE
― game of crones (La Lechera), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:13 (11 months ago) Permalink
oh btw i just realized i'm going to be out of town this weekend until monday night so i think we can extend the voting to the night of monday, may 28 instead?
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:15 (11 months ago) Permalink
keep ballots coming guys!! i only have a smattering so far
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:16 (11 months ago) Permalink
probably should have done "best 3 ABBA outfits" instead of "best 3 albums"...
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:35 (11 months ago) Permalink
― lol whoops! (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:36 (11 months ago) Permalink
yeah i am gonna need some time toobut i feel the need to honor my early childhood favorite band monday it is
― game of crones (La Lechera), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:39 (11 months ago) Permalink
yeah I have to do some spotifying and press my satin jumpsuit
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:40 (11 months ago) Permalink
3 tracks into Ring Ring and i realise this is gonna be impossible― Vermicious Knid A (Noodle Vague), Friday, May 18, 2012 7:29 PM (4 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
― Vermicious Knid A (Noodle Vague), Friday, May 18, 2012 7:29 PM (4 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
3rd track of Ring Ring:
this IS going to be impossible isnt it?
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:03 (11 months ago) Permalink
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 16:24 (11 months ago) Permalink
wow the Waterloo album is amazing!
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:43 (11 months ago) Permalink
I am listening to the albums in chronological order on Spotify, and I am also doing a sort of 'liveblog'/write-up of them. If you want/don't mind, donna rouge, I can post them here...
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 23:17 (11 months ago) Permalink
Did this poll include their best albums? You should post them in the results poll if so.
― Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 23:26 (11 months ago) Permalink
Results thread that is.
well i'm doing it song-by-song
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 23:30 (11 months ago) Permalink
go nuts, LLB
also interested parties might wanna check out this week's onion av club xword
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Thursday, 24 May 2012 01:00 (11 months ago) Permalink
Right, my ballot is in. Some of the songs I left off, I should be ashamed of myself, oy!
― Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:05 (11 months ago) Permalink
Alright, I'm p ignorant about ABBA though (can't tell Agnetha's and Anni-Frida's voices apart tbrr)--before Tuesday, I probably had heard only five ABBA songs in my life, so hopefully this won't come off as totally stupid.
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:14 (11 months ago) Permalink
First Album: Ring Ring--the album they released even before they stumbled upon the name ABBA; I think original printings refer to it as Bjorn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid
Ring Ring - wikipedia says that this song was rejected by Melodifestivalen to compete in the 1973 Eurovision contest. It sounds very modern; the mechanized c&w bounce seems to turn into a punk/indie trope later on (Suicide's "Johnny", Dead Skeletons' "Psychodead", even to some extent Bowie's "Move On") I love how the bridge is only drums and vocals (have not yet learned how to tell the two women apart yet)--very "Hey Mickey!"--and I love how the chorus takes an out-of-nowhere left turn into the "I sit all alone impatiently" part without flagging momentum a bit, and I love how the honky-tonk guitar flourishes manage to call to mind my favorite Roxy Music song "If There is Something." This is going to be great!
Another Town, Another Train - Man, they loved to roll out the piccolo carpet. "Guess I will spend my life in railway stations" is a line that cuts deep.
Disillusion - "I know it doesn't matter just how hard I try..." Oh, man. After the chorus, Agnetha (who receives a co-songwriting credit, the only she'll get in ABBA) goes through another half-verse before taking another round at the chorus, and that seems to be a motif with this album: trying to gauge how to make the most of a hook, or the peak of a song. Trying to master the way a song can push and pull at the listener without lapsing into formula. I think I might love this song. (Note: I would go on to listen to this song about fourteen or fifteen more times that day)
People Need Love - Everybody sings! But seriously: this song reminds me a wee bit of the refrain for "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock'n'Roll" (though not nearly as dinky as all that), but it definitely has that '70s garish showbiz maximalism about it, a whiff of the sitcom variety-show spectacle to it. Not that it comes as a surprise. Best part of this was definitely the girls' mentalist yodelling that accompanied the song's fade-out. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, this song was the first hit for the quartet, recorded with the four of them almost as a lark, and it was this success that made them decide to record an album as a group.
