ABBA is ABBA is ABBA is ABBA
After the success of Waterloo, ABBA actually struggled for a few months, as everyone had deemed them to be the usual one-hit wonder Eurovision winner. As he confessed in later interviews, Bjorn was afraid ‘that was it, we were done’. So Long was the first single they released from their third album, ABBA. It went on to become the group’s worst charting single ever – in the UK for example, it only reached #91.
However, things soon started to pick up speed. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, although only peaking at #38 in the UK charts, became a sizeable hit everywhere else. It topped the charts in a number of territories including, for the first time, Australia. The song even reached #15 in the USA, making it the only song that performed better in the USA than the UK. The release of SOS and Mamma Mia marked the beginning of ABBA’s global chart dominance, which would last until the end of their career.
If you have read my previous review, you know Waterloo is not quite my favorite ABBA album. While their self-titled one is much better, it still didn’t have a big impact on me.
Usually albums that don’t share their title with one of their tracks don’t work for me. Of course, there are exceptions – this, obviously, being one of them. Yet it always takes me a few seconds to think of which songs are on this album and I don’t like that.(Edit: Yeah, that doesn’t really make any sense. I was just trying to find something somewhat negative to say about this album. Sue me.) But name and its effects on me aside, this is a very good album, with a nice balance of cheerful and more slow paced songs.
Unlike Waterloo, I like all songs on this album (Man in the Middle may be the only one that’s not quite on the same level as the others, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless). Sure enough, Mamma Mia and SOS steal the spotlight, but even on a first listening you can find many more that are just as good. Bang-A-Boomerang, for example, has a great beat and is somewhat reminiscent of the Waterloo track.
One of my favorite songs from this album is I’ve Been Waiting For You, because the harmony of Frida and Agnetha’s voices really shines through. It’s full of sentiment as well, in the chorus – especially the lyrics: ‘I love you, I adore you/ I lay my life before you‘. Of course, Intermezzo no. 1 also stands out as being the first of only two instrumental pieces released during ABBA’s years together.
With songs in which the music blends beautifully with the powerful vocals of the girls, this album is definitely deserving of more than one listening. You will find more of the greatness present in some songs of the Waterloo album, you will be entertained, you will love it. ABBA is a must for…anyone, really.