Customer Reviews


151 Reviews
5 star:
 (114)
4 star:
 (18)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


124 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop Noir
It's said this album was something of a departure for the group. That this was not the ABBA people had come to know and love. No "Waterloo". Not a trace of a "Dancing Queen". It should be pointed out however that this album is not exactly "ABBA does Death Metal".

The opener and title track is perhaps the closest they came to emulating the New Wave/Synth Pop...
Published on 9 Jun. 2004 by GoldfishNation

versus
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs revisiting !
Unfortunately, I have to agree with the reviews here that criticise the sound of this cd. Sometimes you read negative comments about an item but think it's just someone being overly-fussy. Well, the one thing that can be said about this cd is, someone hasn't been overly-fussy about the sound mix on The Visitors DELUXE!! edition. It's a disgrace. I can't believe Bjorn or...
Published 21 months ago by M. Wade


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

124 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop Noir, 9 Jun. 2004
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
It's said this album was something of a departure for the group. That this was not the ABBA people had come to know and love. No "Waterloo". Not a trace of a "Dancing Queen". It should be pointed out however that this album is not exactly "ABBA does Death Metal".

The opener and title track is perhaps the closest they came to emulating the New Wave/Synth Pop explosion of the time. Parts of it are reminiscent of "Summer Night City" (minus the disco) and "Eagle" (without the majesty) while managing to create an interesting and unsettling sonic landscape all of its own which suggests an encounter of the third kind may very well be waiting behind the locked door, and they must surely score points for creating a pop song about Russian dissidents.

Next up is "Head Over Heals" which treats us to its fairground synths, jaunty chorus and tale of 'girl-about-town gets herself in trouble'. This one is a bit like Agnetha's very own "Money Money Money" and lyric-wise it's tempting to imagine Björn, a la Fleetwood Mac, cheekily having his ex sing a song about herself that isn't altogether flattering. Or not.

"When All is Said and Done" is a standout in the style of "The Winner Takes it All", although it is surprisingly upbeat for a break-up song (and sort of Christmassy) with a positively defiant lead vocal from Frida. A song of shaking hands and walking away, head held high. Bittersweet rather than just plain bitter. It would have made a good, upbeat album closer, and had serendipity played its part properly, the perfect send off for the group: "Thanks for all your generous love and thanks for all the fun ..."

"Soldiers" is perhaps the forgotten gem on this album. Starting sparsely with a vaguely military drum and some admirably restrained guitar, it then segues effortlessly from a moody, understated first verse and Agnetha's plaintive lead vocal into the most sublime, unashamedly anthemic chorus, where Frida and Björn join her in some quite beautiful harmonies. As for the enigmatic lyrics: "Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing, the songs that you and I don't sing ..." What's that all about then? The need to have the courage of your convictions be it in love or war? To judge not lest you too be judged? Answers on a postcard please.

Frida takes centre-stage once more for "I Let the Music Speak" aka "The One that Sounds like it Belongs on the Soundtrack of Les Miserables" (around the point where some peasant woman stands up in her rags and sings heartrendingly about not having enough parsnips to make soup for her son who's just returned from the war). The lyrics though tell a different story. One of nighttime hauntings and astral projection (ABBA staples then). Dark, fanciful and slightly macabre on the verses, the choruses return us to more familiar ABBA territory with Frida displaying her quite formidable vocal prowess throughout.

After that we get "One of Us" and what can I say? It's just gorgeous. Greek tragedy laced with Swedish cool. A happy little drumbeat bouncing playfully along behind Agnetha's wrist-slashing and soaring vocals. A kitchen sink tearjerker in the great tradition of "Knowing Me, Knowing You" (a-ha!) and "The Winner Takes it All" and quite rightly an all-time classic.

With "Two For the Price of One" the question is always going to be Is it as bad as everyone says? The short answer is yes. The long answer, however, is also yes. By and large it bears the rare distinction of being an unintentionally funny intentionally funny song. Wait until you hear the "quite exciting" husky voice that answers the mock-telephone (unless there's another layer to this fable which I'm completely missing). The one semi-redeeming feature is the chorus, where everyone joins in with some low-key harmonies and thankfully you can no longer tell what they're singing about, but just when all the verses are out of the way and you're sure it's safe to tap your foot till the finish, in blunders the Salvation Army and marches the song off to a merciful end.

