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Writing a review about a greatest hits album from one of the world's most loved, recognised and famous bands should be a doddle, as there is very little most people don't know about ABBA - in many cases, whether they want to or not. The Swedish foursome managed to find a perfect combination of songwriting and melodies to create some of the most endearing and durable pop records of the last forty years.
In a way, that's what makes writing about them so difficult - everyone already has an opinion, everyone has their favourites, and most have already decided whether they will tap their feet to the catchy beat when ABBA comes on the radio, or mutter under their breath and resolutely change the station.
I was introduced to ABBA as a child, when, in more innocent times, my grandfather used to put on some of their records (with a sprinkling of Boney M - remember them?) for me and my cousins to cavort, dance and "jive" to as six year old kids having some fun. Their music stayed with me, in the background, throughout my life - very much a guilty pleasure during the times when I was way "too cool" to like them, or I was clever enough to realise that open acknowledgement of my soft spot would probably be social suicide.
However, when I stopped caring about what other people thought, and when it became trendy and retro to like them again (coincidentally, when ABBA Gold came out) they made a spectacular comeback into my record collection.
Apart from the nostalgia and happy childhood memories, ABBA Gold had a more contemporary relevance to me. In the summer of 1997, one of my good friends from uni was getting married to an Italian aristocrat in a lovely walled Tuscan village called Campagnatico, so my friend Jezza and I decided to hire a car and make a week of it, driving around Northern Italy. On our travels, we took in Florence, Sienna, Pisa and ultimately Venice.
The car had a tape player and a radio, and after deciding that we could not endure Italian pop any longer, we decided to buy a tape - any tape - at the next service station we popped in to. Nestled amongst all of the trashy looking crap that obviously (along with double espressos) served to keep Italian HGV drivers awake, was ABBA Gold. No contest.
We then spent the rest of our trip playing the tape over and over, and by the end of it, we remembered all the words we'd forgotten and learned all of the ones we didn't know. We must have looked a sight, bombing down the motorways, windows down, belting out ABBA at the top of our lungs and camping it up for good effect.
The proof, if any was ever needed, of the universality of ABBA, came when we got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam in the middle of nowhere on our return from Venice to Pisa airport. It was one of those incidents where people eventually start getting out of their cars and milling about.
In an inspired moment, Jezza turned on the radio, popped in the tape, and as the first strains of Dancing Queen penetrated the aural passages of the gathering crowd, some sort of race memory kicked into overdrive, and before we knew it, we were having a bit of a rave up amongst the cars in the middle of Tuscany - making friends, getting down with strangers, and even dancing with old biddies in black. Sadly, all too soon (I think it was in the middle of "Mamma Mia") traffic started moving again, and we had a plane to catch - but the experience will live with me forever.
Following the 30th anniversary of their first UK hit "Waterloo" in 1974, ABBA re-released the 19-track CD version of ABBA GOLD in 2004 (the original CD was released in 1994) and it has become a staple of most record collections ever since. Every one of the songs on the album, which span the period between 1974 and 1981, is instantly recognisable, which speaks both to their universal appeal and their copious and productive output.
The success of this compilation spawned the follow-up More ABBA Gold in 1994 which has some of their less recognisable material, so for the novice "Gold" is a great starting point, and at £5.68 from Amazon, you can hardly go wrong. The CD includes a very good booklet with a potted history of the band, as well as the genesis of the ABBA Gold album.
Of course, the musical "Mamma Mia" and the film based on it have exposed ABBA to a whole new generation of fans. It is doubtful that Agnetha, Bjorn, Benni and Anni-Frid will need to worry about their retirement.
At 19 songs, the album represents fantastic value, but the sheer number makes it impractical to cover each one. As such, here are my top five.
> Knowing Me, Knowing You
ABBA career has always been punctuated by the personal relationships between the band members (Bjorn and Agnetha, and then Benni and Anni-Frid married and divorced) and a lot of their material hides an emotional depth - born of their experiences - under the slick, pop veneer. "KMKY" is one such song. It is a melancholy ballad, with its source material obvious from its raw and punchy lyrics, but it's hard to refrain from singing along with the catchy chorus and its characteristic harmonies.
"No more carefree laughter. Silence ever after. Walking through an empty house, tears in my eyes. Here is where the story ends. This is goodbye. Knowing me, knowing You, there is nothing we can do."
> Super Trouper
My favourite mondegreen comes from this song (not a typo - but the fancy name for a misheard lyric). ABBA were a very busy band during their 70's heyday, and this song speaks to the endless grind of performing and touring. Another catchy number (aren't they all) which will have you tripping over your tongue trying to emulate Benni and Bjorn's background "Suppapappa Troopappa". As for that mondegreen? "I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from Tesco". That's, erm "Glasgow" actually...
"Facing 20,000 of your friends, how can anyone feel so lonely? Part of a success that never ends, still I'm thinking about you only..."
> The Winner Takes it All
Another of ABBA's "divorce ballads" this is a heartfelt, powerful and emotional song that has resonated with many who have found themselves in similar circumstances. You can almost feel the hurt through its exceptional lyrics and delivery. The singer is trying desperately to be brave, to face the truth, to banish regrets and move on ("it's simple and it's plain, why should I complain?") but you know - and feel - that she can't - not really. An outstanding track.
"I don't want to talk, if it makes you feel sad, and I understand, you've come to shake my hand. I apologise if it makes you feel bad, seeing me so tense, no self confidence, but you see, the winner takes it all."
ABBA tell stories in their songs exceptionally well, and Fernando is a fine example of their art. In a short, four minute window, they manage to create a rich and colourful Latin American tableau for the listener. The lyrics and the music together do a masterful job of transporting you back to a different time and era. This is the international appeal of ABBA at its most obvious - and in my view at least - best.
"There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright Fernando. They were shining there for you and me, for liberty, Fernando. Though we never thought that we could lose, there's no regret..."
> Thank You For The Music
This a lovely, simple little piano led number, with none of the razzmatazz usually associated with some of the fuller and busier ABBA songs. It would have been a fitting end-note type tribute for the band's success (and their appreciation for their undoubted talent) but it was actually written in 1977 - in their heyday. It showcases Agnetha's excellent voice - something you don't really expect given most of their material.
"And I've often wondered, how did it all start? Who found that that nothing can capture a heart like a melody can? Well, whoever it was, I'm a fan!"
From "Waterloo", which kicked it off at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, until they "took a break" in 1982 which ended up being permanent, ABBA enjoyed almost unparalleled and continuous worldwide success. They have entertained generations of fans in a way that very few groups ever have, and for that they are, and always will be legends of pop. The excellent ABBA Gold is a perfect introduction to those who want to hear a bit more.
Quoting their own words to them would be a fitting way to end this piece, so "Thank you for the music" ABBA, "for giving it to me".
