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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only ever buy one Abba album, this is it.
Believe it or not, there are some of us who have never bought an Abba album. Well, not until this week, anyway. I was certainly around during the 70s, but fell into the category of being far too serious about Deep Purple etc to be seen dead with an Abba LP. I was certainly aware of Abba -- it was one of the many contradictions in the teenage bloke psyche that we...
Published on 1 Nov 2001 by Gavin Wilson

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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ABBA: the originals.
This double CD set contains most of everybody's ABBA favourites, and some which may not be as familiar to non-addicts. I have also purchased the Mamma Mia DVD and watched the film on an HD television (admittedly with a high quality home cinema system). Some may find the technical quality of these later productions superior to the original recordings. On the other hand...
Published on 11 Aug 2009 by JPB


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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only ever buy one Abba album, this is it., 1 Nov 2001
By 
Gavin Wilson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
Believe it or not, there are some of us who have never bought an Abba album. Well, not until this week, anyway. I was certainly around during the 70s, but fell into the category of being far too serious about Deep Purple etc to be seen dead with an Abba LP. I was certainly aware of Abba -- it was one of the many contradictions in the teenage bloke psyche that we watched 'Top of the Pops' whenever we could. And anyway, my Dad fancied the blonde one -- Agnetha, not Benny. So buying this marvellous compilation is part nostalgia, and part demonstration for my own children.
This 2CD set takes us chronologically through Abba's history. There are four tracks which precede the historic 'Waterloo' Eurovision winner. You can sense that the group are still feeling their way towards a defining formula even after that 1974 victory. To my ear, it's only when they created 'SOS' (track #9 here) that they found the correct gear, and from then on they never looked back. Abba stood for very high production values, attractive videos, middle-of-the-road pop and wholly inoffensive lyrics. (As revealed in the sleevenotes, Bjorn was always more concerned with the sound of a word than its meaning.) From that point, the lead vocals on all the singles would always be performed by the girls. Abba absorbed disco, but never pretended to be creating black music.
My favourite Abba song is one of the last, 'One of Us', which has many flaws but a gorgeously plaintive chorus. Agnetha really meant those words as she sang them on the video. It was 1981, the band was nearing the end, and even I fancied her now.
To people who haven't already purchased an Abba CD, I cannot recommend this highly enough. The remastered sound is excellent, bringing out the acoustic guitar particularly well. And the accompanying booklet is informative and contains some pretty photos, without ever saying which is of Bjorn and which is of Benny. Newcomers like me can get confused, but I guess it doesn't ultimately matter.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the real "Abba Gold"!, 9 Sep 2003
This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
Although there are rich pickings on the massive selling "Abba Gold" there are greater treasures here - basically all the singles they ever released anywhere in the world! What better option for the individual keen to purchase the very best of Abba?
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still a good excuse to have this..., 7 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
some fans might think this is overkill - another compilation? we already have "gold", "more gold", "thank you for the music" and "the singles collection" what do we need another one for?
"the definitive collection" puts abba's singles in an international perspective - some tracks released exclusively to one or two territories(ie: honey honey - which was released in the u.s. after waterloo and peaked at 30 and was released as a single as well in germany). the cd also contains liner notes by carl magnus palm - the single most authoritative "abba historian" todate.
to sweeten the pot: 2 bonus tracks: the us remix of "ring ring" appearing originally in the us version of waterloo and the extended dance version of voulez-vous. while there's no certainty that this would be the last compilation released of the group's hits, it's still worthwhile having - until another one comes along...who knows there might be one featuring "just like that" a few years from now?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal, 15 Aug 2008
By 
T. Kavanagh "tony" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
For all its world-conquering success, ABBA Gold didn't really "rehabilitate" ABBA. The casual track sequencing and the choice of only the biggest hits means that a lot of good stuff was missed. The kitsch that dogged the early part of ABBA's career seems to be reinforced.

With The Definitive Collection, however, you get (a) all of the tracks that appear on Gold, (b) plus the additional gems that couldn't be included on Gold, and (c) very elegant packaging.