Luckily, Agnetha is on hand to lead us back to sanity and wave her first born off to school in the shape of "Slipping Through my Fingers". Saved from mawkishness and total schmaltz by one of those sublime, harmony-heavy choruses and Agnetha's crystal clear voice and heartfelt delivery.

"Like an Angel Passing Through My Room" closes the album proper. It has to be said that, on this album at least, most of the vocal kudos must go to Frida, and she plays a blinder in this last one. Stripped as it is of all sonic clutter as well as harmonies, when the song begins you'll think - quite astonishingly - that she's singing from the corner of your room. A clock ticks away on the mantelpiece. A music box plays quietly in the background and Frida sings of lying down one last time and welcoming the Angel of Death. Amen.

Of the bonus tracks (all top-notch, especially Under Attack which features a good old-fashioned harmonic tussle between A & F in the chorus) The Day Before You Came is the standout - swirling, rain-drenched synths, a sense of impending doom while tantalisingly we never find out who or what 'you' is. It could be love. It could be Nuclear annihilation. Could be the gas bill. Pop Noir par excellence.

All of the trademarks which made the group so popular are still in place throughout - strong vocals, clever song-structures, barmy lyrics and a healthy smattering of Scandinavian navel-gazing and marital strife. All of it delivered with an icily immaculate production sheen - elements of which dovetail neatly with the current synth revival, while the rest, due to the solid songwriting, sounds simply timeless. In short, anyone with even the most limited musical palate will find something to enjoy in this album.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious darkness, 19 Nov. 2012
By 
T. Kavanagh "tony" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
The early `80s saw the collapse of ABBA's cheery stock. The bouncy tongue-in-cheek pop of two married couples increasingly gave way to the depth, introspection and eloquence of four world-weary divorcés. While 1980's 'Super Trouper' straddled the old and the new with great success, 1981's swansong album, 'The Visitors', gave up the pretence and embraced darkness.

The heartbreak pop of the lead single, 'One Of Us', lulled the public into a false sense of security. Laden with shimmering harmonies and Agnetha's trademark plaintiveness, it sounded like business as usual. The album followed a week later and its elegantly gloomy cover hinted at the mood shift that coloured the music within. Thematically, this was all very unABBA: cold war commentary; empathy for Russian dissidents; surreal paeans to the power of music; small-ads for kinky threesomes; parental angst; and post-divorce wound-licking were a far cry from the feel-good oomph of 'Dancing Queen.'

Bjorn contended that these deeper lyrics needed a single voice and so it was that Frida and Agnetha took alternate lead-vocals across the album (with one token Bjorn vocal thrown in). The high-octane unison singing of old was confined to choruses only. This approach intensified the paranoiac feel of the pulsating title track, where Frida artfully channels the panic of a dissident waiting for the police to kick down the door. Likewise, it showcased her fiery resilience on 'When All Is Said And Done', a curiously uplifting song about her divorce from Benny. Her remarkable pipes cut a theatrical swathe through `I Let The Music Speak,' and she is gorgeously restrained for the bitter loneliness of 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room.' Frida is in spectacular form right across this album, where her natural edginess seems right at home.

Agnetha's ability to 'cry' with her lovely voice was put to great use on 'One Of Us' and you can tell that she lived the story of 'Slipping Through My Fingers'. She also contributes the album's lightest moment with the excellent vocal for 'Head Over Heels' and balances the wintry stride of 'Soldiers' with a little sweetness.

A fantastic B-side and a set of songs recorded for a never-completed 1982 album comprise the bonus tracks here. The most beautiful of these, 'The Day Before You Came', has aged like the best of wines. A fantastic bonus is 'From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel', a patchwork medley of the many working versions of 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room' created especially for this release.

The accompanying DVD is fine but no match for the parent album. ABBA did virtually no promotion for the album, so the contemporary TV appearances or clips that grace other deluxe editions are thinner on the ground here. Live performances of 'Two for The Price Of One' and 'Slipping Through My Fingers' are the only representatives of the main album. All other performances relate to the bonus material. A fluffy BBC interview from 1982 is more interesting for what is NOT said: the tension between Frida and Benny is palpable and there is very little interaction between the four members.