I Saw It in the Mirror - I have found that I am decidedly less invested in songs where the guys take lead vocals. I do, however, think this is solid. The slow-burn funk arrangements lend the sad-sack lyrics and melody some class, but obviously its at the end of the verses--when the women pop out of nowhere to do a call-and-response out of "when this boy cries"--that really rewards the decision not to fast-forward through this track. No chorus here, though it's not really missed; just a lush breakdown with the women actual taking (their rightful place) front-and-center for the only time in this song...
Nina, Pretty Ballerina - This is aite. The arrangement is interesting: the unassuming, almost hidden, staccato rockabilly-style guitar part helps to ground it, while the sixteenth notes played on the piano during the chorus helps to add that sort of precious, music-box quality that I tend to associate with ABBA. And what are those little sharp sounds at the end of each verse? Is that a synthesizer sound, a la "Ring My Bell", or is it just some small exhortation uttered/sang by one of the women? Also: lots of sound effects. Lots of stuff going on in here for what would just seem ike a light pop throwaway. Lyrics establish a popular motif: they sketch out the titular character, an ordinary-looking woman whom everyone thinks is a bore, but who on Friday night transforms into 'the queen of the dancing floor.' You don't say.
Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure is Hard Enough) - Lots of stuff going on here as well. To be honest, this sounds like a Waterloo precursor to me. Those descending female verses (sorry I'm still not quite good at distinguishing between Agnetha and Anni-Frida) that storm into the song with attending electric guitars, threatening its bouncy good nature, are the first glimmers of the glam rock sensibility that would help ABBA win the Eurovision contest next year. The chorus reinforces and accentuates the boogie, absorbing the momentary sturm und drang, and you can already see Bjorn & Benny putting the pieces together, figuring out how forward-charging protopunk can be both contrasted and at the same time curbed by a good old-fashioned R&B dance beat.
Me and Bobby and Bobby's Brother - Song comes in strong with a jaunty, dynamic chorus sung by everyone, which for some reason causes me to believe that this is going to be another "guys' song" but apparently this is (I think...?) Anni-Frida singing about a woman remembering her childhood friends, both boys. Some interesting thing going on w/r/t gender here: in the male-augmented chorus, the narrator's childhood is sketched out as more tomboyish ("Wildest kids you could see...climbing the apple tree") but the verses paint her as more feminine (she doesn't like it when Bobby and his brother want to play football). Though actually, she sings the 'apple tree' line by herself, so maybe I am way off here.
He is Your Brother - Opens with some great guitar, and the chorus has some embryonic hints of "S.O.S." along with that pre-Waterloo bounce, slowed down as if to see if it would make it more forceful. This aspect of the song almost reminds me of Badfinger's "Come and Get It" or something.
She's My Kind of Girl - A song with loads of history: written in '69 for the Swedish softcore movie The Seduction of Inga (which was re-released on DVD somewhat recently on the retro wing of the production company which gave us The Erotic Witch Project and Spider-babe), the song was released as a Bjorn & Benny single in 1970 and that version hit to #1 in Japan in 1972. As for The song? To be honest, it sounds even earlier than that. The chorus has a Hollies feel to it; if it wasn't for the prominent rhythm section, it would not sound out of place on a Nuggets-type compilation. Its incongruity with the rest of the album almost makes it seem like a stand-out.
I Am Just a Girl - Gwen Stefani, call your lawyers. Nah, just kidding. That's a recycled Mission of Burma/Eddie Vedder joke anyways. This song has me torn. It's a great slice of lush, floaty cloud-pop, frothy and effortless and unencumbered like I want School of Seven Bells to be, but at the same time the whole 'girl gets self worth from her man' theme is wearying. Maybe I should give it a pass--you know, 1973 and all--but this song is kind of like the antithesis of "Disillusion", for my money the best song on here. And while it is a does offer a great catchy/ethereal hybrid, I feel like considering the subtext--the men wrote these songs and then got their wives to sing them--it's really hard to make something like this wash. (apparently this is dleone's choice for most disturbing ABBA song; maybe I should replace 'unencumbered' with 'lobotomized')
Rock and Roll Band - This, on the other hand, might be my favorite of the "guys' songs" (which I guess are pretty much peculiar to this album only...?), and it might have my favorite guitar solos of the album. It is a bit more upbeat than other songs, not really girded by the chunky bounce of many of the other songs. It does have a more straightforward rock vibe, but at the same time it has a sort of twinge of melancholy to it. This is a good album closer.