Another great plus with this set is that the tracks are sequenced chronologically. This makes it easier to see how the group progressed from their somewhat "innocent" early days to their remarkably affecting early 80s output. The big hits are well known and have been discussed ad infinitum. But the second disc (1979 to 1982) is loaded with beauties that don't get the attention they deserve: for instance, skip straight to The Visitors, When All Is Said And Done and The Day Before You Came to see how brilliantly this band evolved as songwriters, as producers and as singers. With these diamonds added to the peachy pop hits that you know and love, The Definitive Collection is a far better bet - and ultimately more satisfying - than the instant sugar rush that is ABBA Gold. Get the Sound & Vision set with the matching DVD for the ultimate experience.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST COMPILATION...SO FAR, 31 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
Without a doubt,this has to be the best ABBA compilation in the UK so far.Never before has the entire catalogue of British single releasesbeen available in one collection.The 1974 remix of RING RING is included for the first time,having never been available on any of their British album releases.This version was the only one to chart over here,as a follow up to WATERLOO. The extended remix of VOULEZ-VOUS is a dream for any die-hard ABBA fan,also never released in the UK. The edited version of EAGLE differs from the version on MORE ABBA GOLD, and this would make a great belated single release, 23 years after originally intended. Glad to see the full version of THE NAME OF THE GAME re-appear,but still no extended version of ON AND ON AND ON,as yet only available on THE VIDEO HITS. All in all this album chronicles ten years of unforgettable songs which are as popular today as they ever were.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive, two-disk over-view of ABBA, 1972-1982., 30 July 2005
This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
It's a shame that Abba are sometimes dismissed as mere purveyors of camp, cabaret pop, with most fans unable to get past the dodgy fashions and elaborate stage-routines that have since become an anachronism in these days of homogenised, corporate rock for children. If I were Benny or Bjorn, I'd be rather insulted by the continual focus on the glitz and glamour, with most music critics refusing to acknowledge the gorgeous melodies, impeccable instrumental work and lyrical themes that cut deeper than the bouncy choruses and stilted delivery would suggest, which really defined the Abba sound.
This collection brings together all of Abba's most-recognisable hit-singles released over the course of their ten-year career, moving largely in chronological order, from the na´ve Europop of songs like People Need Love, Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough) and their breakthrough Eurovision piece, Waterloo, through to more recognisable hits like Fernando, Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, Knowing Me Knowing You and Voulez-Vous, right the way through to the more sombre stuff, like The Winner Takes It All, Lay All Your Love On Me and The Day Before You Came. Each of the songs demonstrate Benny and Bjorn's musical progression from entertaining but not all that jaw-dropping pop in the early 70's pub-rock tradition, through to something much more vital and progressive, with more emphasis on layered instrumentation, melodious arrangements and creative production.
What's always more impressive, in my opinion at least, are the lyrics, with the two young songwriters seeming more than able to write from the male and female perspectives, creating mini-narratives that deal in real-life issues like love and loss (and often deeper social concerns as well), all shot through with a sense of cabaret abstraction and cinematic bombast. The use of music is always complementary to the subject of the lyrics, for example the bobbing hooks and rhythmic key-changes in Dancing Queen, the use of the militia drum and more antique instrumentation in Fernando, the continual shifting between major chords and minor chords to convey the emotional uncertainty of a bitter song like Knowing Me, Knowing You, and so on.
Not that you have to read so much into the songs to really enjoy them, though... it just goes to show that there was much more to Abba's magic than silly costumes and an inability to see the funny side of their on-stage personas. As storytellers, Benny and Bjorn are amongst the most important to ever put their words to music... creating narratives and musical characters that are as vital and as memorable as anything by Dylan or the Beatles. And their words and musical notations are brought wonderfully to life by the inter-weaving vocals of Anni-Frid and Agnetha, and the varied, hook-heavy instrumentation of Benny, Bjorn and their numerous collaborators. The production and engineering of their records began to become much more varied and sonically-defined around the time of their "Abba" album, particularly on songs like Mamma Mia and then becoming even more impressive, both musically and lyrically, on their next album, Arrival (which many consider to be their best), with firm-favourites like Dancing Queen and abovementioned Knowing Me further illustrating the progression they'd made over the first few years of their career.
The disco period that followed towards the end of the 70's wasn't my favourite period of the band's history (I suppose you had to be there), but it did give us a collection of memorable tracks, the best amongst them including the epic, and not at all disco sounding Eagle, the pure chic-disco-madness of Voulez-Vous and the admittedly camp, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (as with Knowing Me, Knowing You... this would become better-known as the title and theme to a BBC2 comedy series).
My favourite period of Abba takes up most of disc-2, the period in which the relationships between the band members had turned sour, and Benny and Bjorn decided to show this by writing some gorgeous pop songs about heart-break, loneliness and despair. The Winner Takes It All is a gorgeous song about divorce, with a fantastic operatic vocal performance from Agnetha and some lovely use of the piano. This was the era of another of their classic album, Super Trouper, with the title-track here illustrating everything that was great about the band (lovely melody, great performance, intelligent arrangements filled with a barrage of hooks, and those beautifully melancholic lyrics). This leads us into the synth-era of Abba, with a song like On and On and On owing more to the British electro-pop scene of the early 80's, whilst classic track Lay All Your Love On Me features a gloomy orchestral arrangement performed entirely on synthesisers.
This takes us into the era surrounding their final album, the often-discredited Visitors, which had a much darker sound to undercut the perfect pop melodies and the surprisingly minimal arrangements. One of Us is still one of the finest songs Abba ever produced, and is perfectly complimented by the similarly great When All Is Said and Done (another contender for my favourite Abba song of all time). The title track from that album points more towards the social, rather than the personal, with Benny and Bjorn dealing with themes of war and political upheaval during the time of the conflict in the Soviet Union, and also has similar ties with the very last Abba single, Under Attack.
The collection draws to a close with the Abba anthem, Thank You For the Music (which I'm not that fond of personally) and two bonus cuts of Ring Ring and Voulez-Vous. All in all, this is a great (and definitive) collection of Abba's brief ten-years of world domination, and some of the finest examples of pure-pop music you're ever likely to find.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abba- THE Definitive Collection!, 8 May 2004
By 
Mr. T. Speller "tomtedspeller" (London, Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
In my view Abba have to be considered as one of THE greatest groups of all time- definitely up there amongst the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and the Bee Gees with the impact they made on popular music. Okay, Abba were derided by many critics at the time for being cheesy and middle-of-the-road. However, 30 years on after they first caught attention with the song "Waterloo", I don't think anyone will deny the indelible mark they made with their brand of pop. In particular, from "Abba" in 1975 (and most notably with the song "SOS") they were able to hit on a simple yet devastatingly effective formula for hit songs, combining the flawless, effortless vocals of Agnetha and Frida with the catchy, well constructed melodies and lyrics of Benny and Bjorn. And what was more, they had the confidence to stick to it, which is admirable in itself. That is why they will be remembered as being amongst the most influential groups of all time- their legacy lives on amongst the many pop acts that exist today.
This album does the group proud, as it is a collection of all their most notable songs- starting out with the folky sound of "People Need Love", evolving towards their definitive pop through songs such as "Waterloo", "I Do, I Do..." and "Honey Honey" and then catching them at their peak. As you hear the rest of the songs on CD1 and the first 9 songs on CD2, the recognisable songs follow each other effortlessly- "SOS", "Mamma Mia", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me...", "Take A Chance on Me","I Have A Dream", "Winner Takes It All", "One of Us", and I could go on. All fantastic songs, encapsulating what made Abba such a successful group commercially(becoming Sweden's second largest export after Volvo)... AND artistically too. It is only towards the end of CD2 I feel the quality slips a little bit, as the songs were produced when the group was reaching its end- yet "Day Before You Came", "When All is Said and Done" and "Under Attack" remain very good songs. The last 2 songs on CD2 are welcome bonuses- an original single version of "Ring Ring", and the US version of "Voulez-Vous" which is an extended version of the original.
In my view, this is truly a wonderful album, as it has all their best songs. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend this above "Gold" (though "Gold" is a superb collection). The Definitive Collection? I think so.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the singles in one double CD, 30 May 2003
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
This collection includes all the songs that were released as singles in Sweden, plus re-mixes of two of them. All their British and American hits can be found here, though some songs were not released as singles outside Sweden, while others were released in some other countries but not others.
The set begins with the pre-Abba track People need love – it features Benny and Bjorn but not Agnetha or Frida. The featured female singer is Svenska Flicka, who is otherwise unknown to me. Ring ring was Abba’s first real single, while He is your brother is an interesting song, but Abba only really hit the big time with Waterloo, which was their first British number one and also reached the top ten in America. Subsequent singles met with varying degrees of success and it was not until Dancing queen was released in 1976 that Abba had another hit that could be called truly international. It went all the way to number one in Britain, America and many other countries.
Their other British number ones were Mamma Mia, Fernando, Knowing me knowing you, Name of the game, Take a chance on me, Super trouper and Winner takes it all. Many of their other singles went into the top five, including I have a dream, which spent a month at number two. In America, Take a chance on me was a huge hit but the others were markedly less successful.
This is a wonderful collection of Abba’s music. If you only want one Abba collection, this is a good one to choose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Abba double Album Review, 7 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
Probably the best collection of Abba songs in one package.
It contains all of the well known titles as well as a few lesser known ones.
The collection certainly shows the styles changes during their period of prolific song writing..