FULL TRACK LISTING
Dancing Queen (1976)
Knowing Me, Knowing You (1976)
Take A Chance On Me (1977)
Mamma Mia (1975)
Lay All Your Love On Me (1980)
Super Trouper (1980)
I Have A Dream (1979)
The Winner Takes It All (1980)
Money, Money, Money (1976)
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (1979)
Does Your Mother Know (1979)
One of Us (1981)
The Name of The Game (1977)
Thank You For The Music (1977)
© Hishyeness 2009
This album brings together most of Abba's biggest hits, as the name suggests. I'm a big fan of Abba but I wasn't familiar with all of the tracks on the album (Chiquitita was the main one that I hadn't heard before).
1. Dancing Queen
This is a great song to dance to even though it's one that I would call mid-tempo. I love the vocals on this track and it's deceptically hard to sing along too despite the simple sounding melody.
2. Knowing Me, Knowing You
This is quite a slow track and quite haunting in terms of lyrics. It is a classic break-up song and a good staple to turn to if you're feeling down about the end of a relationship.
3. Take A Chance On Me
This track is more upbeat than the previous track. Like most of the tracks on the album, it is the females who sing lead vocals.
4. Mamma Mia
This is one of the most well-known tracks on the album. It is upbeat and lively in terms of the backing as well as the vocals.
5. Lay All Your Love On Me
This returns the album to mid-tempo territory again. I'm not that keen on this track, particularly the slightly electronic feel at the end of a couple of the verses.
6. Super Trouper
This is another mid-tempo track. This isn't one of my favourite tracks and I sometimes skip it, but that doesn't mean that I actually dislike it as such. It washes over me more than a lot of the other tracks but it is still typical Abba as it's catchy.
7. I Have A Dream
This is a slow track and although the vocals are quite haunting, I'm not much of a fan and tend to skip past this track.
8. The Winner Takes It All
This is another mid-tempo track. The lyrics are brilliantly written, which is a big part of what makes the track. The vocals are good and quite powerful at times.
9. Money, Money, Money
This is more upbeat than the previous few tracks and very catchy. It has quite a glamorous feel in terms of vocals as they are rich.
This is a mid-tempo track but catchy in the chorus. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. I don't think that it was one of the biggest hits featured on the album (in the UK at least) but I love it.
I wasn't familiar with this track before buying this album several years ago and am not particularly fond of it. It is quite slow for the most part, although it does speed up a bit towards the end.
This is another slow track and one that I tend to skip past as I don't feel any resonance with the lyrics.
This is a more upbeat track than the previous couple of ones. It is very catchy especially in the chorus and the vocals are great.
14. Gimme Gimme Gimme
This track is mid-tempo in the verses but speed up a bit in the chorus. The chorus is catchy. This track was sampled on Madonna's "Hung Up" single that was a big hit a few years ago.
15. Does Your Mother Know
This is one of the only tracks that the male members of the group take lead vocals on. The harmonies on this song are pretty good and it is nice to hear the male vocals, as they are usually relegated to harmonising in the chorus on most tracks. The track falls somewhere between mid-tempo and upbeat. I wouldn't call it upbeat as such but it has a faster pace than some of the mid-tempo tracks on the album.
16. One Of Us
This track was haunting vocals and is quite slow-paced. It is one of my favourite tracks as it is really well sung. It isn't very catchy but it is nice to listen to.
17. The Name of The Game
This is another track that I tend to skip over. I don't find it very catchy and am not overly fond of it really.
18. Thank You For The Music
This is quite slow in the verses but becomes more catchy in the chorus. I like the vocals on this track.
This is one of the album's up-tempo tracks and is ridiculously catchy. I like to have a bit of dance around to this when it comes on. It's very fitting as an end to the album as it is very typical of the Abba style.
This album is perfect for anyone who enjoys Abba's big hits. It is full of upbeat and mid-tempo tracks that are catchy pop tunes but there is also a nice mixture of slower tracks with good vocals.
The collection of Abba songs is appropriately titled 'Gold' because anything less would be demeaning to the group. All the tracks are of a high calibre and have stood the test of time. One of the most enduring pop groups the music indutstry has seen.
Who are they:
Swedes, Benny, Bjorn, Frida and Agnetha. The vocals tended to be done by the women while the guys wrote the music. They specialised in feel good catchy pop music.
On this album:
Opens with the obvious 'Dancing Queen' which is still a disco delight. It is a great track to dance to, though I would stress this is a song for the ladies rather than the guys. 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' is more accessible for me, a lovely piano driven pop track with those glorious 'Ah-haas' in there. A song that is now hard to separate from Alan Partridge, but still a joy.
I would head for the upbeat 'Mamma Mia' which has a jaunty pianoline in it, it almost throws you offguard, but the sweet vocals bring it back to earth. Essentially a love song, but the disco nature of it overpowers the sickly lyrics. Abba excel at the slower numbers, I rate 'The Winner Takes It All' which is a triumphant song with a superb gradual build. The way the drum work comes in after the first verse is magical and gets me everytime. I also adore 'One Of Us' which always brings a tear to the eye. Here, the vocals are quite piercing, yet the resonance works well and they convey the emotion with integrity and sincerity.
With a whopping nineteern tracks you are definitely getting value for money here. There are no fillers, just hit after hit. My only criticism is the artwork which is bland and could have been expanded on the inner sleeve to contain more information.
Released in 1992 ABBA Gold is a compilation of the greatest hits of the worldwide Swedish superstar phenom known as ABBA. It was the biggest selling album that ABBA ever released and is in the top 40 albums sold of all time!
Even if you are a hardened rock fan like myself you have to appreciate just how good ABBA's music was, some of their tunes were nothing short of spectacular. This album boasts them all from the awesome "Dancing Queen" to "Take a Chance on Me" all the way through to the catchy as hell "Waterloo" . My personal favourite is "The Name of the Game" , I remember listening to that when I was growing up. It's just an album jam packed with hit after hit and one of those compilations you can listen to from the first track through to the last without needing to skip tracks at all.
1. Dancing Queen
2. Knowing Me, Knowing You
3. Take A Chance On Me
4. Mamma Mia
5. Lay All Your Love On Me
6. Super Trouper
7. I Have A Dream
8. The Winner Takes It All
9. Money, Money, Money
14. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
15. Does Your Mother Know
16. One Of Us
17. The Name Of The Game
18. Thank You For The Music
19. Waterloo (English Version)
One of the best compilations ever made , this really is a perfect album to listen to on your own or to have at parties, ABBA were a great act and this is the absolute best of their offerings, you really can't go wrong. This is higly recommended to all.
I am reviewing the CD of ABBA Gold greatest hits.
O.K hands up all of you out there who own an ABBA song. Probably most of you do as this group was such a tremendous success in the 70's and early 80's. They produced nine albums and topped the charts as soon as they released a new track.
I am too young to remember their first appearance in the Eurovision song contest for Sweden in 1974 (I was only 1 !!) but this won the competition hands down with hardly any resistance from any other country.
The song was "Waterloo" which they played in Brighton on August 6th 1974.