Merry-Go-Round - Hey, how about some bonus tracks? This one starts out with a folkie Renaissance-Faire vibe to the verses before falling into that familiar bounce (tired of me typing that word yet?) though this time it has a bit of that aforementioned c&w vibe, like in "Ring Ring"
Santa Rosa - This is great; surprisingly, too since there's no sign of the women unfortunately, but Bjorn & Benny offer up some clavicle-soaked California-style bubblegum. I really like the psych-flavored pastiches sprinkled throughout the early stuff.
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:15 (11 months ago) Permalink
"Love Isn't Easy" is a massive tune for me, is it a deep cut? i never know anymore but dammit it bangs and bangs.
― Cyders from Mars (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:26 (11 months ago) Permalink
i sincerely want to vote for this
but i won't. ignore the idiot who labelled it "ABBA SPOOF" this is a beautiful tribute
― Cyders from Mars (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:27 (11 months ago) Permalink
i mean, that IS a spoof, but an extremely faithful one
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:52 (11 months ago) Permalink
like even down to the awkward english idioms
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:01 (11 months ago) Permalink
yeah i guess i feel "spoof" is kinda faint praise, the chorus is properly gorgeous
― Cyders from Mars (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:02 (11 months ago) Permalink
Love Isn't Easy" is a massive tune for me, is it a deep cut? i never know anymore but dammit it bangs and bangs.― Cyders from Mars (Noodle Vague), Thursday, May 24, 2012 3:26 PM (43 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
― Cyders from Mars (Noodle Vague), Thursday, May 24, 2012 3:26 PM (43 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
for real! probably my second favorite song off Ring Ring
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:11 (11 months ago) Permalink
y'all have convinced me that listening to the "full album" youtube is inadequate and i need to go out and see if i can find a copy of Ring Ring and/or Waterloo, today!
― Doctor Casino, Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:57 (11 months ago) Permalink
Dr Casino, both are on Spotify fyi
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:59 (11 months ago) Permalink
Good stuff -- tho I have to disagree about "What About Livingstone," which on the virtue of its arrangement alone made my ballot.
― Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 26 May 2012 14:55 (11 months ago) Permalink
Hold on, Linda Ronstadt is awesome!
Congrats on the job?
― game of crones (La Lechera), Saturday, 26 May 2012 15:00 (11 months ago) Permalink
Yeah she probably is.
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Saturday, 26 May 2012 15:59 (11 months ago) Permalink
Third album: ABBA (s/t). ABBA makes a name for themselves
Mamma Mia - Just as the first verse of "Waterloo" made me sit up and take notice of ABBA, the chorus for "Mamma Mia" pushed me away, and made me think twice about getting into them. The chorus that birthed the name to the ABBA musical seemed too stagey for me; though I was in lots of plays as a high-schooler, I am usually not looking for overtly theatrical, Broadway musical feel from my pop music; part of my innate & insufferable rockism. The whole thing just gave off this vibe of irredeemable preciousness. But, amazingly enough, I always forget the "JUST ONE LOOK" part right before it, when those well-honed glam-rock afterburners kick in, out of nowhere just like everything always happens in ABBA songs. That sense of craft has progressed steadily in these albums, so that now a song like this is full of bold twists and turns, no matter how outrageous, that never seem forced, always seem effortless: this is basically prog without the noodling. How fucking appropriate is it that this song took the #1 spot in the UK charts directly after "Bohemian Rhapsody"?
Hey, Hey Helen - You can tell by that drumbeat that electric guitars won't be long in coming, and when they arrive, the song turns into another satisfying glam stomp. And I am sighing with relief that they didn't leave the rock behind. Man, no wonder Creem magazine was besides themselves, gushing about these early records. Lyrically, Agnetha and Anna-Frida embody that nagging sense of doubt that any woman likely experiences when contemplating an unsatisfying relationship: the split has happened and now you're all alone, can you make it? are you any happier? what's the matter with you? (though there are more reassuring back-up vocals that sing "lucky woman" and "yes you do, yes you do") Shrewd, but not as shrewd as the breakdown, which reminds me of Stevie's "Superstition". A great song.