For me, `The Visitors' is far and away ABBA's most satisfying album. This version makes it even more compelling. It is a true classic and highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Energy driven pop classic, 16 Oct. 2001
By 
A. Barrett "Adey" (Bedford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: VISTORS (Audio CD)
The last studio album released by ABBA showcases their talent for writing, producing and performing like no previous ABBA album. Their maturity is obvious and the stresses of two marriages and divorces can be heard in many of the lyrics. "The Visitors" is a dark, moody and frankly quite frightening track inspired by the cold war and like no other ABBA track heard before or since. Frida's deep voice and training shine through and will bring a chill to all those who listen and understand "I have been waiting for these Visitors - help me...". In stark contrast "Head of Heals" is a light, amusing track about a girl who won't sit still (outdated but funny video produced for this track). "When All is Said and Done" sees Frida on lead vocals again with a very mature song about two people growing older, obviously written and sung from the heart. "Soldiers" once again sees lyrics about heroism and war. This track must have seemed very modern at the time of release with an almost Phil Collins-esq drumbeat style at the beginning. "I Let the Music Speak" sees Frida leading once again and has a very "musical" almost classical sound - obviously the way Bjorn and Benny saw their music going and written at the start of the writing of "Chess". "One of Us" was the last top-ten hit for ABBA reaching number 3 in the UK in 1981 - fantastic vocals from Agnetha once again. "Two for the Price of One" sees Bjorn on lead vocals, a light break from the second part of the album and with a funny twist at the end. "Slipping Through my Fingers" was written by Bjorn and sung by Agnetha about their daughter growing older and is Agnetha at her very best. "Like an Angel Passing Through my Room" was recorded by Benny and Frida and is one of the most intimate ABBA songs ever released, with virtually no backing track this is another Frida lead vocal classic. In an interview Frida said it was emotionally very difficult singing this song and was a very special moment between her and Benny at the recording. With the addition of "The Day Before you Came" and "Under Attack" as the last two ABBA single releases this album is almost complete - "Should I Laugh or Cry" completes this rerelease (originally the B-side to "One of Us"). Once again Frida leads (with almost no participation from Agnetha apart from a few overdubs). This track would sound modern if it was released today and has one of the best bass lines produced by Bjorn and Benny - Frida sounds almost unbelievable and her voice training received in the latter years of ABBA is put to the most amazing use - buy this album if only to listen to this track!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Visitors, 1 Oct. 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
Abba's final studio album tends to divide opinion, but for me it was a fine way for them to finish thier active recording career together.
'One Of Us' was Abba's last major international hit and is probably the best known track here. The follow up song in the UK was 'Head Over Heels' which shocked everyone by peaking outside the UK top 20.
Was it all over for Abba?. Well, in terms of major hit singles it certainly was (in the US 'When All Is Said And Done' flopped also), but this album gave us a few treats and an indication of where Benny and Bjorns musical interests were going (ie musical theatre).
The title track is a mighty song that I always thought could have been a massive hit in it's own right. 'Soldiers' is a lovely Agnetha song, and 'I Let The Music Speak' sung by Frida screams 'Musical!'.
'Two For The Price Of One' is a slightly naff song but 'Slipping Through My Fingers' inspired by the rapidly growing up daughter of Bjorn and Agnetha, and 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room' more than make up for this.
A couple more single relases aside (and a rather successful Greatest Hits album, a stage musical and an iternationally successful hit movie) is was the end of the road for Abba and I for one am glad that they finished where they did .At the top.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most meaningful Abba album, 31 Oct. 2006
By 
Nedward "Ned3" (Scotland UK Europe) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
Every Abba album has its share of bubble-gum and more meaningful music. In The visitors the balance changes from mainly light (but quality) pop to darker and more thoughtful lyrical songs. Many of the lyrics must be autobiographical, though in a metaphorical rather than literal sense.

