While The Album is not even close to ABBA's best, it is their most theatrical. A perfectly odd ending to a perfectly odd album. It’s basically a “story” song in that it progresses the story. Their list of top 10 hits was already endless and the band had undertaken several world conquering tours. It’s not like the band could really repeat the success by topping themselves. The album remains obtensibly pop while delving into arty formulas the band hadn’t really tried. So, the record starts with the nearly incandescently bright “Super Trouper.” Perhaps this is appropriate enough: a “super trouper” is a stage light noted for its brightness. Why are the lyrics so depressing? After releasing “Voulez Vous” one can tell the band may have had a slight re-think of their position in the rock and roll world. Bjorn and Benny would, of course, move on to musicals with their epic (and slightly failed) “Chess” musical with Tim Rice. I would make my mother play it for me all the time (in between listening to the Smurfs and Mini-pops). In spite of its success, I get the feeling the band noticed it was weaker musically than their past albums. The booklet for this album contains a 3 page essay by John Tobler. However, the arrangement details make it sound as serious as an opera aria. The last three tracks were all from a mini-musical called "The Girl With The Golden Hair". 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. Each of these songs has the typical instantly memorable melodies that the band is well known for writing while also being much more keyboard heavy and a bit “stiffer” in rhythm when compared to past songs. Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2001. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. And the band can, of course, hardly resist adding another “rock and roll” song to their catalog: “Hole in Your Soul” is perhaps the weak point of the album as it does flirt with silliness. 1) Eagle; 2) Take A Chance On Me; 3) One Man, One Woman; 4) The Name Of The Game; 5) Move On; 6) Hole In Your Soul; 7) Thank You For The Music; 8) I Wonder (Departure); 9) I’m A Marionette. The band is still writing catchy pop. It’s not like the band could really repeat the success by topping themselves. Sure, the dance beat that kicks in during the introduction is pure ABBA but what of that opening bass riff? Immersion In 24 Hours Of Throbbing Gristle: A Post-Industrial “Soul Train”, H. Jon Benjamin’s “Well I Should Have” Review, Kool Keith’s Sex Style – Get Ready to Take a Shower, Inexplicable Albums: The Grateful Dead’s “Infrared Roses”. Try to explain how the band moves from the clavinet dominated first section to the “doo dooo doo doo” acapella section and watch your head explode: you aren’t genius enough to do it on your own. Of course, the biggest sign that the band has gotten “serious” is the “mini-musical” (that’s how it’s labeled) that makes up the last three tracks on the album. Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2000. I enjoyed others albums more. Bjorn actually stays on a pretty strong level of lyric writing throughout, especially on the following “On and On and On.” The song is semi-disco in that it’s a dancey song with a lot of synthesizers. 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. In fact, the last half of the album seriously slows down when compared to the first half, as it also features the folksy “The Piper” which is folksy in melody but not in arrangement: as usual for the album, the band layers on a lot of keyboards and synthesizers. This album is not that good, songs are nice but pretty forgettable, but I still enjoyed it. ABBA isn’t known for their atmospheric abilities but this track shows when the band wanted to, they could create a near perfect atmosphere within a pop song format. They push their fusion of classical, folk, rock, pop and funk style as far as humanely possible by fusing it with another genre they’d only lightly flirted with in the past: progressive art rock. It’s such a beautiful, fully realized album that the band’s later immersion into a more synthesized and even disco based sound could only be a let down. However, Benny remains a criminally underrated player and arranger who also possess impeccable taste in synthesizer tones: they never sound generic or boring but alive and unique. Abuse of this feature may prevent future contributions from your account. 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. Considering that professional critics have never given ABBA their due, it never ceases to amaze me how ABBA's fans take such a serious approach to their music. ABBA started to show both lyrical and musical maturity with this release. I think the song is well written enough melodically, harmonically and lyrically that it does avoid pure pompousness. The album remains obtensibly pop while delving into arty formulas the band hadn’t really tried. It’s perfectly catchy and beautifully written yet strange and off beat. You can still see all customer reviews for the product. However, it’s beautiful contrasted by the darker “Our Last Summer.” The album is also very schizophrenic with the tempos and approaches here. “I’m a marionette, I’m a marionette, just a silly old clown.”