Tropical Loveland - This album's "Sitting in the Palmtree," ie this album's lovers rock turn. But there isn't that nifty guitar figure, and it doesn't seem quite as memorable. The rare occasion when a male-led ABBA song is more memorable than a female-led one.
S.O.S. - Arguably ILX's favorite ABBA song. Alex in NYC says calls this protopunk, but its no more protopunk than "Mamma Mia" to be honest. What it is, though, is superhumanly hooky. The verses are chained to its own forlornness by the classical-sounding piano, but once the bubbling synth boils over then in an instant we're transported to pop Valhalla. But the sensation is fleeting, and the song turns urgent: we are overtaken by the glam rush, as if the girls are sprinting after the their unavailable aloof objects of desire. "When you're gone, how can I even try to go on?" The song swings back and forth from corrosive despair to desperation, implying that fulfillment might only be a transitory state in between the two. It doesn't just embody the tensions of classic pop, it totally nails how it feels to live in a pop-song world (ie, our world). I can see why ILX favors it so.
Man in the Middle - If the bridge of "Hey, Hey Helen" implied that maybe ABBA had been listening to Stevie Wonder, this is a full-scale confession. Electrified funk boogie. It's weird: ABBA never quite leaves behind its European sense of vanilla, but they are pretty great at creating some authentic blue-eyed soul type stuff. This might beat the Average White Band at their own game. Just saying.
Bang-a-Boomerang - This song written for another Swedish group to compete in Melodifestivalen to represent Sweden in the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest. They then went and took this song and recorded themselves into it. This is some pretty winning pop music, the momentum not coming from the typical monomaniacal charge forward like they've been doing for the last couple albums, but instead moving forward with a gentle gallop. I am getting a real ELO vibe from this song--it bears some similarity to "Hold On Tight". Of course that song wouldn't be released for another six years. Was it Penman who said that ELO and Roxy Music were negative versions of each other? Where would that leave ABBA?
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do - Another great song. I'm starting to get the impression that I like this album more than the last one, which would be something. It's almost like a pitch perfect amalgamation of Fats Domino and a German drinking song. And that is probably one of pop's perfect choruses. I was going to give this the short shrift because the most salient context I have for it is catching the last twenty minutes of the Mamma Mia! movie, but this is an undeniable classic song, infectious and celebratory.
Rock Me - This is very minimal, opening with just drums and vocals, showing everyone that the "Hey Mickey"/"Hollaback Girl" playground chant pop got its start in their House of Ideas. I'll be honest; it sounds punk as fuck, sort of like "The King Kong Song" without any of the chunky, Sabbathy guitars, or barely any instrumentation at all. I had serious doubts that ABBA would get more punk than they did on Waterloo. I stand corrected. And yet they still combine this incredible pared down arrangement with an incredibly sophisticated hook, which is a pretty impressive feat when you think about it.
Intermezzo No. 1 - And how do they follow up "Rock Me" which could be described somewhat accurately as "screaming over a drumbeat"? With a prog instrumental. Straight up, the Wikipedia page for this album calls this "a grand pseudo-classical keyboard instrumental in the traditions of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman".
I've Been Waiting For You - And after that? The most compelling ballad they've come out with since "Disillusion". This song almost feels like a culmination of all the ballads from the last album: a reprise of the country-pop of "Hasta Manana", the hopeful Europop of "Dance", the icy imperious synthesizer of "Gonna Sing You a Lovesong". But this hits harder than these other songs; the latter two tended to fall back on a chorus repeated ad nauseum, where as this ascends gloriously to the zenith, that chours which is just that one titular line, sang at a volume that dwarfs anything on the previous album, and with a conviction that overcomes all resistance. I love Waterloo a whole lot, but this is better not because it rocks harder but because it rocks smarter. It's not about volume this time around, it's about impact. This song is akin to a cold-wave theme song for the Olympics, a song that sees them at the absolute peak of their abilities, surveying the miles around them, ready to conquer the world. We are the ones who have been waiting for them, though we didn't know it.