The four Swedish singers were :
Bjorn Ulvaues, Benny Anderson, Agnetha Faltskog, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
The group got together after Benny and Bjorn met in 1966 where they were in different bands "The Hep stars" and "The Hootananny singers". Bjorn met Agnetha in 1967 as she met him when singing on a TV special where they were on the same show.
Anni Frid met Benny in 1969 when they were performing in the same town.
Soon after this they all decided to get together and make lots of music.
It was a very slow start for them but they done a song in Sweden "people need love" that became a well released song getting them off the mark and people knowing their name.
Then came their entry for Eurovision in '74 as I mentioned earlier.
After this they became very popular and everybody loved their song that won Eurovision.
Their next song was SOS which was a worldwide hit, it shot into the top 10 in the charts but never made it to number 1.
Mama Mia was next earning ABBA a number one hit over here in the UK and selling very fast all over the US and Australia.
ABBA really grew from there and were very popular until they decided to call it a day in 1983. With a string of hits behind them and all of their music people adored all around the world this little group from Sweden accomplished more than they ever could have hoped to.
Without going into all the history of the group I shall tell you which songs are on this CD
The songs on this Greatest hits album are :
This was released in 1976 from the album "Arrival" it became number one in the charts here in the UK and also ABBA's only number one hit in the US
Knowing me Knowing you.
This was released in March 1977 from the album "Arrival" and was a number one hit here in the UK (surprise surprise) and was at number 1 for five weeks.
Take a chance on me.
This was released in 1978, a number one hit here and popular in the US. This was from the album ABBA
This was released in 1974 when ABBA were making their name over the world. It was a hit in most countries. Number one here and in Australia. This comes from the album "ABBA"
Lay all your love on me.
This was released in 1981 from the "Super Trouper" album. It never made number one but made it's mark as a track a lot of people had fun dancing to as it was noted as one of their best ever dancing tracks.
This was released in November 1980 from the album of the same name. This was their last number one here in the UK.
I have a dream.
This was released in November 1979. This was song all about peace. It comes from the album "Voulez Vous" It reached number two in the charts.
The winner takes it all.
This was released in march 1980 and all about Bjorns and Agnethas divorce. This was also taken from the "Voulez Vous" album.
Money money money.
This was released in 1976, from the "Arrival" album this was a huge hit across the globe with number one here for five weeks.
This was released at the start of ABBAs career in 1974 and one that started to set them up. It was released from the album "ABBA" It never reached number one but done extremely well in lots of countries and getting in the top ten here in the UK.
This was released in January 1979 at a premiere in New York, this done quite well but not number one material. This also comes from the "Voulez Vous" album.
This was released in 1976, first being a Swedish language song, but then they realised the potential of this. It comes from the "Arrival" album.
A very fast paced pop song, this was released in 1979 by the album of the same name. This was a very popular tune around discos everywhere.
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight.
This was also released in 1979 which was another popular disco track which went very well around the world. This is from the "Voulez Vous" album
Does your mother know.
This was released in 1979, at the time there was a great need for people wanting disco tracks and this too became a hit because of the fast paced disco beat.
One of us.
This was released in December 1981 from the album "The Visitors", this also done very well with a different beat for the start of the 80's
The name of the game.
This was released in 1977 from the album "ABBA" this became a number one here in the UK and also in Germany.
Thank you for the music.
This was released in 1983 and was ABBA's last song. It was a thank you to all the fans over the years that had bought and loved their music.
Everybody knows the story behind this one !! Eurovision 1974. Need I say more ?
This is on the album "Waterloo"
What I thought :
As this is a CD I havent listned to that much it is quite a change to hear some of these old songs, as I do remember some of them being in the charts when I was younger !
I found that it was a good mix on this greatest hits album with fast and slow paced songs also the way they were set out on the track listing wasnt in year order so you had some of the late 70s and early 80s songs mixed with the early 70s.
I found that the sound was very good quality and had been transferred over very well from the recordings that were made at the time. There is no cracking of any sound and it has all been digitally remastered.
After listing to some of these songs the ones that I enjoyed hearing again were Waterloo as this was their oldest and the Eurovision winning song. I enjoyed the upbeat track and cant help yourself humming the tune the day after !
Voules Vous was also one I enjoyed a lot, yet again quite an upbeat track and had a very catchy tune.
I wasnt too keen on Chiquitita as I didnt really like the pace of the song and wasnt that keen on it.
I thought that the inlay book provided had quite a bit of detail that I thought was very good as most CDs dont normally have this much information inside them. Its not a masterpiece with the inlay cover but good enough so you can read a bit about when the band was formed and some history about the songs.
If you like ABBA then this one is for you, it has a lot of great hits from the band and you wont be disappointed.
You can normally pick this CD up quite cheap now from places like Ebay, Amazon, CDWow, Play.com.
During the 70s ABBA rapidly became very popular. Once never heard of, they emerged from Sweden and started taking over the world. ABBA had a habit of coming out with songs that had the kind of melodies that people find very hard to get out of their head. They also used to wear some wacky clothes on stage, which also helped them to stick in peoples memories. The vocal exploits of Bjorn, Agnetha, Benny and Anni-Frid were soon taking the world by storm.
My first memories of ABBA were those of waking to hear my Mum downstairs with an LP on. At the time I didnt know that she was listening to ABBA, nor was I old enough to understand any of the words that they were singing, but the tunes stuck in my head from an early age and once I was old enough to understand I soon became one of ABBAs next generation fans.
Of course, if it was not for the Eurovision song contest ABBA may not have made it so big. They competed in the 1974 contest with their song Waterloo. Following Eurovision Waterloo made it big and remained at the top of the charts for six weeks!
I am sure there are not many people who have never heard of ABBA and can name at least 3 of ABBAs hit songs. Their biggest song was Dancing Queen which even made it to number one in the US charts.
The voices of the four members of the group mystically seem to entwine to create one of the worlds most unique singing styles which has thrilled those of yesteryear and I am sure will continue to thrill those for generations to come.
Interestingly ABBA have gone on to become the second biggest selling group in the world. Only beaten by the Beatles.
THE JEWEL CASE
The case that comes with ABBA Gold carries an air of authority in itself. The colour is gold all over and I think it was this that first caught my eye when I bought the album around three years ago. The front of the case carries the distinctive ABBA logo with a backwards B in giant letters which makes it unmissable in amongst the vast arrays of CDs that are available to buy these days.
The CD itself was released for the 30th anniversary of ABBA. Although I have most of the songs on the album on other CDs I thought it would be nice to add this one to my collection and so I popped it in my basket and trundled up to the counter.
The songs included on this album are some of the most famous songs ever released. I listen to the CD at least once a week and never fail to tire of ABBAs unique singing style.
I will give a brief overview of some of the songs on the album. I shant do this for all of them because there are 19 of them and I think it is worthwhile that you listen to them for yourself and make your own judgements of them.
