on 19 January 2014
It's official, she's managed it, she's matched Frida's five star "Shine" with one herself. For someone reason unbeknownst to me regarding the rabble, this seems to be less held in regard as the other two 80s albums that it sits between, yet neither of those, whilst having a sizeable amount of delectable material, deliver on the height of consistency that this album managed so effortlessly, and I think the main reasons for that are bravery of vision, acquisition of eclecticism and a rousing much-needed rock approach to dilute the rather candyfloss pop melodies and rather sugary-at time-lyrics that pepper both the heavily soul/Motown base of "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" and the MOR Californian rock of Cetera on "I Stand Alone". With Agnetha herself happily (at the time anyway) singing a stinging amount of truly great tunes as perfectly as she has ever sung anything (as always she is exemplary in the vocal department) one part of this truly winning enterprise, I bow to 10cc star, songwriter, producer and engineer Eric Stewart for collecting together and honing to perfection a unique passel of songs Agnetha could never give us again. The stats speak for themselves-unlike a dozen at most of standouts that initially sink in at first listen o the other albums, the following on this collection hit me full on at once-: 'One Way Love', 'Eyes Of A Woman', 'The Angels Cry', 'Click Track', 'I Won't Be Leaving You', 'Save Me (Why Don't Ya)', 'I Keep Turning Off Lights' and 'We Move As One'-and that's most of the album!
You really can't fault an album that totally eschews the rather twee simplicity of generality of the other albums, and dumps the rather 1-2-3 "I love you" stuff for the deeper, darker musings on relationships and life, whilst telling a story at the same time ('Eyes Of A Woman', 'Just One Heart', 'Click Track', 'I Won't Be Leaving You', 'I Keep Turning Off Lights') to make things even more effusive; likewise the driving but utterly melodic rock powering the title track, 'Save Me', 'I Keep Turning Off Lights' and 'We Move As One' results in the same awesome power resulting in an utterly pleasing result the 80's can be proud of like no other decade so consistently when it comes to artists and their music. And it's pure skill that turns what could be a run-of-the-mill song like 'We Should Be Together' and 'I Won't Let You Go' in someone else's hands and voice into necessary additions both instantly hummable and deeper than you'd think on first listen, but Agnetha's voice can never be shortchanged for that.
I've never known such an utterly captivating album from Agnetha that boasts such a far reaching palette, yet never loses cohesiveness, or owned an album by her so full of potential sparkling singles, which would never be fully utilised in an unhelpful narrow-minded singles market, plus don't forget 1985 was the year that talent-free hoe Madonna appeared to envelop the easy world like smog, sadly putting female singers into a very different and utterly non-artistic template to end the decade and continue to this day and so on. But this changes nothing, as when this record's on, Agnetha owns the world, she really does, with all bases covered on one CD. There's the empowering masterful 'simple' pop fulfilled with 'One Way Love', the self-penned 'I Won't Let You Go' and 'We Should Be Together', the plea for compassion in a broken society on the intriguing Calypso tune 'Just One Heart', the yearning vocally unmatched hurt and tenderness of her best ballads in the epic complexity of 'I Won't Be Leaving You', the utterly beautiful power-ballad of Justin Hayward's 'The Angels Cry' (perfect to lament loss in a TV series like "Angels In America" or a film like "Longtime Companion") or the rousing finale 'We Move As One', which, like several songs on this album, plus some other fine picks from the other two, could easily have been an Abba song. As if that weren't, we get more rousing forays into rock from one album than she would ever comfortably give, added to a lyrical precision of intelligence to match with the title track, 'Save Me (Why Don't Ya)', the rather menacing 'I Keep Turning Off Lights'-complete with thunder sound-effects, and best of all, an utterly startling quirk of rock oddity 'Click Track', which a video was done for, but sadly never became a single. I can't BELIEVE she's singing these words, SHE probably can't believe it, there so not the Agnetha we know, but shouldn't pop surprise now and again? Yes, today she'd conveniently forget it or gasp in horror, but stuff it, it's fun, kind of dirty, different damned fun and on an album like this, were quality mixed ingredients make the dish of the day, this, for me, is the red-lit cherry on top to pop.
This remastered CD serves up four extra tunes, plus an extended 'I Won't Let You Go'. The two b-sides were correctly left off the album, as neither suited it. 'You're There' is another Agnetha written tune, but it's classical simplicity, while nice, is not "Eyes Of A Woman" quality, and other b-side 'Turn The World Around', while more upbeat, wouldn't merge either. The remaining two are the A and B-side of 1986 single, the sublime power-ballad 'The Way You Are', duet with Ola Hakansson, that became another massive Swedish No.1 for Agnetha, even if it failed in it's job to promote a Swedish city as a possible host for presenting the 1992 Olympic Games, and 'Fly Like Eagle' is a quaint, but much weaker duet from the pair aswell.
Evidently long-time Abba fan Elvis Costello submitted a track called 'Shatter Proof' for this, her best album, but Agnetha passed on it, perhaps a pity as 12 tracks would have been lovely. Did she do right, what would it have been like, I wonder, another 'Click Track' oddity perhaps, which could have been too much for the Eyes and Ears of our lovely Woman?
on 11 October 2013
Back in the days of Abba's high popularity, I did like the Abba sound and I have to say Frida was my favorite,but not any more,(see also my review of Frida's Somethings going on) this was my first purchase.Frida's CD is very good and has some very nice tracks.I appreciate of course everyones taste in music varies but this CD is Fantastic!! Agnetha's voice has got richer over the years,but make no mistake this is not an Abba sound,far better in my opinion as soon as the first track," One Way Love," started I was hooked,and just keep playing the whole CD over and over.The arrangements of each track are uplifting and Agnetha's voice is superb,unlike most of the pop of today which is shouted rather than sung and one or two lines repeated over and over.I am not going to give away my age but my teen years were in the 1960's when pop music was much more melodic and perhaps why I enjoy Agnetha's voice.There is only one track which I am not so keen on is track 6," Click Track",but the other 15 are I have to say "Beautifull". I now have purchased four more of Agnetha's CD's which I might review later. A tip, if you listen to the Mp3 track samples first,which I did then you can see if it is your taste.