So Long - Okay, this was the first single off of the album, which makes it the first released song here, and its some riotous honkytonk dance music, which comes as a bit of a surprise. This song is tons of fun to be honest, and the bridge is a layer of atonal shrieking on top of some climbing chords. I guess this was their least successful single, which is a travesty, considering how much raucous fun this is. Perhaps that's the reason why they turned away from the more overt rock music later on. It's been a total revelation, just how good they were at it.
Crazy World - The first bonus track is a male-sung ballad which may or may not bring the o_0: I wasn't listening really closely, but the impression I got was that in order to keep his cheating wife from leaving him, he invites his brother in the house to ball with her, and then he looks the other way, pretending the whole thing isn't happening. But I could likely be wrong!
Medley: Pick a Bale of Cotton/On Top of Old Smokey/Midnight Special: It's cute but not essential.
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Sunday, 27 May 2012 22:42 (11 months ago) Permalink
Hey Hey Helen cracks me up, it sounds like mean girls sneering "HAY HELEN HOW IS YOUR LIFE IS IT LIKE TOTALLY AWESOME NOW THAT YOU'RE NOT MARRIED ANYMORE???"
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 28 May 2012 01:40 (11 months ago) Permalink
it's totally sneery!
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Monday, 28 May 2012 01:45 (11 months ago) Permalink
― Johnny Fever, Monday, 28 May 2012 05:15 (11 months ago) Permalink
ugh, i doubt i'm going to be able to become expert enough on these albums to give a vote not 85% driven by greatest hits vol. 1/2, man these cats had some great album tracks though!
― Doctor Casino, Monday, 28 May 2012 14:49 (11 months ago) Permalink
Crazy World - The first bonus track is a male-sung ballad which may or may not bring the o_0: I wasn't listening really closely, but the impression I got was that in order to keep his cheating wife from leaving him, he invites his brother in the house to ball with her, and then he looks the other way, pretending the whole thing isn't happening. But I could likely be wrong!
hahahaha this is great, unfortunately this is not actually the twist ending to this song but yours would be much better than the corny one they picked. Meanwhile, them doing "Pick a Bale of Cotton" is just O_o although I guess I basically admire the idea of music to earworm its way into really remote cultural contexts.
― Doctor Casino, Monday, 28 May 2012 15:21 (11 months ago) Permalink
keep em coming folks! tonight's the deadline!
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Monday, 28 May 2012 22:13 (11 months ago) Permalink
and thanks to all who have been discussing stuff, i've been a fairly absent moderator this whole time
Thanks for running this. Sadly (mercifully?) I will not be getting all the albums' rundowns done by the end of the night. I will probably continue to work on them throughout the next week though.
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 01:05 (11 months ago) Permalink
Fourth Album - Arrival. ABBA goes synthpop, sweeps disco off its feet.
When I Kissed the Teacher - A brisk acoustic guitar starts this album off, then the girls' vocals, with their thick Scandinavian accents out front, much more noticeable then I remember them being, at least since the first album. This is some effortless pop, pulled along by a synthetic, almost Teutonic, chug, with the chorus changing it up with some funk/disco bass. ABBA was krautrock! J/k (for now). This song pelts hooks at the listener from every possible angle, like the world's most lopsided dodgeball game. They've really nailed this whole layering thing down.
Dancing Queen - I'm not going to insult your intelligence by pretending I have anything novel to say about this song, ABBA's most universally known and loved hit, the one song of theirs that is the welcome guest at any wedding reception. I mean, obviously it's ravishing, in a way that hasn't really worn away. Those who decry it for being schmaltz ignore the fact that schmaltz is a crucial ingredient in safeguarding against the wear and tear of overplay. Jeered at in its heyday, especially by those who love an easy target, as a corny pop hit, it is precisely that corn that. as time passes, can help it embody an irretrievable past, a lost innocence that never really existed but is all the more poignant for its cheap deceit. Of course their disco visions of dancing queens were fake, but they sell it with enough conviction that we don't have to struggle to believe and therefore can use it to mourn the youths that we, often as not, hated living through the first time. And that sort of universality of effect, almost utilitarian, is exactly what the preterite masses has over the critical elite. Anyway, um: Dancing Queen is a song. You've heard it before. It's good.