Have a read of the booklet enclosed with this two cd collection.Its one of the more detailed information "sleeve notes" that I have found interesting about the groups progress and style changes.I also highlights the groups inner struggles.

I have several other ABBA cd's that have duplicated tracks on this cd and the only critism I have is that although there is a couple of remastered "extra tracks" the overall sound quality is disappointing of these and the more popular tracks included.The whole cd lacks any real space or dynamics that my other cd's of ABBA have for the same songs.Its as though the audio engineering has over compressed the original recordings.
Its a pity because I have always liked ABBA for their Sound and dynamics in their songs and with this copy it doesn't excite.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Abba compilation of all, 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: Definitive Collection (2cd) (Audio CD)
Abba Gold might be the ideal Abba hits album for most, but this more comprehensive compilation is the ultimate Abba hits package.

It includes all the official singles, plus several tracks released as singles in significant countries. It is the only Abba compilation to include ALL of Abba's UK singles - therefore the UK hits Lay All Your Love on Me, Angeleyes, Thank You For The Music and the single remix of Ring Ring (none of which are classed as "official" singles) are all here.

Unlike Abba Gold, the running order is chronological, telling the story of Abba from beginning to end.

The "rarities" on here are the 1974 single remix of Ring Ring, the extended version of Voulez-Vous and the 1999 re-edit of Eagle.

Clearly a lot of thought went into this compilation, unlike the more recent Number Ones. Abba expert Carl Magnus Palm was involved in selecting the tracks, and it shows. Even the cover artwork nicely re-uses the tasteful photo of Abba from 1979's Greatest Hits Vol 2 (never widely released on CD).

This is the album to get if you want more than Abba Gold can offer.
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