I know what you’re thinking; does ABBA really belong in a Rock music magazine? Well, a large number of us here at Fireworks HQ are of the same opinion; that ABBA are the greatest Pop band of all time, and if artists like Dave Grohl and Corey Taylor can proclaim their love for the band, then so can we. There is more than enough quality throughout their back catalogue to warrant inclusion, so to coincide with the release of ‘Voyage’, their first new music in forty years, Ant Heeks took an in-depth look back at their albums.
Of course, you can see why many people dismissed ABBA as lightweight Pop fluff if all they’re familiar with is the likes of ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘Mamma Mia’, even years before their songs became the inspiration for the cheesy musical. Those in the know however realise that it’s when you dig deeper into the inventive arrangements and poignant lyrics to explore the sheer range of artistry through the lesser known album tracks; then it becomes clear just what genius songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson are. But of course, those songs wouldn’t be quite as spectacular without those wonderful vocals. When embellished with the sublime voices of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – both supreme vocalists in their own right – they come together with the most perfect harmonies you will ever hear, making it very special indeed. It’s easy to see why ABBA became Sweden’s biggest export with hundreds of millions of albums sold worldwide.
You don’t need me to tell you their detailed story. Formed in 1972, winning the Eurovision contest eventually brought them worldwide fame and adulation, though the increase in popularity brought pressure on the members’ personal lives which resulted in the collapse of both marriages within the group and ultimately led to the demise of the band in 1982. One of those rare acts whose musical output improved throughout their career, their later material reflected on the turmoil within the band’s relationships, cleverly disguising their deeper lyrics about what was happening with their personal lives as engaging, perfect Pop songs. Though ABBA has become much more appreciated over the years, even now I still think they don’t quite get the credit they truly deserve.
The Ultimate Abba Mix Tape
Forget about the hit singles – everybody knows them and there are enough compilation albums available that cover those perfectly well. Here we will explore the ultimate ABBA album tracks that are every bit as wonderful – and sometimes even better – than their chart-bothering counterparts:
‘The Visitors (Crackin’ Up)’ (The Visitors) ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’ (Arrival) ‘The King Has Lost His Crown’ (Voulez-Vous) ‘On And On And On’ (Super Trouper) ‘When All Is Said And Done’ (The Visitors) ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ (ABBA) ‘If It Wasn’t For The Nights’ (Voulez-Vouz) ‘Our Last Summer’ (Super Trouper) ‘Should I Laugh Or Cry’ (The Visitors – Deluxe Version) ‘Why Did It Have To Be Me?’ (Arrival) ‘Hole In Your Soul’ (The Album)
‘Tiger’ (Arrival) ‘Kisses Of Fire’ (Voulez-Vouz) ‘
One Man, One Woman’ (The Album)
‘So Long’ (ABBA)
This article appeared in Fireworks Rock & Metal Magazine Issue #97