My Love, My Life - ABBA is like the Henry James of pop music. I remember reading something by Wallace Stegner about how the Master was constantly refining his approach, using his technical versatility to clear whatever obstructions that the narrative posed. ABBA does the same with songwriting, constantly pushing forward, even after hitting perfection. The last album's "I've Been Waiting for You" was a dizzying apex in their developing balladcraft. This song is similar to that one, with the cool synthesizers (which I am starting to suspect are going to dominate this album) stirring refrains, and legitimate grandeur, though this one is more grounded, lacking the vertiginous thrust of the other, trading for a more emotional urgency, a steadily growing emphasis every time the chorus reappears. It's really good, but I'm not sure I have room for both this and "I've Been Waiting For You" on my ballot.
Dum Dum Diddle - I'm starting to get a sinking feeling that this album is going to have no glam-rock in it. There is a nicely frenzied synth part that starts the song and keeps being repeated, but the stuff in between is just goofy carefree kiddie bounce-pop. This sounds like a Ring Ring outtake, which is not such a bad thing, but they couldn't bring in some hot glitter instead.
Knowing Me, Knowing You - Haha, so I'm not the first person to notice that the real hook in this is that little 'Ah-hah!' that comes at the end of the 'knowing me, knowing you' phrase. It's pretty brilliant. a little twist of sexiness in what is essentially a break-up song. And here's one of the many facets of ABBA's genius. Their music sets up a context of care and craftsmanship and musical sophistication, and yet they still have an incredible knack for those immortal throwaway gestures Pop stars through and through, they knew exactly when and how to puncture the earnest heartache with a sly come-on, or how to enhance it with seductive call-and-response breathiness. There really isn't anything about the song I don't like. Is that a flanged electric piano in the first verse? Whatever it is, it adds a psychedelic flavor to a song that can't help but refuse to dwell on its own heartbreak. Great song!
Money Money Money - Wow, this is about ten times more theatrical than "Mamma Mia" (though dig the disco beat). I'm not a huge fan of its excess, though it's hilariously great how the lead-in to the chorus reminds me of the Oompa-Loompa songs ("You'll get no commercials!"). Still this kind of thing is not my bag.
It's Me - This is okay at first. There's some awesome synthesizer, and the beat is infectious, and the song goes through some very cool melodic twists, but for some reason it's all less than the sum of its parts. Something about the way the song rushes through the "I'm Carrie, not the kind of girl you'd marry" part, when that's precisely the time to hit hard with a great hook, that kind of robs it of memorability. Lots of fine window dressing, but a bit soulless imo.
Why Does It Have to be Me? - Here's a rock song! ABBA has the whole European sing-songy take on overtly bluesy material down. The best example of this (so far) is "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" but this doesn't really sound like a copycat of that. But it falls short of classic.
Tiger - I was looking forward to this song, to be honest, and it's...okay. It does have some glimmer of the glitter I was looking for. But to these ears, for some reason, the hook kind of falls short of sublime. The songwriting smarts have been vacant throughout this second side in my opinion. It's that instinct for impact again: cannily knowing that the last two albums had four or five knockouts each, this time they arranged them all on the first side, presumably to give the initial impression of an embarrassment of riches. Of course that makes the second side almost entirely dispensable. Though I am somewhat troubled by the lurking doubts that maybe the songs are better than I give them credit for being, and I'm just reacting badly to the fact that they've left the wicked rockers like "Watch Out" and "Hey Hey Helen" behind for a smoother synth-pop sound. But I'm going to go ahead and say that this album seems much weaker than the previous two for me.
Arrival - I like this better than the Intermezzo song. Synthesized bagpipes can still bring the drone.
Fernando - Q: How do you get to be my second favourite ABBA song? A: Be featured prominently in the disco episode of That 70s Show. I love this song. Yeah, I know, 'lol piccolos' and everything, but there's something elemental about this song; the arrangement undulates like waves in the sea, and the chorus is as lush and inviting as pop music got in the 70s.. I'm not a superfan of these lyrics but this is some luminous disco music.
Happy Hawaii - This is pretty good. Obviously the contrast between the clean and spacious guitar figure (that goes on to suggest Hawaiian steel later in the song) in the beginning, and the upbeat, slightly bluesy dance-pop in the verses is exactly the kind of depth of texture that ABBA has made their specialty. Hawaii didn't quite need a Brian Wilson to sell the world on the island paradise idyll, but it would still have been great if they had one.
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 01:46 (11 months ago) Permalink
Arrival weaker? Nooooooooo
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 01:56 (11 months ago) Permalink
I've always had a fondness for 'Tropical Loveland', it's 'Bang-A-Boomerang' that's my least favourite song on that album! Totally agree with you that 'Hey Hey Helen' and 'Rock Me' are ace, though. 'Tiger' is fucking awesome, too.
― The Jupiter 8 (Turrican), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 01:58 (11 months ago) Permalink
And I too think that the self-titled album is superior to Arrival.
Rock Me RULES
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:00 (11 months ago) Permalink
Haha, so I'm not the first person to notice that the real hook in this is that little 'Ah-hah!' that comes at the end of the 'knowing me, knowing you' phrase. It's pretty brilliant. a little twist of sexiness in what is essentially a break-up song.
Were I to ever be asked why I like ABBA, I'd point to this moment.
― Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:17 (11 months ago) Permalink
ok, voting is CLOSED! i will try to tabulate results tonight and hopefully roll out the results starting on thursday
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 16:08 (11 months ago) Permalink
― Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 16:50 (11 months ago) Permalink
Thanks Donna! v excited
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 17:29 (11 months ago) Permalink
Any chance you could confirm receipt of ballots? Silence makes me nervous.
― Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 18:13 (11 months ago) Permalink
i just sent an e-mail confirmation to everyone who sent in a ballot, let me know if you didn't receive one
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 18:27 (11 months ago) Permalink
(matthewjweiner the e-mail i sent you bounced back but i got a ballot from you)
How many ballots?
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 21:36 (11 months ago) Permalink
Sorry, sent it from my Evernote account. Thanks!
― Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 21:42 (11 months ago) Permalink
all told, 19 ballots (inc. mine)
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 22:00 (11 months ago) Permalink
First one of these I've voted in where I've felt that there were just massive number ones that were not going to make it to number one on my ballot. Three of them.
― timellison, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 22:17 (11 months ago) Permalink
Really sad that there were only 19 ballots.
― Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 22:37 (11 months ago) Permalink
more than i was expecting tbh! i feel like there'd have been a lot more if we'd done this in like, 2005
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 22:38 (11 months ago) Permalink
That's okay. It will just be an exclusive party.
― Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 22:41 (11 months ago) Permalink
Yeah, this being the first time I managed to get a vote in I'm amazed how few there are.
― I must be old, I recognise nobody in ITV2 idents (aldo), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 22:51 (11 months ago) Permalink
Sorry I didn't get my ballot in -- work has been ba-na-na-na-na-nas and I just didn't have it in me. Seriously, I should have tried but I didn't. I didn't I didn't I didn't I didn't I didn't.
― game of crones (La Lechera), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 23:14 (11 months ago) Permalink
we still love you, we do we do we do we do
― Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 23:16 (11 months ago) Permalink
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 00:14 (11 months ago) Permalink
i wanted to vote but such a tight deadline, couldn't do it
― some dude, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 00:19 (11 months ago) Permalink
Ah, I just realized I've got "Chiquitita" too low. :/
― timellison, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 01:02 (11 months ago) Permalink
― Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 01:51 (11 months ago) Permalink
Post your would-be ballots, sd and la lech. That way, when stuff that's on it comes in way too low, we can point our fingers at you. ;)
― thillrer (loves laboured breathing), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 03:49 (11 months ago) Permalink
just tabulated the tracks results, excited to roll these out! (looking more like i'll be starting on friday, i hope - i may do the albums that day and then start rolling the tracks out on mon?)
― yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 08:01 (11 months ago) Permalink
blargh, in the end i would have voted but this is a really busy time of year for me. This new world of a ballot poll every couple weeks makes it hard to do the groundwork for a ballot I gotta say - - - but then, as always, I can't wait for the results as I suspect they will congeal into a very good Spotify playlist that'll help get me up to speed on this group! Bravo to donna rouge!
― Doctor Casino, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:17 (11 months ago) Permalink