01: Dancing Queen
As I mentioned earlier, Dancing Queen was ABBAs most successful hit and certainly deserves to be the first song on the album. The melody and rhythm of the song almost seems to mesmerise with a vast array of changes in tone and singing styles. I think because the tune itself is so catchy, it enhances the addictability of the lyrics themselves. It is not surprising that this was one of ABBAs greatest successes. Definitely not my favourite though.
Knowing Me, Knowing You
The initial twenty seconds of so of this song have you hooked before you go any further. From a magical start to a pulsing background rhythm, the tune itself will have you reeling for more. Again, as with many of ABBAs songs the lyrics are very poignant and actually tell a story. I particularly like the way the rhythm of the song alternates between two separate rhythms. One for the verse and one for the chorus. Definitely another of their best songs and one that is heard regularly but not as good as some.
03: Take a Chance on Me
The first fifteen seconds of this song begin without any instruments playing. Using only the power of voice this first fifteen seconds conjures up an immediate mental image of what is to come within the song. I am not a big fan of this song, although I agree that the rhythm is consistent with many of ABBAs other songs. The lyrics of this song also tell a story which captivates the listener into following the words. Personally for me, the drum rhythm is not something which I like and hence this is not a song that makes it into my top ten.
06: Super Trouper
One of the first songs I remember hearing as a child. Mum used to have to play it on long car journeys to keep me amused and as soon as I was old enough to sing along I would frequently get a telling off from my Dad because I was disturbing his concentration from dancing. I think for me, the thing that puts this song at about 3 in my top ten is the rhythm itself, combined with the fact that it was the first ABBA song I ever heard. The lyrics are those that stick in your head and you cannot fail to start singing along. Even if you dont know the words you find yourself subconsciously humming along to the tune.
08: The Winner Takes it All
Again, this is one of the first songs I heard, but I like this song because I am sad and like sad songs. The lyrics to this song are fairly melancholy and it is both the lyrics and the tune that captivates my heart. The tune in places is quite depressing but then rapidly builds to a crescendo of joy and it never fails to cheer me up. I have to say now that this song is my number one favourite ABBA song and should be promoted all over the world!
14: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
I had to include this one because if anybody remembers the comedy show Gimme Gimme Gimme, they will remember that this song formed the soundtrack. I never knew that ABBA sung this song until a few years ago to be honest, and I was surprised. To me, this song seems to be a little different from their normal singing style but in a good way. It creates a refreshing change.
How could I miss this one out? The Eurovision winner and their longest in the charts. Waterloo does nothing for me unfortunately. I dont like the lyrics or the singing style, although I do agree that the tune itself is very catchy and in the 70s I can imagine that it would have been to a lot more peoples taste.
That concludes the random track listing and I will finish by saying that I thoroughly recommend this album to anyone, whether they are an ABBA fan or not. I understand that their style of singing is probably not to everyones taste, particularly some younger people who were not around when they began (like myself). But to me, ABBA are one of the greats and will always share a special place in my heart.
A bit about Abba
ABBA was a Swedish pop music group active from 1969 until 1982. They are the most successful music group ever to come out of Scandinavia. The quartet topped worldwide charts from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s.The group have reportedly sold more than 370 million records. ABBA was widely noted for the colorful and trend-setting costumes its members wore.
The band consisted of 4 members who were:
Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad
there is a lot more information on the band, in the booklet that comes with the disc, should you decide to purchase.
This compilation of greatest hits was released in 1992.
The album consists of 19 songs:
1) Dancing Queen (3.51) - This is one of Abba's best hits that are sung on Karaoke all over the world. Its a great song that has a good tune to it, and is very well sung.
2) Knowing Me, Knowing You (4.03) - I would say that this was not one of their best songs yet it was still good, I just did not like the tune much, I thought the best part about this song was the chorus. It was still sang well, just not my type of song.
3) Take a Chance On me (4.06) - This song will always be a classic song. I love this song and the lyrics to it. I love the tune of it also.
4) Mamma Mia (3.33) - This is such a catchy tune, that I just love, this is one of my favorite songs on the disc, so well sung and a great tune.
5) Lay All Your Love On Me (4.35) - I was not too keen on this song at first, but it does grow on you, it is still not one of my favorites but is sang well, could just probably need a better tune to go with the song.
6) Super Trouper (4.13) - This is a good song, with a good beat to it and the singing is just great.
7) I have a dream (4.42) - This song was re-released by West life, and is a great song. This is one of the slower songs on this album, with not much of a beat to it. This song shows the true quality of their voices.
8) The Winner Takes It All (4.54) - This is yet again a classic song that shows the true talent of Abba, it has very little music in the background, and still sounds great.
9) Money, Money, Money (3.06) - This is a good song with a good beat to it, not one of my favorites but still good, and the lyrics are so truthful, "ITS A RICH MANS WORLD".
10) S.O.S (3.20) - This is yet another song that is great and shows their good voices, it has different beats to it, slow verses and then more upbeat on the choruses.
11) Chiquitita (5.24) - This song I did not like until I listened to it a few times, then I grew to like it, but the lyrics are pretty hard to understand.
12) Fernando (4.14) - This song I was not keen on until I watched Muriels Wedding, when I saw it on there I loved it. I think it seemed better through a Film.
13) Voulez Vous (5.10) - I have never liked this song, I am not sure why it is just a song I dislike the tune of it and words of it, and I just took a dislike to it.
14) Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (4.52) - This song I just love, its a great upbeat tone and I love the words to it, its a sort of song that just makes you want to join in and dance around the room loll.
15) Does Your Mother Know (3.13) - The men actually have a lead voice on this, and I love it. It is so nice to hear the guys taking a lead part and it shows that they can actually sing alone.
16) One of us (3.57) - This song I don't like, the tune is not up to much, until you get to the chorus, and the song just seems a bit dull, and boring.
17) The Name Of The Game (4.53) - I disliked this song also, it is the sort of song that would just send me to sleep, and I would expect a lot better off Abba.
18) Thank You For The Music (3.49) - I do like this song from start to finish, it has some good beats in it, and the singing is flawless.
19) Waterloo (2.48) - This is one of my all time favorites, this song has everything a great upbeat tune and great lyrics, this is the one song that will really get you dancing and singing loll.
The CD case is signed by all 4 members of Abba. And the inside booklet has several pictures on the band, and also included is parts of their past. No lyrics are in the book, but you would listen to this that much you would soon know them anyway.
My Personal Views
I do love this album and still listen to it now, there are a few songs in that I dislike but there is 19 songs on this, so you cant discredit a full album just because I dont like a few songs.
Abba really are a great group and I have liked them ever since I can remember, so when I saw this on sale I could not resist to buy it, and it was money well spend. Its a fabulous album.
Well what can be said about this album??? Really? ABBA?s greatest songs in one place. This Cd is recommended for any one who loves music! Old and young alike. Older people can reminisce old times and memories. Where as young people can get ready for a night out, as you may or may not know ABBA is virtually all that is played in the clubs on retro night! Whether you want to remember your early years or just in enjoy your nights out then this is the album for you!!
