Is there anything which screams the 1970s most indelible pop cultural clichés-more than the Swedish pop phenomena Abba and their Definitive Collection
? While many a pundit snootily dismissed them during their prime as some sort of prefabricated aberration, their worldwide popularity peaked somewhere just south of Beatlemania. Indeed, Abba's music was as finely tooled and crafted as anything to come from a Volvo or Ikea factory --if occasionally more economically potent. This double-disc, 37-track anthology comes neatly on the heels of Mama Mia
, the smash, if unlikely, stage show based on the band's hits, and documents every single released by the band's Polar label in their home country was as well as key tracks released as singles elsewhere internationally.
When you hear the term "Europop," this is the canon from whence the term sprang. With a continental sense of vocal neo-classicism, informed by just the right ethnic clichés (and oft wed to the era's insistent 4/4 disco beat) to make songs like "Mama Mia", "Fernando", "Chiquitita" and "Voulez-Vous" work on a global scale, the writing team of Bjorn Ulvaeus/Benny Anderson and their respective partners in music and life, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyngstad, developed the seamless, wall-of-sound productions contained herein. Definitive Collection features a rare single remix of "Ring, Ring" and a 1979 promo-only extended mix of "Voulez-Vous" as bonus tracks, as well as a concise, illustrated history of the band and each track. --Jerry McCulley
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