. The musical begins with “Thank You For the Music” one of ABBA’s most loved and well known songs. They approach B+ level which is incredible given that this is the same man that wrote the D- level lyrics of “King Kong Song. However, the band didn’t reconcile their personally differences and they grew more depressed. There is a lot of vocal synchronization on The Album, which gives it the feel of a well-budgeted production of a musical. It also showcases the band's ability to subtly shift styles. 1) Eagle; 2) Take A Chance On Me; 3) One Man, One Woman; 4) The Name Of The Game; 5) Move On; 6) Hole In Your Soul; 7) Thank You For The Music; 8) I Wonder (Departure); 9) I’m A Marionette. ), and "Move On" all demonstrated a more personal side to ABBA's lyrics. Some people think it comes across as incredibly pompous and overbearing while others shed a tear at it’s heart felt nature. ABBA's ability to evoke landscape is here rendered monumental, located where it should be and where it matters – on the dancefloor. Try to explain how the band moves from the clavinet dominated first section to the “doo dooo doo doo” acapella section and watch your head explode: you aren’t genius enough to do it on your own. Luckily, the band slows down a few times on the album. For me it's uninspired album in Abba's catalogue. After all, who has time to write, arrange and produce continually top of the line records in between television performances, concert tours and movie making? The piano and guitar melodies of the verse slightly ramble but not awfully. Unfortunately, except for "Thank You for The Music," (which is a bit conceited in a Barry Manilow "I Write the Songs that Make the Whole World Sing" kind of way) the rest of the album just doesn't hold up as well. 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. Another great example of this is the song “The Name of the Game.” The song moves through three or four seemingly unrelated sections at will and completely seamlessly. It’s understandable: the band is so good at upbeat that it’s hard not to fall under their upbeat songs’ spells. Not really my cup of tea but I won’t cut the band points for my own taste: it’s obviously written fully in line with the Broadway tradition and still features solid melodies and good arrangements. That perhaps they hadn’t quite perfected their new style. That’s the magic of ABBA: at their best they were basically cheese epitomized without tasting of cheese. Then the beat kicks in with layers of keyboard hooks (the hook after “it’s maaaagiiiic” perfectly creates a ‘magical’ mood) and a commanding vocal performance that bulldozes over the listener. Oddly, the band closes the album with a semi-pompous song in “The Way Old Friends Do.” Allegedly recorded live with just Benny on accordion, the band then over dubbed a dozen more instruments (mostly synthesizers) to create a rich, full and anthemic sound. Unfortunately, on these remastered re-issues we don't get any bonus tracks or alternate takes, which would have been nice, and which a lot of remastered albums have. By 1977, ABBA was perhaps the biggest band in the world. I feel ABBA's history can be summed up in two parts: from the beginning until 1978, and from 1978 until their end. “I Wonder (Departuer)” is a pure Broadway aria, filled with pianos and dramatic vocal melodies. Perhaps it’s because they’re so perfectly contrasted with the equally stern but incredibly majestic vocal harmonies and melodies of the chorus. But the melodies are truly heart felt and the vocals are full of such warmth and humility that it somehow avoids cheese and emerges as a real and emotional tribute to music. The hits Take A Chance On Me and The Name of the Game are here, both less pop and more rock than before. ( Log Out / A perfectly odd ending to a perfectly odd album. “Move On” is another slow song but the its genre is hard to touch: what’s up with those stern sounding Bjorn monologues? The complex introduction is almost worth the price of the song. Discover releases, reviews, credits, songs, and more about ABBA - The Album at Discogs. What are all those dramatic, heart wrenching stops in the song coming from? Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Of the three, "Thank You For The Music" is the standout track. However, the song has a true drive to it and great melodies. Overall, this a good album for the committed but first time Abba listeners should start with "Abba Gold" instead. 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.
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