Last night, my eldest daughter swam in her first ever club competition (Silver in the Freestyle, Gold in the Breaststroke and she does the Back Crawl next week, completely irrelevant to the review but I?m a proud mum!) on leaving the leisure centre there was a huge party going on, with the main event being an Abba tribute group. So having ended the night with the lyrics to Dancing Queen rattling around in my head, I just had to dig out my Abba Gold album and it is just that ? pure Gold! What did strike me last night more than anything, was the average age of people going into the show? I grew up with Abba, being 4 when they won the Eurovision song contest and have owned and lost most of their albums at one time or another, but many of the people there last night could only have been babies, if that, when Abba finally broke up in 1982 but they were all off, to have what was guaranteed to be a good night (just a shame I had two obvious under 18s with us or we?d have gone too) so Abba have bridged the generation gap, not because the songs are so timeless, which they are, or so incredibly good, which again they are, but because they are so camp, cheesy and provide just good old fashioned fun. The album reflects this beautifully and it is a tribute to Abba that their style is so unique that many people have copied them in the form of Tribute bands aplenty, but there are very few obvious covers out there ? we will try and forget the Westlife one, (well we usually try and forget Westlife anyway) and Erasures version of ?Take a chance on me? worked but only because they did their own version. So this album contains 19 of the best, Abba originals that you could hope to find. The album was compiled in 1992, and marketed by Polydor, from a marketing point of view this album must have been a double edged coin on one side it was a really big seller because it was fantastic, but because it includes every Abba hit anyone wants to own plus a couple of others, th
e follow up ?More Abba Gold? had none of the really big hits left to go on it, with Angel eyes being the only hit that came close. If the question ?Name a hit by Abba? came up on Family Fortunes, you can guarantee that the top 2 answers would be Dancing Queen and Waterloo, with barely a vote between them. Every Abba tribute concert starts with one and ends with the other and you just can not help but sing along, The pianistic run down the keys intro into Dancing Queen is probably one of the most famous openings of any song ever, and is guaranteed to get anyone singing and dancing (incidentally if you want to do this on a piano use the back of your fingers or it doesn?t work) and it makes a brilliant opening to the 19 hits on the CD. Most of the songs ever recorded by Abba were written by the boys, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson with the occasional help of Stig Anderson and sung by the girls Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) and Agnetha Faltskog. So the line up on the CD is: 1. Dancing Queen ? As mentioned, always a classic there?s not a lot more to be said, a true classic. 2. Knowing me, Knowing you ? This is actually a really sad song about breaking up, but is written 3 years before the first Abba divorce of Bjorn and Agnetha 3. Take a chance ? Great stuff, with the unforgettable backing of Tic a chance, tic a chance, tic a tic a chance chance. 4. Mamma Mia ? Here I go again, my, my how can I resist you. Sorry you just can?t help but sing. 5. Lay all your love on me ? Not the best know song on the album, but well deserving of a place, a very good song about a jealous women ?don?t go sharing your emotion, lay all your love on me? Written in 1980, in between the divorces of the 2 couples as the press was so much less intrusive back then you can never be quite sure what external influences were working on the group when the songs were written. 6. Super Trouper ? For me this song always symbolises the end of Abba, it wa
s the title track of their last major album together, and was the last song released as a single to stand any chance of reaching number 1. (If I remember correctly had fierce competition from Adam and the Ants and at this point Abba ceased to be cool) It also could win a competition for the stupidest lyrics ever ? ?I was sick and tired of everything, when I called you last night from Glasgow? despite that you still can?t help but sing along. 7. I have a dream ? Never did like this one as much, it included a load of kids and has been covered by Westlife, what more can I say, oh yeah, it still makes you want to sing along. 8. The Winner takes it all ? Great song, another song with lyrics about a women having been jilted by a man, seems to be a common thread. 9. Money, Money, Money ? Another classic, always played to accompany TV themes about millionaires etc, the opening line ?I work all night, I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay, aint it sad?? so true. 10. S.O.S ? Probably my least favourite on the album and by far the least well known, but I still know all the words. 11. Chiquitita ? I remember this one coming out, beautiful song about pain and break up again. 12. Fernando ? My absolute favourite ?I can see it in your eyes how proud you were to fight for freedom in this land? such corny lyrics, true genius. One for the candles to come out at concerts. 13. Voulez Vous ? aha, aha, Great drum beat on this one, just gets the foot tapping, if you weren?t already up dancing. 14. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! A man after midnight ? nothing I can add to that really, except I?m happily married and get my man all the time! 15. Does your mother know ? one of the few songs where one of the boys gets the lead vocals, and stangely enough its not one of the most popular ones. 16. One of Us ? Another of the lesser known tracks on the album, the chorus is very singable and you probably would know it. 17. The name of the Game ?
Not one of their strongest hits, but it is an album of hits so its still not a weak link 18. Thank you for the Music ? This was my song to sing along to with the hairbrush when I was 7, Its one of my earliest memories of my Dad recording things off the radio (I don?t know why we used to do that, we only ever had Terry Wogan talking over the first and last bit, and often all the way through it) 19. Waterloo ? I was defeated you won the war. The definitive Abba, the song with which they won the Eurovision song contest and the song that I always want to sing whenever I hear the opening of one of the Bartok Hungarian dances, and have almost made a fool of myself several times by wanting to come in with ?My, my? at the top of my voice in the middle of a piano recital. Used in the film ?Muriels Wedding? and the one with the classic pulling the hair back shot in the video. The only downside to this album is the lack of lyrics in the booklet, not that I need them. But it does have a very good history section and some photos. If you do need the lyrics check out www.abbasite.com, its got the lot, often in multiple languages. So if you like Abba and don?t have any of their albums this is a must have for any collection, its great for having a few drinks with friends too and everyone know the words, and lets face it there aren?t many groups that can put 19 songs together, all of which are huge hits and people are still buying them 20 years on. My version is quite nice actually it?s got gold embossed signatures of the band on the cover as a limited edition 25 years after they won Eurovision thing, but the normal version is available on Amazon for £9.99. So go get it, now! Ok? Thank you for reading