The highlight of this album for me is 'When all is said and done' (issued as a single in some territories) which is a song that refers to the break up of relationships, moving forward, making the best of adversity etc. The other highlight is 'Like an angel passing through my room'. This song is poetry put to music. It can mean so many things according to your experience and mood. Frida's voice is superb - beautifully mature and just so for this track. 'Should I laugh or cry' did not appear on the original version of this album - indeed it was only ever a single b-side and had not been thought to be worthy of inclusion on an album. The lyrics are, though, very powerful. If this is the standard that was deemed less worthy, imagine the quality of the 'good'. However, 'Two for the price of one' is one of the few Abba songs that I hate. It is truly awful, meaningless, lyrically inane and lacking the Abba sound. It's hard to imagine why it was included on the original when others were missed off - Cassandra in particular (another of the bonus tracks) would have suited the mood of this album. To summarise, this is Abba at its maturest, and most meaningful. If you know Abba from Dancing Queen and Chiquitita, give this album a try. I feel sure that you will love half of it from first hearing, and most of it after a few playings (but do pay attention to the lyrics). If you haven't yet heard this album you have a treat in store for you and I envy your chance to discover this for the first time!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The forgotten side of ABBA..., 10 Sept. 2006
By 
Mr. Mj Grant (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
When ABBA where brought back into the public mind in the revival of the early nineties, people began asscoaiting them with such hits as Dancing Queen, Knowing me Knowing you and Mamma Mia. The public seemed to forget those albums released in the early eighties, when people think of ABBA now, they think of Dancing Queen or SOS, not Slipping Through my Fingers or The Day Before You Came. Which is a real shame.

The Visitors is as others have stated, is ABBA's coming of age album. This is where they grew up and were making songs that had genuine meaning as well as the beautiful melodies and harmonies of the earlier albums. They found a balance here, but a very dark balance. I must warn you, reader do not buy this album if you want happiness and fun, with the exception of Head over Heels (which even manages to sound slightly sombre!) there is none of that here. It is fullof dark tunes of parinoa and heartfelt regret.

Standout songs include Slipping Through My Fingers (a song about Agnetha watching her child Linda grow up and grow older and regretting all the things she never had time to do), Cassandra (a song about the heroine of an Ancient Greek myths, Cassandra) and The Day Before You Came (A Woman recounting her dull drab life before it was changed forever.) However all of the songs here are wonderful (with the possible exception of Two For the Price of One!)

To sum it up, this album is essential for any fan of ABBA or just people who can appreciate music of outstanding quality.

-Rachael-
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, Beautiful album. My favourite ABBA album!!!, 22 Sept. 2007
By 
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
It's shocking that some people say that 'The Visitors' is a bad ABBA album, it is not BAD. It Is infact their best. It is simply magicial and beautifully organised. No silly tracks like 'king kong song' or 'Dum Dum Diddle', this is serious stuff! ABBA really knew what they were doing and it was a fantastic way to end their fantastic career. 'The Visitors' is a amazingly fantastic album. A true winner!!!!! my favourite track is the heart-breaking 'One Of Us', which was a massive hit in the British charts. An extremely touching lyric. It's B-side, 'Should I Laugh Or Cry' is a bonus track on this allbum. It's a dark song, but an excellent one. 'When All Is Said And done' is also a true masterpiece. 'I let The Music Speak' is SOOOOOOOOO beautiful. A touching ballad. I also love 'Head Over Heels', 'Soliders', 'Slipping Throush My Fingers', 'Cassandra',' Under Attack', 'Two For The Price Of One', 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room', 'The day before You Came' and 'The Visitors', which are all on this beauty of an ABBA album. The Order that the tracks are arranged in are simply lovely, and even the darker songs on 'The Visitors' are superbly magicial. It's a shame that all the other ABBA albums weren't as dark and mysterious and fantastic as 'The Visitors.' This isn't just the best ABBA album, but it's a true legend of my life. All the songs bring back childhood memories to me, and my copy of 'The Visitors' CD I will cherish forever. WHAT A MASTERPIECE!!!!!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs revisiting !, 22 Jun. 2013
By 
M. Wade "Rock n Roll Preacher" (Wirral, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
Unfortunately, I have to agree with the reviews here that criticise the sound of this cd. Sometimes you read negative comments about an item but think it's just someone being overly-fussy. Well, the one thing that can be said about this cd is, someone hasn't been overly-fussy about the sound mix on The Visitors DELUXE!! edition. It's a disgrace. I can't believe Bjorn or Benny have heard this mix and given it their blessing. The Visitors is an exceptional album by ABBA. It contains some of their best work (if not their best). Songs and melodies to pull at the heartstrings; melancholy, uplifting and beautiful are all contained here (not sure about Two For The Price Of One though). Still, my favourite ABBA album and one of my all time favourite albums has been declined the treatment it deserves. Instead of a room full of soaring vocals, sweet melodies and wonderful instrumentation, I have something which sounds like it's been recorded on a mixing desk made of cotton wool, filtered through a mohair jumper and mixed in treacle. It's a disgraceful situation that should not have happened. Please Bjorn & Benny, get your hands on the original tapes and do a more deserving job of what is your best ever album. Please Let The Music Speak... & Breathe! Here's hoping...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Brooding Masterpiece, 31 July 2006
By 
kcb (Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Visitors (Audio CD)
This album is as dark as anything by Leonard Cohen. There is nothing to prepare you for what you are about to hear. Sure, there was a hint of this on 'Super Trouper' ('Happy New Year', 'Our Last Summer'), but the melodrama has been dropped for something far more introspective and mature. These songs are autobiographical and you suddenly realise that with the exception of 'The Winner Takes It All', they had not expressed themselves in this way before.

