I Just Got an Album Called "The Album." What'll They Think of Next? Edible Tampons?
Overall Album Score: 9.2 out of 10
Oh yes. That's what this is.
While this album is almost undeniably great, I still don't like it as much as their previous effort Arrival. The reason, simply, is because there's nothing on here that I'd prefer to listen to more than "When I Kissed the Teacher" (a track, which I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who idolizes) and most importantly "Dancing Queen." So, essentially, there are fewer songs that I would favor on a mix tape.
Although, this album is great. It scored the highest of all ABBA's albums. I was very surprised that ABBA took a more theatric turn at this point of their careers. I mean ... after making that major dance hit, "Dancing Queen," you'd almost think they would have carbon-copy cloned themselves or doing something worse like succumbing to disco. (They did succumbed to disco, eventually, but this album doesn't have a lick of it!)
They also improved a bit on their lyrics. While I don't spend too much of my time analyzing lyrics (by anybody), nothing jumps out at me as particularly cheesy (or at least something intentionally cheesy anyway) ... and I've even come to respect many of these songs based on their lyrics. "Eagle" is a pleasant example of that. "Name of the Game" and "Take a Chance On Me" are nicely worded love ditties as well.
So, roll up yer sleeves and ENJOY!
Overall Score: 9.2 out of 10 (Classic Euro-pop! Needless to say, every other album in his horrid genre can't even HOPE to compare to this.)
Average Song Score: 9.2 (Not surprisingly a very high score here. Did I ever mention that ABBA was one of the best songsmiths of all time?)
Album Tilt: 9.5 (I enjoy listening to the album very much! Every song on here is lined with diamonds!)
Artist Tilt: 9.0 (You know ... few people even in the "art rock" genre are better at arranging and mixing in the studio than the ABBA guys, and this album is clearly their best work in that respect. NOBODY in the "art rock" genre can write catchier songs. There is not one song here that is too simple, too sweet, or bad. There are a few mediocre tracks, but all is forgiven.)
See?? I like this track. In fact I loooooooooooooooooooove it! This track is about an eagle. That flies. High. It's a synth-classic that does a nice job of conveying flight and stuff ... and the ABBA girls actually sound like they're FLYING! (Though I admit that I can't picture Eagles with such luverly voices.) The tune is good, catchy (not very infectious) ... and the background music! Oooo! How complex! They did some nice work programming them synthesizers. Oh yeah. So ... act like the eagle and TAKE OFFFFFFFFF ... to "Take a Chance on Me."
Take a Chance On Me 10/10
For some stupid reason, when I think about the a-cappella opening of this track, I can just picture these guys rehearsing it, and me with my cynical mindset thinking: "Freaking Swedish show-offs." Oh well ... after that a-cappella opening, there is basically nothing to inhibit my complete enjoyment of this track. I must still insist that it's not very INFECTIOUS, but it has a GREAT melody, GREAT instrument playing, GREAT harmonies ... and, well, it's just GREAT. My fav of the album.
One Man, One Woman 8/10
While it is my "thing" basically to hate anything that even remotely resembles country-western, I still think this is an entirely 8-worthy track. Though it fails to impress me like those last two tracks, this is a very solid slow song that features nice vocal work from the ladies. The melody ... eh not too memorable. It sounds great when I'm listening to it, but I probably will never be able to sing along with it in the car due to sheer indifference.
Name of the Game 10/10
A full 10 here, baby! While I don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy listening to "Take a Chance On Me" 'cause it's not so slickly produced, the melody here is VERY catchy (indeed, the catchiest of the album) and I would actually qualify as ABBA-infectious. My second favorite in the album. Would I sing along with it in a car stereo? Ya betcha.
Move On 8/10
Every time this track starts up, I think it's going to be as boring as hell. As long as I remember not to skip the sucker in search for the ABBA "biggies," I usually find myself enjoying it. It appears as if the ABBA-boys wanted to spice things up with a slower, Latin-styled song. That, and part of the instrumentals sound like they were outtakes from "Fernando."
Hole in Your Soul 8/10
If it wasn't for that freaking awesome opening sequence and it's sort of funny undertone, I would trash this song like yesterday's tampons. ABBA is one of those bands who has a REALLY hard time becoming a more traditional rock band and for the most part fails! I think one of their earlier attempts, "Hey, Hey Helen," remains their best 'traditional' rock song. Actually ... as I listen to 'Helen' right now, that song kicked major butt over "Hole in Your Soul." But 'Hole' is definitely better performed and sound-engineered and stuff. As if I really care 'bout that.
Thank You For the Music 10/10
Boy! They really begin to pack in that theatrical-reminiscent stuff right here. I mean ... this song sounds almost DESTINED for Broadway. (And ... whattayaknow ... it DID end up on Broadway after all!) I realized that I gave every track in this album so far an 8 or a 10. I thought about giving this track a 9.5 or something to break the pattern, but I couldn't legitimately do that. I enjoy this bloody song so. I do. It's nice, sweeping, and the melody is wonderful. It sounds almost like something you'd want to sing around a campfire. (Yeah ... imagine people singing ABBA songs around a campfire!)
I Wonder (Departure) 9/10
I called this album kinda theatrical didn't I? Well ... the last three tracks are theatrical, and that's my last impression of the thing, after all! This song is PARTICULARLY theatrical. The image of people singing ABBA songs around a campfire disappears once I get to this keeper-of-a-song and I picture watching somebody singing a very pleasant song on the stage. Did I mention that I was once a musical-junkie? Oh yeah. The buzz is returning. Why don't Benny and Bjorn write a musical? (Oh huh ... I almost forgot ... they wrote three. I've only listened to two, but I can't imagine that Swedish-language musical could possibly be any better than Chess!)
I'm a Marionette 9.5/10
Rock opera! He he! Wow! This song sounds almost like it came right out of Chess. As far as being an effective ABBA pop song, it's not. But I enjoy the sucka! Geez ----- I can't get over this rock-musical Broadway connection with this song. Were Benny and Bjorn always interested in the musical theater? Even the theme of this song sounds like something that would come from a musical. Hoohooohooo!
I don't have this version. Grr... (Cheap, cheap me!) I do know that there is only one bonus track on the 2001 reissue, which features an earlier version of "Thank You for the Music." I'm not too eager to listen to it because, to use the old cliché, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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