ABBA to me were an excellent band of musicians and vocalists. Singers Frida and Agnetha Faltskog, Guitarist Bjorn Ulvaeus and pianist Benny Anderson. Everyone has probably heard of them- Swedish Pop band of the 70's, who gained fame for their presence in the Eurovision song contest with a danceable, orchestral sound and feelgood vibe which seemed tailor made for the Disco era. This is one anthology album I can honestly listen to all the way through in one go, which may sound nothing special, but there are plenty of times in listening to an anthology, where I've skipped one song, or paused halfway through to re-orientate myself to the music's loudness or for a dozen other reasons. Not here- the album flows from one track to the next brilliantly- it never changes tone too drastically, and yet it never becomes monotonous or boring. The music hooks me without being too loud, and each song's lyrics and melodies inspire so much happiness and positivity that I don't want the collection to ever reach the end. So what songs do we have here? Well appropriately we start with "Dancing Queen", since everybody must know this song, and its story of a girl at the tender age of seventeen and her journey from one nightclub to the next, looking for a perfect man. The beautiful piano chords and the humming of the singers, Frida and Agnetha is genuinely poignant. Ironically a lot of people find this song very hard to dance to. "Knowing Me, Knowing You" is a little less happy. The song's chorus has been used in commercials quite a bit and I tend to think people now are unaware what the song itself is about, which is a shame because Agnetha's singing explores the feelings and reminiscence of her failing relationship and the final challenging break-up decision with emotional restraint and a strong sense of linear passage of time, coming across therefore as more thoughtful than grim. "Take
A Chance" is an extremely danceable track that again is among ABBA's most well-known. I really enjoy the certain cheekyness of the persistence and self-confidence as Frida and Agnetha describe how they are determined to win a certain man's affections. The chorus's "Take a chance, take a chance, take a ch-ch-ch-chance chance" could be as annoying as "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", but is done with a subtlety and rhythm that works very well. The lyrics are very inspired and the rhyming is quite clever. Definitely a highlight. The three following songs "Mamma Mia", "Lay All your Love on Me", "Super Trouper", are simmilar infectiously danceable tracks with thoughtful lyrics about love and relationships. About the ups and downs of a relationship, about trying to control irrational jealousies and insecurities about love, about being away from her lover whilst performing and missing him. I'd say "Super Trouper" was probably my favourite, I love the danceable chorus and very personal lyrics. Then the pace slows down for the song "I Have A Dream". I've grown to hate this song. A fair ammount of boybands have covered this song, and it sounds so pretentious and sickeningly over-emotional.... not to mention that excessive radio play forced it down my throat, so I was about to skip this track. However, strangely enough when I heard this original version, I almost felt like I was hearing it for the first time. ABBA do this song superbly, the music is subtlely effective with mellow acoustic guitar strings, and the singing is wonderful, very disciplined but speaks volumes of faith and optimism and manages to compel the listener to anticipate each line and feel the journey the song's lyrics takes them on. The songs "The Winner Takes It All", "Money, Money, Money", and "S.O.S." gives pianist Benny Anderson a great oppurtu
nity to flex his fingers and deliver some quite spontaneous and/or emotive melodies with perfect results. Each of these songs are quite grim, discussing either lost love or the struggle to make ends meet with money and bills. In each case the singers brilliantly convey their feelings of pride falling apart and loneliness. Even when the concepts or rhymes seem quite corny on close-examination, Agnetha and Frida's sheer vocalism, confidence and ability to punctuate each word still carry the songs wonderfully and bring them as close to perfection as possible. (When I hear Money, Money, Money I can't help but think of a certain Harry Enfield character of the 80's) Even after the first ten songs, I have not come across a skippable track, and number 11- "Chiquitita" is my favourite song on the disc. A very inspiring song about a best friend's trust which exuberates with happiness, vocal confidence and clever rhyming. From start to finish the song is perfect. Starting with a fluidic variance from guitar strums to piano notes and then gradually becoming more rhythmic, and as I mentioned above Frida's lyrics are the kind I just fall in love with "Chiquitita tell me the truth, I'm a shoulder you can cry on/your best friend and the one you must rely on" and when the majestic chorus kicks in, it's an even more beautiful moment. And if the lyrics don't make you feel happy then surely the upbeat and spontaneous piano melodies must. I admit I wanted to hate "Fernando" because of its patriotism, but it's just an impossibility to. The romantically military march-esque flute notes and rivetingly vivid lyrics make this song another ABBA classic. The song teally takes you on the adventure the freedom fighters went on and captures the spirit of revolution and love of their cause. "Voulez Vous", "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", "Does y
our Mother Know" are all far more disco-orientated tracks, and are comparatively louder than the other songs on the disc, however, they still retain an ABBA-esque mellowness. Even though the vibe of each of these songs drifts towards Rock and Roll, ABBA never loose their lily white sense of standards. Although singers Bjorn and Agnetha describe how they find such Rock N' Roll values tempting, they describe how they choose not to indulge in one night stands or in knecking pretty young things not a day over seventeen. I personally find these songs the most danceable, particularly the fast guitar rifts of "Does Your Mother Know". Then the songs "One Of Us" and "The Name Of The Game" find the group at their more sophisticated and mature. In both these songs, an effective use of compellingly emotional and honest lyrics, mixed with a slow musical sound which brilliantly and fluidically shifts instrumentals from verse to verse. These songs are more obscure and less well-known to casual listeners, but to fans and in the know musical critics, they generally stand as ABBA's finest moments. If I were to sum up the penultimate song, "Thank You For The Music" in just one word, it would be heavenly. Rather like "Super Trouper" it is a song which talks about what it means to be a singer in a famous band. With lyrics which reminisce on Frida's childhood dreams and discovering her talents and the joy of having so many beloved fans who she has touched the heart of. Like everything else that ABBA did, it is such an uplifting song. The piano melodies and singing is just beautiful, and surely must at least invoke a listener's smile, if not a whole heartfelt sense of joy. Well "Thank You For the Music" would certainly have been a perfect closing song, but then no ABBA collection would be complete without their Eurovision moment "Waterloo". A rather corny but
quite energetic and charming song comparing Napoleon's surrender at the battle of Waterloo, to a surrender to someone's desire for your love. This is the most guitar driven song, alongside "Does Your Mother Know" and the guitarist Bjorn, does quite well and occasionally emphasises Agnetha and Frida's dual vocals and emotional tug-of-war lyrics with a guitar rift, and throughout maintains the song's dance appeal. Well there it is, a perfect collection of beautiful songs. In these days of heavily synthesised and melodically lacking music, not to mention where songs with consistently angsty lyrics and downbeat vibes dominate the airwaves, listening to something as musical and as positively optimistic and happy as ABBA's greatest hits is quite a breath of fresh air. And this is a collection everyone should have.