The opening song, 'The Visitors' is so powerful, from the menacing intro into the forbidding claustrophobic vocals from Frida to the slabs of dominating synths at the end of the chorus. It is a sinister foretelling which perfectly conjures fearful pictures of the Soviet Union in '81. It took a while for me to realise that this is the only ABBA song ever written which does not rhyme at all. The ominous lyrics depicting thwarted hope ("These walls have witnessed all the anguish of humiliation and seen the hope of freedom glow in shining faces. And now they've come to take me. Come to break me. And yet it isn't unexpected"). This is not a song you'd care to listen to in the dark.

'When All Is Said And Done', as has been described, is a song about Frida and Benny's divorce but it also demonstrates a still vulnerable Frida lifting her head and moving on...yet despite the forcefulness of the delivery, you can sense it masquerades real doubt. One of the most fascinating songs is also one of the most overlooked: 'Head Over Heels'. Not faring too well as a single, it is apparent this is supposed to be a bouncy, happy Abba song, but it fails in its remit. Agnetha gives it her best shot but doesn't quite pull it off. Their hearts are just not in it. Instead what you hear is melancholy all the way through. Like somebody who is grieving trying to laugh. Somehow, this makes it a far more interesting proposition.

'I Let The Music Speak' is otherworldly ("I'm hearing images, I'm seeing songs no poet has ever painted"). It's true that it feels as though it belongs in 'Les Miserables' but it is such a beautiful song that showcases Frida's voice perfectly. The original closer, 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room', is sublime: a ticking clock and Frida lamenting her lost loves. This is inspired. The original recording ended with that ticking clock and then silence...you are left transfixed. Would they be back? That this was the last song of the last studio album is fitting: the perfect, yet unpredictable, finale.

Of the additional tracks, 'The Day Before You Came' and 'Should I Laugh Or Cry' are the best. TDBYC is probably their finest recording. Agnetha is actually role-playing in this song: she is the bored, lonely woman.....and deliberately sings like one. There is absolutely no hint of what comes after this typically dull day and, as such, she knows only by habit the sequence of the day's events. Frida's aria in between the verses is both haunting and heart-breaking.

'Should I Laugh Or Cry' features a restrained vocal performance by Frida with an interesting lyric where she is exasperated by everything that her partner says and does, her patience paper-thin (a far cry from 'Honey, Honey'!). This is not to overlook the beautiful 'Cassandra', yet another stand-out performance by Frida.

There is a subtle warning, i guess, of the music contained inside by the beautifully contemplative album cover. Each of them pre-occupied with their own thoughts. The first time the four of them are not together and not looking at you. They started off as 'Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid' before fusing their names into ABBA. With this album, these four personalities burst out of the straitjacket of that acronym. With hindsight, it is evident listening to this, that they would not be back.

A perfect swansong.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite albums, EVER!!!, 26 Dec. 2008
By 
Mr. N. A. Scott (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When people think of ABBA they automatically think of the big hits; Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Mamma Mia etc. But if you look beyond these, you'll find that they were so much more than a hit factory.

They had incredible song writing talent, and this was consistant throughout, right up to this album. This is one of my favourite albums ever, it's just so east to listen to. There are no big numbers which over shadow the rest of the album, which, believe it or not, is a good thing. The tracks somehow manage to segue into one another while mainting their own identity. Standout tracks include; The Visitors, Head Over Heels, and One Of Us.

Of course, many will put this album down thinking it isn't their finest work, due to no stand out smash hits. But, please, buy this album. It is, in my opinion, ABBA's finest and best album, and one of the best albums of the decade.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Visitors
The Visitors by ABBA (Audio CD - 2002)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews