ABBA (stylised ᗅᗺᗷᗅ): are a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982.
Title: The Album
Label: Polar Records
Catalog# POLS 282
ABBA: The Album is the fifth studio album by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in Scandinavia on 12 December 1977 through Polar Music, but due to the massive pre-orders the UK pressing plants were not able to press sufficient copies before Christmas 1977 and so it was not released in the UK until January 1978. The album was released in conjunction with ABBA: The Movie, with several of the songs featured in the film.
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/rock, 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.
1. Eagle (5:51)
2. Take a Chance on Me (4:05)
3. One Man, One Woman (4:25)
4. The Name of the Game (4:54)
1. Move On (4:42)
2. Hole in Your Soul (3:41)
3. The Girl with the Golden Hair: Three Scenes from a Mini-Musical
(a) Thank You for the Music (3:48)
(b) I Wonder (Departure) (4:33)
(c) I’m a Marionette (3:54)
ABBA (stylised ᗅᗺᗷᗅ; Swedish pronunciation: are a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982.
Title: The Visitors
Label: Polydor Records
The Visitors is the eighth and final studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, released on 30 November 1981.
With The Visitors, ABBA took several steps away from the “lighter” pop music they had recorded previously and the album is often regarded as a more complex and mature effort. The opening track, “The Visitors“, with its ominous synthesizer sounds and the distinctive lead vocal by Frida, announced a change in musical style. With Benny and Frida going their separate ways, the pain of splitting up was explored yet again in “When All Is Said and Done“. The major hit single on the album, “One of Us” also depicted the end of a love story. Elsewhere there were current Cold War themes—highly topical at the time—and further songs of isolation and regret.
ABBA‘s final album was recorded during a period of major personal shakeups, principally in the decision by Benny Andersson and Frida to follow the same route to divorce that had already been taken by Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog. Both male members of the group would soon remarry, but at the time, despite all of these changes in their circumstances, The Visitors was never intended as ABBA‘s swan song — they were to go on recording together. That may explain why, rather than a threadbare, thrown-together feel, The Visitors is a beautifully made, very sophisticated album, filled with serious but never downbeat songs, all beautifully sung and showing off some of the bold songwriting efforts. The title track is a topical song about Soviet dissidents that also manages to be very catchy, while “I Let the Music Speak” sounds like a Broadway number (and a very good one, at that) in search of a musical to be part of, and “When All Is Said and Done” is a serious, achingly beautiful ballad with a lot to say about their personal situations — even “Two for the Price of One,” a lighthearted song sung by Björn Ulvaeus about answering a personal advertisement, offered several catchy hooks and beautiful backup singing. “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room” ended the original album on a hauntingly ethereal note, but not as any kind of larger statement about the quartet’s fate.
1. The Visitors (5:49)
2. Head Over Heels (3:45)
3. When All Is Said And Done (3:20)
4. Soldiers (4:38)
1. I Let The Music Speak (5:20)
2. One Of Us (3:55)
3. Two For The Price Of One (3:36)
4. Slipping Through My Fingers (3:51)
5. Like An Angel Passing Through My Room (3:25)