I wasn’t alive in the reign of Abba because I was born in the 80’s. From the sound of this album it looks like I missed out on a lot. This album was made in 1992 long after the band had broken up. It was the first album I ever bought and I still love it today. The album has 19 tracks on it. Some are wonderful and show the true Abba style while others are not so good. There is a sequel to the album as well ‘More Abba Gold’ so obviously this album was not packed full with every hit they had. There are 19 songs on the album itself ranging from ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Super Trouper’ to ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Thank you For The Music’. The inlay of the cover is very nice as well, full of colour pictures and a biography of the band. Sadly there are no lyrics. I like covers with lyrics so I know if I am singing along right. NOW TO THE MUSIC 1: Dancing Queen (3.49) Well from the title you can tell this is a great song to dance to. It is about a girl who goes out and parties. She leads men on and then goes off with someone else. Musically the song is very up-tempo, as it has to be danced to. The regular drum beats in the background make this song very easy to get into the rhythm of and the piano adds the sweet melody. 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You (4.01) This is about the end of a relationship. It looks at where they used to live and go and all the memories that come back to them. It is sung with a very sorrowful voice because the person has had their heart broken. The piano opens this song and then is joined in with other instruments. For a love song (however un love like it is) it has a very up-tempo beat making it danceable. The lyrics are echoed by the other singer, adding a haunting effect on the song. 3: Take a Chance On Me (4.01) I don’t like this song although it is very popular. It is about how a girl likes
a boy but she is second best to him. She tells him that when all the beautiful girls go and he is left on his own she will still be waiting for him. It has a very jolly and bouncy beat to the song. Its great for dancing to as well as singing along. But I would rather listen to some of the other finer songs on the album as the phrase goes, why have cotton when you can have silk. 4: Mamma Mia (3.32) This is about a relationship where the man keeps cheating on her. She loves him and tries to break up with him but cant bear to do it, she finds him too irresistible. The music starts with the sound of the piano then joined in with the guitar and then the drum. You instantly get caught up with the fast beat and start to dance. 5: Lay All Your Love On Me (4.32) It starts with the sound of what I think is a keyboard and a drum beat. Then the vocals start. It is all about how she has fallen for someone and is jealous of anyone who goes near him. She asks for their love and not to waste it on anyone. It again has a very happy, dancing beat. The sound of the drums (which I think is actually a drum machine) does not change at all through the whole song, keeping it an easy song to get caught into. 6: Super Trouper (4.10) I don’t like this song it bores me. It starts with the sound of the girls singing together. It is sung in a choir tone as if it is meant to sound all innocent. The song uses percussion along with the normal instruments. The gentle sounds of bells go well along with the drum and piano. The lyrics are about how they miss their loved ones and feel lonely on tour. They get a surprise because they are coming to see them and it’s about how it makes them all excited and happy. 7: I Have a Dream (4.43) This is about having something to look forward to so when things go wrong you have something to keep you going on. The lyrics to the song are lovely and go well with the
gentleness of this song. 8: The Winner Takes It All (4.54) This is one of my favourite songs on the album. It is about the end of a relationship. She did not see the end coming and now feels a fool. Her ex has a new lover and she feels as if he has won and has it all. Musically it is a very slow song. There is a soft drumbeat against the gentle piano notes. The voices of both girls are very soft and fit the atmosphere created. It is a quite a long song but it doesn’t drag. 9: Money, Money, Money (3.05) I used to love this song when I was growing up and can play it on the piano. It looks at why it not fair that some people have nothing and miss out on life. It talks of a plan to use someone for their money so they can have a nice life. It looks at money as a great thing to have compared to some songs that look at it as evil that only attracts trouble. It has a very jumpy beat in the background. A guitar, piano and drum are used as instruments. It’s a good song for dancing and singing to as it has a very jolly beat as if they are thinking of all the things they could get up to and all the places they could go to. 10: S.O.S (3.19) I really like this song. It starts with a gentle verse but a more upbeat chorus. The soft start of the song (created by the gentleness of the piano) really blends in well with the catchy fast chorus with drums and guitars. It is about how a relationship has finished but she thinks that they will get back together and save her from what she is going through. 11: Chiquitita (5.26) This is a love song. It starts with a string instrument being plucked. It could be a harp but it is only a guess. The gentle voice of the girls voice quietly creeps in and starts telling the tale of someone who is upset. She asks what is wrong and tells him to be honest with her. The chorus is a bit louder but still very gentle. The accompaniment of the piano and gu
itar make this song irresistible. 12: Fernando (4.13) This is about looking back over your life. They look at where they are and recollect their youth together. The piano again adds a gentle touch to this song as well as what I think is the sound of a flute (I could be wrong). The chorus is a bit louder making this song not have a boring touch. 13: Voulez Vous (4.22) Voulez Vous means would you. It is a very fast up-tempo song designed to be dance to. It is opened by the guitar, which is then blended in with the girl’s voices. It is a love song set at a club (I’m guessing). She asks him would you? As in would you sleep with me or would you like to do something, its not said so its left to what ever you want the question to be. 14: Gimme! Gimmie! Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight) (4.48) This is about those lonely nights when you feel all alone and would like some company. She wants a man to keep her company because she is scared of all the shadows and wants him to protect her. It starts with a guitar and some instruments (I don’t know what). It then breaks into a fast beat with the help of the drum. The girl’s voices add echoes on the song making it seem haunting like the dark night can be. 15: Does Your Mother Know (3.15) This is a very loud song. It has a drum machine in the back, the piano and a guitar. The boys sing the opening, which is a first on the album. They are singing to the girls that they like them but they seem very young for relationships. The girls only do the backing on this song allowing the men to show of their vocal talents as well. 16: One Of Us (3.58) They girl’s gentle hums open this song into a tragic love song. It is about how she broke up with her lover thinking she was attractive and everyone would be after her. She found she wasn’t so wanted in the single world and wants them back. The drum is on a solo for most
of the song but is accompanied in the chorus. It adds a very hollow sound to the song and shows how the girls feel hollow and empty without them. 17: The Name Of The Game (4.00) I don’t like this song it’s not as good as some of the other songs. It opens with the drum and the guitar. The girls sing very quietly and add a gentle touch to the song till the loudness of the chorus enters. The slow beats are hard to dance to and it struggles to reach a good tempo for dancing. It’s shame to ruin such a good album. 18: Thank You For The Music (3.51) Well the title gives it all away. They want to thank people who write and make music because it has affected them and brings joy to their life. The piano is the main instrument in this song. It adds to the quiet gentleness of this song. It has an old sound this song like out of the 50’s and 60’s. 19: Waterloo (2.42) This is a strange title for a song. It is about a relationship that is like a war (thus compared to the battle of Waterloo.) It talks about how she has surrendered and it seems like history is repeating itself. It is a very short song compared to other tracks on the album. It has a very catchy dance beat and a jolly rhythm.
Abba Gold with all of the songs you know . Perhaps a couple you don't but all in all a great album for playing with all the family .. i even got my dad singing along. It saves the arguments when gran wants to play... some rubbish and mum wants Rod stewart and dad wants 10CC or whatever !!! They are great . My fave song has got to be "Waterloo" and the ever present at Holiday Camps .. "Dancing Queen" this album is the one for a newly discovered ABBA fan . If you only realised their cheesy Poptasticness just recently !! As i did just a few years ago. And i haven't looked back . They are always there when i feel a bit down. They really brighten my day ¬!!!!!!!!
Abba have released many albums and singles over the years, proving their ability to remain popular and successful, even though they split up almost twenty years ago. Agnetha, Annifrid, Bjorn and Benny are synonymous with Sweden, with songs sung in slightly imperfect English, with tifht catsuits and big boots, with snowy videos and dramatic divorces. They are synonymous with great pop music too - the sort you want to get up and dance to, the type your Gran and your daughter can sing along to - back in the days when life was easy and music was happy - well, in the main. This is probably the best album to get if you are a fan of their singles, as it contains nineteen great tracks, all of which are deeply embedded in the culture of our childhood. This album transcends the generations, as a whole new age of children is rediscovering the Abba style, after the Abba-Mania album and concert, when pop acts like S Club 7, Westlife and Steps covered well-known Abba songs. Not surprisingly, you will find Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, Super Trouper and Thankyou For The Music on this album. You may even find one or two you haven't heard before (One Of Us, for example), but whatever you find, I'm sure it will be an album you will play again and again. The Abba Gold video is worth buying too, not least for the reason that you can relive all those dreadful fashions again !
Everyone knows that bands only release three or four of the best songs from their albums. Well, Abba Gold encompasses the best songs from all of Abba's studio albums (which, for the record, are also well worth buying). As such, it is in my opinion the ultimate pop compilation; there is continuity between the songs unlike the "Now That's What I call Music" series. Also there are no duff tracks at the end of the CD, as often happens with compilations where the buyer is attracted by the first four or five tracks. This is a CD of which the listener will never tire. All the tracks are catchy with excellent tunes and interesting harmonies. Here are individual reviews of my very favourite Abba tracks : 1) Dancing Queen. This is the song that everybody knows, a disco classic. The singer's range is very large, and this track shows off the vocal skills of Frida and Agnetha. The introduction with its sweeping vocals is a perfect beginning to this excellently crafted tune. Unlike many modern songs, the lyrics of Dancing Queen tell a story and make sense. Bono (U2) recently hailed Dancing Queen as one of the best pop songs ever written. High praise for a top tune! 2) Knowing Me, Knowing You. Best known nowadays for the Steve Coogan series "Knowing Me, Knowing You". The instrumental in this track is different to the chorus and as such complements it very well. A sad song about the inevitable break-up of a relationship, both the lyrics and the chorus are punchy and meaningful. 3) Take A Chance On Me. This was covered by Erasure recently. Take A Chance On Me is musically inventive with its spoken backing. Benny and Bjorn handle this excellently; the words are always clear and rhythmic. Agnetha's vocals are magnificent, effortlessly soaring up to the top notes. 4) Mamma Mia. The chorus and verse of this song are exactly opposite to each other. The chorus is staccato, quiet, barely acco
mpanied and intense while the verse is flowing and accompanied with piano and other instruments. The bridge is perhaps the best bit of the song : "Just one look and I can hear a bell ringing" : big beats on "just one" as an accompaniment to lead into the quiet chorus. This song also has a great electric guitar solo! 5) Lay All Your Love On Me. Abba truly broke into the disco mould with this song. I really like the introduction which is composed of fast keyboard scales, and the chorus which is simple but effective. 6) Super Trouper. The lyrics of this song are often hard to make out, which is unusual for Abba as their diction is generally excellent. "I was sick and tired of everything, when I called you last night from glasgow". This seems like an autobiographical song, about the loneliness of touring, and it is known that Agnetha especially disliked being away from her young family for long periods of time. This gives the song a more poignant tone to the modern listener. 7) I Have A Dream. All profits from this song went to Unicef, a noble gesture from Abba. The original is so much better than the recent Westlife cover! My favourite moment is when Frida (thanks Krystal!) holds "I bel-ieve" for an extra long time, pausing the music and building up tension in the music. 8. The Winner Takes It All. Another sad song about the break-up of a relationship. The piano introduction is very well written and then the voices come in with characteristic "ahs". The verse is very sad and touching with the slight accompaniment which crescendoes as the song moves on. The opening of the song really shows off the vocalist's talents, and the song becomes a lot more punchy when the percussion accompaniment kicks in. I particularly like the lyrics of this one, "I was in your arms, thinking I belonged there, building me a fence, no self-confidence". 9. Money, Money,
Money. One of the most famous tracks. This one is a track for the fun of making a track! It isn't as heartfelt as "The Name of the Game" or "The Winner Takes It All", but it is catchy and enjoyable, a great dance track. Everyone knows the introduction (which requires considerable skill to play on the piano). 10. SOS. This song is a mid-tempo number, with a fantastic chorus. The move into the chorus with its rippling scales, is a fab move into the louder, more punchy chorus. 11. Chiquitita. No, this isn't about a chicken tikka! It starts with a complex guitar solo and throughout is accompanied by tinkling piano. It sounds like the chorus has a flamenco rhythm, and I particularly like the voacl harmonies here. Benny originally called the song "Rosalita" but decided that it need a title with a little more kick! 12. Fernando. This was originally a track for Frida's solo career but was adapted for Abba the group. It is about a Mexican freedom fighter and has a very atmospheric introduction. It is accompanied by militaristic drums to go with the line "Do you hear the drums Fernando". There are also traditional wind instruments backing, to add to the military atmosphere. While this is a slow song it has a very strong rhythm and is one of the all-time Abba classics. 13. Voulez-Vous. A rock track to follow the quieter middle section of the album. It's about the dating scene. The "ah-has" and the electric guitar accompaniment keep the pace of the track up while the vocal line is well-timed and tuneful. 14. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Another punchy rock track about the singles scene. The chorus has an obvious dance routine (grabbing the air) while the familiar scales are used to great effect in the accompaniment. The percussion is used to keep the pace of the song up. 15. Does Your Mother Know. This is the best track on the CD! The
electric guitar introduction is guaranteed to get everyone on the dance floor. This is the only track on the CD sung by the men. It has a great beat, is really lively and upbeat and is generally a fab track! The girls' backing vocals are a great accompaniment - it's a real finger-clicker. 16. One Of Us. Yet another sad song about a relationship that is over as the CD moves into a quiet patch. As can be expected with Abba tracks, this is a slower song with a strong percussion accompaniment and a sweeping chorus. This song seems to express real regret and is sung expertly by the girls. 17. The Name of the Game. This song has an R'n'B feel, ahead of its time in the 70s. The backing instruments are well-chosen and create a great atmosphere. 18. Thank You For The Music. One of the songs that everyone knows. The chorus is a simple tribute to the joys of music by one of the best groups of all time. 19. Waterloo. This is the track that thrust Abba onto the international scene in the Eurovision song contest in Brighton 1974. It's a real toe-tapper, which sounds simple but is actually musically complex. While this doesn't have the subtlety of some of the later songs (ie the descending scale before the chorus begins isn't exactly advanced) in my opinion it's one of the best tracks on the album, partly because of the excellent sax playing!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Dancing Queen
2 Knowing Me, Knowing You
3 Take A Chance On Me
4 Mamma Mia
5 Lay All Your Love On Me
6 Super Trouper
7 I Have A Dream
8 The Winner Takes It All
9 Money, Money, Money
14 Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
15 Does Your Mother Know
16 One Of Us
17 The Name Of The Game
18 Thank You For The Music
19 Waterloo (English Version)