There Was an Arrival In My Pants
Overall Album Score: 8.8 out of 10
(You see, the boys cloned themselves a whole bunch.)
After two smelly-riffic albums, and one excellent album, the band's fourth album is an unbridled, poppy, catchy, and otherwise feel-good album that illustrates the true peak of ABBA. All in all, this is the ultimate Euro-pop album! This band doesn't get a whole lot better than this (except, The Album is a tiny bit better). And as far as finding a better Euro-pop band than ABBA ... I don't think one exists. At least those ABBA-wannabe bands of the '80s and '90s (like Madonna or Aqua) never even got close to achieving the sheer enjoyability, catchiness, or even the genius (!) of ABBA. Sorry! I think that on this album, the ABBA girls (who sing the songs) are a whole lot sexier than Madonna ever was.
See... the raunchiness of that first track "When I Kissed the Teacher" is more effective than any of that nonsense Madonna tried out. ABBA never even had to get naked!! The other songs (most notably "Dancing Queen") are all top-notch pop that do a great job illustrating dreams or relationship-angst. In that respect, this is the first time that ABBA has truly dazzled me with their lyrics. Sure, there are some dumb numbers on here (notably "Tiger" and even "Dancing Queen"), but everything is catchy, memorable, and embraces everything that we're supposed to like about pop music without it getting corny. And best of all, the material on here (honestly) hasn't aged much at all! It's all still quite listenable to this day (that is, unless you're restraining yourself from liking this band for some reason or another). So... ENJOY!
This is also my favorite ABBA album. Sure, I might have awarded their following album a 9.2, but it lacks the mega-hits that make this particular album such an enjoyable listen. (I mean "Dancing Queen" ... "Money Money Money" ... "Knowing Me Knowing You" ... Tell me something honestly: can life get better than this?)
Overall album score: 8.8 out of 10 (Ah! I knew I would go to heaven when I died! ... Except I haven't died yet. Oh well. Music heaven is ABBA's way.)
Average song score: 8.9 (This is certainly a nice high score! Remember that this is ABBA in their prime, so expect some really fine pop tunes! The first two songs are so good and catchy that they warrant that coveted 10plus! Dragging this score down is the entirely uninspired "Why Did it Have to Be Me?" and that blah closing instrumental.)
Album tilt: 9 (Geez! I am sooooo tempted to give this score a nine-point-five, but considering the album has one too many uninspired songs... well. But this is a primo pop album that I recommend!)
Artist tilt: 8.5 (While it's not exactly an artistic statement, the ABBA boys do find the time to put some real emotion into some of these songs. And well, the girls are among the more convincing female singers in rock after all! Helluva lot better than Madonna. Don't listen to your friends or your instincts. ABBA is a super band!)
When I Kissed the Teacher 10plus/10
I'm sure I'm being met with a few upturned eyebrows by a few knowing people when I award this track the all-coveted 10plus score, but this track REALLY deserves it! It's extremely catchy and addictive. I put this album on JUST to listen to this track sometimes. Even though it's pretty raunchy. (I already explained this track a little bit above.) And then the end chorus of "I wanna huh huh yeah" really sounds, you know, like, um ... yeah. Something to do with fresh fruits and stuffed pants. It's not very famous for an ABBA song either, surprisingly enough.
Dancing Queen 10plus/10
There is really no reason not to give this track a 10plus too (I promise! This is the last one!). Again, this is an addictive song with multiple great, great hooks, but it has this extremely addictive aura about it! That music in the background is almost tear-inducing, in fact. Truly, this was a masterpiece arrangement for the boys. I'm sure you've heard it before. If you're cringing right now by merely thinking about this song, I would like to urge you to re-listen to this track! Really! These guys can really pen a great song and these gals can really sing it. (What's more, this ISN'T a disco song, though it was quite popular on the disco floor back in those days.)
My Love, My Life 8/10
The big unfortunate thing about this album is that after those two first great tracks, the rest of the album seems, well, pale. Still! The tune is nice and catchy! This is more of a slow, sweeping, love song. It's still very good ... just not great.
Dum Dum Diddle 8/10
It's a perfectly catchy, memorable, upbeat pop song. It's not an ABBA classic by any means, but it's a good second-rate piece of material (and if ABBA's second-rate material deserves an 8 ... well ...)
Knowing Me, Knowing You 9.5/10
And we're back to familiar territory ... a truly solid pop song (and a rather famous one, too). It's something that you'll sing along with in spite of yourself with the lyrics about a couple finally breaking up. (Hey! These guys' marriages were on the verge of breaking at this time, too!)
Money, Money, Money 10/10
Yet another simply solid piece of pop, this song is a perfectly catchy song. This one is even perfectly spiteful proving, once and for all, that ABBA has finally turned into a band that can inject true feeling into their songs. Don't succumb to the ABBA stereotype! ABBA is not a schmaltzy band (or at least they're not a schmaltzy band at this point in their discography). Make no mistake about it!
That's Me 8.5/10
Oh... we're back to second-rate ABBA, but still! This is one helluva catchy song. It's quite sweeping, which is a nicely positive quality about it. The tune is lesser, but this is NOT filler.
Why Did it Have to Be Me? 6.5/10
DANG IT! While the melody is still good, there are two principle problems with the song. 1) It's not captivating at all. 2) The guys sing about half of it. I like the chorus, but this is entirely an unriveting song. The closest thing to "schmaltz" the album gets. See the bonus tracks. ABBA reinvents this melody into something a little more worthwhile in "Happy Hawaii" with a few more musical ideas.
Yes. This is a dumb song. The lyrics are profoundly dumb! But this is still a super Synth number! This is one of the less famous but ultra-catchy number with a sophisticated melody line that ya oughta like. If you don't like it, then booey to yooey! I like the drum arrangement here, particularly.
Even though I want to trash this track because ABBA ended this album with a sort of strange mix between bagpipe music and Synth pop. It's an instrumental (save some very faint 'aaahs' by the gals) that doesn't particularly make the end of this album memorable.
(These bonus tracks do not count toward the album total.)
There's Fernando which is a surefire classic. But I've heard it on the radio at my old workplace SO OFTEN, yet I never heard DANCING QUEEN or WHEN I KISSED MY TEACHER'S BUTT once! I was going to write to that satellite radio station and complain until my face turned red, but I decided to take the easy route and quit the job. But, putting my bias aside, Fernando is a good enough and catchy enough track that would warrant a 9.5/10. The following track has almost the exact same tune as "Why Did It Have to Be Me" and it's actually a significant improvement! For one, the gals sing it, and the chorus is even catchier. Some Hawaiian-style music transposed into the melody is actually kind of clever. I'd give it an 8/10.
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