Duel of the double female fronted bands: ABBA vs B-52's

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Both bands have female singers that have very complimentary voices. Both female singers in each band have solo songs, but mostly sing in harmony. Both bands have male singers, although Fred is obviously more prominent. Both bands come from the 70's and have very outlandish fashion senses, but they have very different aesthetics.
So who has the best voices, harmonies, stage presence? Who is your favorite duo?

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Kate & Cindy 53
Agneta & Frida 36


LeRooLeRoo, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:42 (two weeks ago) Permalink

too tough!

nxd, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:51 (two weeks ago) Permalink

B-52s are great but this is ABBA all the way, they were just on a different level.

evol j, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:57 (two weeks ago) Permalink

ABBA are lame so this choice was easy

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:58 (two weeks ago) Permalink

ABBA are lame so this choice was easy

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:58 (two weeks ago) Permalink

lamé shakey, they wore lamé

my name is leee john, for we are many (NickB), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 16:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink

very good

think abba for me

nxd, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 16:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

It's hard to compare the two because they're so different, although I vote for the B-52s. ABBA didn't have much stage presence. The sparkly disco suits and capes were just an affectation, and on a vocal level Agnetha and Frida didn't really have a style - with the exception of "The Winner Takes it All" they sang every song in the same way. But their awkward blandness was part of the band's appeal. The odd grammar and total lack of personality were charismatic.

The B-52s on the other hand were committed to their image and were much more engaging live. Kate and Cindy were superior vocal stylists. Even after the band ran out of ideas their music was were listenable because the vocals lifted them up, viz "Roam" or "Cake". I would much rather have been stuck in a lift with the B-52s.

Put another way, if the B-52s had two genius pop songwriters but were slightly duller the band would still have been a monster, whereas if ABBA had one semi-genius pop songwriter and more charismatic frontpeople they wouldn't have amounted to much.

Ashley Pomeroy, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Write-in vote for Heart (who are also bettee than ABBA)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:08 (two weeks ago) Permalink

now i really want a smash-hit b-52s musical starring meryl streep

sign up for my waterless urinals webinar (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:09 (two weeks ago) Permalink

write-in vote for salt-n-pepa

sign up for my waterless urinals webinar (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

write in vote for the Nolans

Bound 4 da Remoan (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

... opens with a medley of Blaw Blaw My Kilt's Awa'/Stop Your Ticklin' Jock/I Love A Lassie, ye cannae whack it.

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:19 (two weeks ago) Permalink

'budget series' otm

sign up for my waterless urinals webinar (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:23 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Write in vote for Donita Sparks and Suzy Gardner from L7.

Chequers Plays Pop (snoball), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:25 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I don't think you can credibly call it a "double female fronted band" if the rest of the band is also female, seems to kind of be a different category

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

mellow candle or gtfo

my name is leee john, for we are many (NickB), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:44 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Kim & Kelly Deal.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

B-52s are great but this is ABBA all the way, they were just on a different level.

― evol j, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:57 (four hours ago) Permalink

Abba are great, but B-52s were just on a different level. I've been revelling in them the last couple weeks, since the poll. So original, they really created their own genre of music.

Drunk Charles Nelson Reily violating Paul Lynn at a toga party (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i don't see a whole lot of sense in even comparing these two bands that did completely different things

The Poppy Bush AutoZone (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

apples suck, oranges otm

princess of hell (BradNelson), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:03 (two weeks ago) Permalink

alex in nyc owns himself yet again

mark s, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink

nah he remained unbowed all the way to the end of that thread

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

unbowed and wrong, the alex way :)

mark s, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink

was he though

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink

look I love the B-52s with my whole heart but we are talking here about Abba. Abba is just a miracle

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink

lmao

kay good, cuz dudes in this thread is all like OMG nick cave is just hopped up campy pseudosoutherngothic doomy claptrap!!!

On the contrary, it's the fact that he's a load of fucking boring middle-aged crud for 42 year old Goths

― Sacco, Vanzetti, Passantino... (Tom D.), Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:24 PM (nine years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

just like ILM, amrite???!?!?

― rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:24 PM (nine years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The Poppy Bush AutoZone (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

also obvs the answer is B-52's

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i love the b-52's. i love abba. only one of them wrote and performed "knowing me, knowing you"

princess of hell (BradNelson), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 21:43 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I thought about including Ann and Nancy, but they don't have equal vocal duties in the band's catalog. Same with Christine and Stevie who have mostly solo or group songs.

LeRooLeRoo, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 22:37 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Voice of the beehive

Mark G, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

OK, if you insist..

The Heartthrobs

Mark G, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

one thing that makes ABBA greater than the B-52s for me is this: let's concede, for the sake of argument, that the B-52s make better records. Not an impossible concession to make -- where, in ABBA's catalog, is their "Dance This Mess Around"? They don't have one, nor a "Quiche Lorraine," nor a "Legal Tender." The B-52s locate some zones of feeling & expression that I'd argue were pretty thin on the ground if not nonexistent in pop music before them. But here's the thing: Only they can convey these expressions. Cover "Quiche Lorraine"? Be my guest, you're going to sound like an asshole. Cover "52 Girls"? Feel free, chump. But anybody, on pretty much any instrument, can play "Knowing Me, Knowing You," or "Dancing Queen," or "The Winner Takes It All," or "Take a Chance on Me," or "S.O.S." and anybody with an ear will hear that these are solid, brilliant songs. There's more to ABBA than ABBA, but of course their versions will probably be definitive, because they have, in addition to merciless songwriting chops, a real vision for how to present their songs. The B52s are sui generis - they write songs only they can really pull off. I suspect for many people, that makes them the greater band, but I think of versatility/portability/flexibility/malleability as the mark of real genius.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:26 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I think of versatility/portability/flexibility/malleability as the mark of real genius.

sounds like something a songwriter would say lol

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:32 (two weeks ago) Permalink

xp great post, still voted B-52s

sleeve, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

which is not to say that your point is incorrect - the B-52s songs and their greatness is very much tied in to their specific personalities and talents - just that I don't know if I agree that ABBA's more, shall we say, Platonic approach to crafting the "ideal" pop song is de facto better. I do know whose catalog I find more fun and engaging to listen to and that's definitely Kate and Cindy & crew.

xp

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:34 (two weeks ago) Permalink

sounds like something a songwriter would say lol

ha, I edited out a graf explaining that this is (one reason) why I would never rank my own stuff with the true greats. almost no covers of my stuff are as good as the originals. period. this has been true for over twenty years. there are two instances I know of where the covers beat the originals with me, and the songs are two of my very highest achievements -- and, even then, the work done by the covering artists is just next-level. whereas with ABBA, even a shitty cover of "dancing queen" has THOSE changes, THAT melody, THAT structure. I'm not even an actual ABBA fan, technically - I've never owned any of their records; -- but at the same time, I consider their achievement titanic, unimaginable, and whenever I hear them, I think, man, who beats that? hardly anybody.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

not necessarily a personal thing, just recognizing how songwriter-minds tend to work. I certainly feel like grinding away on my own material makes me think about structure, chords, lyrical mechanics, melodies in a more abstract and technical way than the average listener. Like, I get how you can appreciate ABBA as superior in a formal way without even owning their records (also lol though cuz c'mon that is funny)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:52 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I can’t choose

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 23:53 (two weeks ago) Permalink

The way Kate & Cindy sing together reminds me most of the way Exene & John Doe sing together, which would've been a better poll tbh.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Not really, I've never heard X.

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:32 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Er, how is that anyone's fault besides yours?

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I don't think they're particularly well known outside the US.

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:35 (two weeks ago) Permalink

But, you know, carry on regardless, Make ILM Great Again.

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:37 (two weeks ago) Permalink

X are great, check out any of the 1st four albums

sleeve, Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:49 (two weeks ago) Permalink

this would have been ABBA if it wasn't for our recent poll, but all i have been listening to for about a month now is The B-52's. they are better than i originally thought.

Bee OK, Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:57 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(xp) Well, I could be completely wrong but not only have I never heard them but I've never heard them come up in a conversation ever - and I had a conversation about Killdozer today!

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I actually think ABBA is best enjoyed in album form, and they finished off with a real classic album.

abcfsk, Thursday, 29 November 2018 09:53 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Also many xxxposts

But I think someone could cover "Roam" by the B52s and it could work

The Poppy Bush AutoZone (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 29 November 2018 12:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I was thinking that and "Deadbeat Club". And of course, Sinéad did it with "Ain't It a Shame".

LeRooLeRoo, Thursday, 29 November 2018 13:44 (two weeks ago) Permalink

The B-52's seem to have a sort of uncoverability akin to the Sugarcubes, where it's essential that it is them performing the songs, but the songs themselves are quite strong. I dunno. I just never liked ABBA that much. The Bee Gees were more interesting to me.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 29 November 2018 16:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Gibb bros are light years ahead of ABBA imo

Οὖτις, Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

So, Οὖτις, no sitting on the fence here, ABBA yay or nay?

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:19 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I will rate ABBA above Fleetwood Mac fwiw

Οὖτις, Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:53 (two weeks ago) Permalink

mostly because their songs work on that archetypal pop level that JCLC was referring to, their best material is catchy and bouncy as hell. FM doesn't have anything like that imo, their appeal is more tightly bound up with the personalities of the players and their band mythology, which bores me. (Which is just to say that other bands, like the B-52s, say, have better mythologies and personalities lol, or at least ones I just find inherently more interesting or appealing)

Οὖτις, Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:56 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I don't think of FM that way at all, though. Looking at JCLC's criteria, "Landslide" has to be one of the most-covered songs of the last 50 years. As often as not, guitar students don't even know it as a FM song ime.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Thursday, 29 November 2018 18:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink

M doesn't have anything like that imo, their appeal is more tightly bound up with the personalities of the players and their band mythology, which bores me.

lol what

With that rhythm section? With that (former) guitarist? Maybe to sell copies of Rolling Stone the mythos worked.

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 November 2018 18:22 (two weeks ago) Permalink

in what world aren't "Don't Stop" and "Gypsy" bouncy as hell

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 November 2018 18:23 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(No data to back the first claim, which I pulled out of my ass. Point is that it has clearly been covered a lot, and successfully.) 2xp And yeah, "Never Going Back Again" is an all-time great fingerpicking song.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Thursday, 29 November 2018 18:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

ABBA are great of course. B-52's are basically my favourite band right now. I'm voting for Ace of Base.

jmm, Thursday, 29 November 2018 18:30 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Don't turn around

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 November 2018 18:30 (two weeks ago) Permalink

all that jmm wants is another bABBAy

The Poppy Bush AutoZone (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 29 November 2018 19:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

lol

Οὖτις, Thursday, 29 November 2018 19:38 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Kate and Cindy made/make harmonies like few in the world of rock/pop and are as in-tune with each other as Hazel and Alice.

B-52's all day.

bodacious ignoramus, Thursday, 29 November 2018 22:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

fun fact: ace of base are nazis

dude the new bond girl’s gonna be named ‘firehose o’piss’ (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 29 November 2018 22:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

bump

sleeve, Thursday, 29 November 2018 22:57 (two weeks ago) Permalink

how do all these Fleetwood Mac songs get stuck in my head, must be their personalities and backstories that I don't think about at all?

brimstead, Thursday, 29 November 2018 23:45 (two weeks ago) Permalink

what can I say, I've never had a Mac song stuck in my head

Οὖτις, Friday, 30 November 2018 00:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink

whereas "Take a Chance on Me" was burned into my brain (via the Muppets!) as a youngster.

Οὖτις, Friday, 30 November 2018 00:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Both bands are about the best at what they do. You could make an awesome split 7" in the sky with the B52s and Abba covering a tune of each other.

earlnash, Friday, 30 November 2018 00:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I enjoy the timbre of the B52 vox more - Roam gives me an ASMR, goosebump type reaction, while is ABBA is just like “more champagne please.” Also gotta keep in mind the difference in production styles, B52s all crisp and treble, ABBA hazy and lush

calstars, Friday, 30 November 2018 00:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

ABBA, the Mac, the B-52's -- all awesome, y'all are cracked
.

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 November 2018 00:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Mindbogglingly, heartbreakingly cracked

Bound 4 da Remoan (Noodle Vague), Friday, 30 November 2018 00:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Agnetha and Frida's voice are undistinguishable to me, while I can mostly tell which part is Kate and which is Cindy. This is not a pro or a con, just an observation.

LeRooLeRoo, Friday, 30 November 2018 00:22 (two weeks ago) Permalink

That's not a dis though

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 November 2018 00:22 (two weeks ago) Permalink

This is the ABBA song I discovered in the last two years that affirmed their holyshitness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsznMjw-BsI

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 November 2018 00:23 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Practically the last thing they recorded, this song and the two songs from the Under Attack single are what happened when the ABBA boys got hold of Oh No It's Devo and decided to give it one last crack at staying relevant.

everything, Friday, 30 November 2018 07:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Practically the last thing they recorded, this song and the two songs from the Under Attack single are what happened when the ABBA boys got hold of Oh No It's Devo and decided to give it one last crack at staying relevantimprove it in every way.

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 November 2018 11:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

don't you go underrating Devo Alfred

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Friday, 30 November 2018 13:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

DEVO is so great now Alfred's probably gonna cyberbully them with faint praise in a top ten list

The Poppy Bush AutoZone (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 30 November 2018 13:32 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I checked his blog, he has already said they are good but...improving on Devo? It is not possible.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Friday, 30 November 2018 13:40 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I like Devo!

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 November 2018 13:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I hear more Dollar than Devo in "I Am the City."

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 30 November 2018 13:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

obviously ABBA is amazing, effortlessly keeping abreast of all the changes in 70s pop and leaving their indelible stamp on every genre they worked in, but B-52's had a deeper bag of tricks, they took more risks and pulled them off way more (in no way is ABBA more 'versatile') and their albums are filled to the brim with 'free lunches.'

Sometimes I think they were the best band in the world

slack thompson (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 2 December 2018 01:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

It's true, B-52's were kind of the ultimate free lunch band.

Where does Stereolab fit in the double female fronted pantheon?

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Sunday, 2 December 2018 01:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

If Kate could sing well , this wouldn't even be a question. But Cindy is a breathtaking singer and Kate makes it work somehow anyway, so they will probably still win.

Three Word Username, Sunday, 2 December 2018 08:29 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Cindy is otherworldly, the abba gals seem somewhat cipher-like but maybe there was more there, not really a fan although recognize the melodic strengths of the band. But Cindy is something so compelling, not to sell Kate short

velko, Sunday, 2 December 2018 08:56 (two weeks ago) Permalink

some of kate's finest guest vocals, up there with "me in honey"

http://spillmagazine.com/spill-album-review-dba-downes-braide-association-skyscraper-souls/

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 2 December 2018 16:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Abba was rubbish and the stage presence of the two girls was so unbelievably sterile and uncool. The B52's were so much more exciting and they were bursting with so many ideas. Abba was a sleepfest in comparison.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Sunday, 2 December 2018 16:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

they aren't girls

sleeve, Sunday, 2 December 2018 16:58 (two weeks ago) Permalink

who cares about stage presence? ABBA were a studio band through and through.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 2 December 2018 17:52 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I dunno, this seems terrific to me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G5129BMoXg

everything, Sunday, 2 December 2018 19:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Cold, sterile, miserable Scandinavians ftw.

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Sunday, 2 December 2018 19:23 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 00:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 00:01 (one week ago) Permalink

justice

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 00:01 (one week ago) Permalink

Tin roof... justice.

(I would've voted ABBA though)

Josefa, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 02:34 (one week ago) Permalink


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