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on 12 May 2011
Bjorn & Benny certainly reached a new level of song writing with Super Trouper, originally released back in 1980. Songs such as The Winner Takes It All, Andante Andante, Happy New Year demonstrate this maturer Abba sound. The music on this album cannot be faulted, Abba were firing on all cylinders at this point of their career and Benny had adopted a few new synthesizers which signalled the band were staying up-to-date with the electronic sounds that were starting to dominate the airwaves at the time.
Now onto the Deluxe Edition reissue May 2011. The album has been remastered and sounds great. I am not an audiophile boffin by any stretch of the imagination but it all sounds good to me. The bonus tracks are welcome, especially the stereo mix extended version of 'On & On & On' which was originally only available in mono as the soundtrack to the video of the song.
The DVD includes some wonderful previously unreleased footage which has been thoughtfully compiled. Performances of songs from the German TV 'Show Express' capture Abba in their prime looking wonderful and the documentary footage of the Abba cover-shoot is fascinating viewing. The international record sleeve gallery is a tad repetitive as most of Abba's release used the same artwork around the world at this time.
One disappointment with this release was that it did not come in the hard, clear Deluxe Edition slip case that the previous releases did (Arrival, The Album, Voulez Vous). Instead it was shrink-wrapped and has a Deluxe Edition sticker plastered to the sleeve which looks cheap(are Universal trying to cut costs here?) and rather spoils the continuity with the previous releases.

Overall though an essential purchase for any Abba fan or for that fact anybody wanting to hear one of the bands finest albums.
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on 20 October 2000
"Super Trouper" is as solid a pop album as you'll find. Although some of the recordings have dated in the 20+ years since its release (understandably), this was the first ABBA album from which ANY of the (original 10) tracks could have been credible single releases. This album marked the first of two giant steps in the 'the maturing of ABBA' (their next and final album 'The Visitors' took it to the limit). The perkiness of previous albums was replaced on "Super Trouper" by a satisfying maturity and depth. The emotional and lyrical "The Winner Takes It All" is a prime example of this advance: the heart was torn out and worn on the sleeve. The production, the singing (oh boy, the singing!) and the playing all knitted marvellously together and there is a very definite cohesiveness about the whole album. Many of ABBA's earlier success featured the women singing together. On this album, both Frida and Agnetha get a real chance to shine as solo vocalists - and shine they do! From Agnetha's career-high of "The Winner Takes It All" to Frida's sensuous "Andante Andante" and beyond, each performance is a gem.
The absolute standout tracks are "The Winner Takes It All", "Our Last Summer", "Andante Andante", "Lay All Your Love On Me" and, of course, "Super Trouper", ABBA's ninth and last UK#1. The less well known but beautiful "The Way Old Friends Do" and the sentimental "Happy New Year" still receive heavy airplay at Christmas/New Year despite not having been A-sides. The Beach Boys' Mike Love chose to cover "On And On And On" for his "Look Back With Love" album.
Perhaps what frustrated many critics at the time was that there were no real lows against which to judge the many highs. Was "Super Trouper" almost TOO perfect?
This remastered version includes three bonus tracks (not mentioned on this Amazon page for some reason): "Put On Your White Sombrero" which was left off the original cut in favour of the title track. Both Frida's lead vocal and the melody are spectacular but the lyric and the arrangement both overplay the TexMex imagery. This is a great bonus for those who weren't prepared to shell out big bucks for the box set. "Elaine", which previously appeared only as the B-side of "The Winner Takes It All" is much loved by fans but, despite the fact it was recorded during sessions for this album, it jars with the other tracks. Bizarrely, PolyGram chose to put "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" as a bonus track on this album when it really would have been more appropriately added to the "Voulez-Vous" album. The unreleased/extended version of "On An On And On" would have been a better (and fan-pleasing) choice.
Still, these are minor gripes. At this price, "Super Trouper" is an absolute must-have, a testament to a truly great band at the height of their abilities.
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A review of the cd/dvd Deluxe Edition from 2011...

I think there are three reasons why the most patient of us Abba fans would shell out their coin for another copy of "Super Trouper". One, the previously unreleased stereo extended version of "On and On and On" (for those not in the know it has an extra verse). Two, the bonus dvd with a stack of new to dvd footage. The third reason, sonic improvement with the album. Two out of three ain't bad. Here's the breakdown of what my ears and eyes tell me.

There's some great stuff on the dvd with 4 performances to playback from German and Swedish tv. A period documentary, what these days we would call an EPK (electronic press kit) made by their record label to promote the album. A newly created featurette on the album cover shoot edited together by Carl Magnus Palm from footage shot by Lasse Halstrom for the title track promo film. And that's it for new stuff. You also get two remastered music videos (why only two?) , two uk tv commercials and a sleeve gallery. With a running time of around 68 minutes it's not bad value. As always, there is so much more that could have been included on the dvd. The video for "On and On an On" re-edited so the audio matches the vision and the sound in stereo is just one I'd like to have seen added but nevertheless I'm thankful for the new footage from the archives.

Audio wise, we are worlds away from the 2005 Henrik Jonsson remaster released in the Complete Studio Recordings box set, in fact it sounds pretty dull. Honestly I actually prefer the 2005 remasters for this album and for "Voulez-Vous" (the 2010 remaster for that album is just awful). This new remaster for Super Trouper sounds flat and generally well...dull. It's actually much softer in overall volume than the 2005 master and seems to lack any punchy bass. Generally an indication of a flat transfer. "Lay All Your Love On Me" is particularly unimpressive.** After all the hype on the Abba website about this deluxe edition and the extra care with remastering the music I am very underwhelmed to say the least. Super Trouper was the first Abba album to be completed in Polar Music Studios which Benny and Björn built as an investment and the quality of this recording has always been first class. At the time, Polar was state of the art. Even Led Zeppelin and Genesis, just to name two big artists from the 70's, used it's world class facilities. I can't understand why Universal felt the need to remaster the album again when the 2005 job was pretty good.

I've taken off a star for the dull mastering and the very ugly sticker, which you have to remove to open the digipak that has replaced the outer plastic sleeve of previous Deluxe Editions. I also wanted to take off half a star for the poor quality of the audio on the DVD but Amazon don't allow half star ratings. Whether you think it's worth the money for ordinary audio, one almost new track and a dvd is a decision for you. I just hope they pull out all stops for The Visitors deluxe edition.* The complete "Just Like That" and the full Dick Cavet Show anyone?

Us Abba fans, "We're Like Sun And Rainy Weather Sometimes We're A Hit Together.."

*Review update:- Sadly they didn't pull out all stops. The Deluxe Edition for "The Visitors" is a complete waste of money.
**If you're looking for a great sounding cd of the album, trust the Japanese to provide it in the form of their Super Trouper: Deluxe Edition. All content is the same except the audio disc is mastered on SHM-CD (google it folks). Stunning!
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on 1 October 2008
I remember getting this album as a Christmas present in 1980, and I played it to death. I just love everything about it. Every song is of the best quality and as a whole I consider it to be Abba's finest pop collection.
I always found the title track a little bit naff when it was first released as a single, but it has grown on me greatly over the years.
'The Winner Takes It All' is in my opinion the best Abba song ever. Agnetha breaks your heart with her vocal on this chart topping clasic tearjerker. The lyrics are so personal to her situation , you have to wonder how she was ever able to sing them.
'On And On And On' sees Abba back in dance mode, but it's so much more than a dance track. It has also aged incredibly well. You have to wonder why it wasn't released as a single back in the day.
'Me And I' features Frida on lead and is another great uptempo song that has hit written all over it.
'Happy New Year' is another beautifully sung track by Agnetha. Though not released as single at the time, they did produce a rather lovely video for the track.
'The Piper' was never a particular favourite of mine as it is somewhat reminiscent of some of the earlier singalong Abba tunes from their first couple of albums, but it's still a fine song that compliments this collection.
'Andante Andante' and 'Our Last Summer' are two great Frida sung tracks that are standouts on this album.
'Lay All Your Love On Me' is a fabulous dance track that had it been released earlier than summer 1981 would surely have given Abba a third number one from this album.
'The Way Old Friends Do' is a live track that just finishes off this wonderful album nicely.
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This is one of the best albums Abba recorded. Like some of the others, I bought it originally on vinyl, then upgraded to CD, then bought the re-mastered CD with three bonus tracks (including Gimmie gimmie gimmie, not listed on this edition but readily available on Abba compilations), but ignored the latest digipack version.
Two British number one hits came from this album. The first, Winner takes it all, is a very sad song about the break-up of a relationship. It was inspired by a marriage break-up within Abba, but was not itself autobiographical. As they admit, neither partner came out winners from the divorce. The song hits home hard, perhaps because Agnetha really felt the song. The second number one, Super trouper, is more typical Abba - very upbeat.
My favorite tracks are The piper, The way old friends do and Our last summer. The piper was put on the B-side of Super trouper. I felt that was a mistake - it would have made a great A-side. In fact, they could have used Put on your white sombrero as a B-side - it was dropped from the album and had only rarely been made available before its inclusion here. The way old friends do is a live recording which provided a great finale to the original album. With the bonus tracks, it no longer has that effect, but is still a great song.
Elaine was the original B-side of Winner takes it all but, like Put on your white sombrero, had rarely been available before, although both could be found on a 4-CD boxed set.
I thought Our last summer could have been a great single, but the only other British single to be released from the album was Lay all your love on me backed with On and on and on. They had proved popular on dance floors so were made available on twelve-inch format only.
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on 11 July 2002
By 1980 it was clear that Abba had become the biggest selling artists of the 1970's and that they had nothing else to prove commercially. Early 1980 was spent completing their world tour in Japan, the girls re-recording some of their lyrics in Spanish for the South American market and the boys writing for the new album.
And what a result! In the UK the album was the first ever to get advances order of 1 million, it spent 9 weeks at the top of the chart in the Christmas/New Year period of 1980/81 and was the biggest selling album of 1980 AND their second chart topper of the year (Greatest Hits Vol 2 hit the top again in Jan 1980).
It contained melodic songs, a move away from the disco of 1978/9, back to their earlier style. The title track Super Trouper is a gentle disco number with melodies, hooks and harmonies that just reel you in, sung beautifully by Frida, emphasising the feeling of loneliness and seperation. The Winner Takes It All is a powerhouse of a song, of the emotions of loss and pain sung so convincingly and painfully by Agnetha. On & On & On is a great tongue in cheek disco track with harmonies in the background by the boys sounding like the Beach Boys (Brian Wilson even covered ths song!)
I could go on with all the other songs, but each have their own shining qualities about them, particularly Happy New Year (listen to the lyrics and I bet you've felt like that in the early hours of a New Year!) and Lay All Your Love On Me which is a superb disco work out and the first single available on 12 inch only to enter the UK Top 10.
The bonus tracks includes the B Side to 'Winner', Elaine and the wonderful Put on Your White Sombrero which starts off as a solo record for Frida but kicks in half way through when Agnetha joins her with some soaring harmonies, stretching the girls voices to the limit and producing that sound that make Abba magic. Go on. Buy it! Own another perfect piece of pop history!
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on 16 October 2001
At the time of release this album had the highest pre-release orders ever! In 1980 it was easy to see (or hear!) why and 21 years on that magic hasn't faded. The single "Super Trouper" was a massive hit single for ABBA and a brilliant uptempo follow up and antidote to the previous single "Winner Takes it all" which was released at the end of 1979 and possibly the song that made a lot of people sit up and realise that ABBA were serious song writers and artists - a force to be reckoned with! "On and on and on" is an 80's disco sounding track with cheeky lines from the girls. "Andante Andante" features Frida on lead vocals and is very sensual and soft but uplifting at the same time. "Me and I" sees the start of the harder 80's sounding ABBA with the girls voices vocoded before anyone knew what that meant! "Happy New Year" sees us looking back on the last year and the last decade remembering the good times and the bad. Very clever video to this track as it's the same set as the "Super Trouper" party video where everyone's gone home and we're all left feeling tired and the false smiles are over and all we're left with is the cold light of day and real feelings - very poignant when you consider what was happening to their private lives. The same thing can be said for "Our Last Summer" which conjures up wonderful images in the clever lyrics. "The Piper" is full of life with a very unusual subject where we find ourselves following the Piper perhaps against our will but helpless nonetheless - very atmospheric and perhaps just a little bit disturbing. "Lay all Your Love on Me" has to be one of the best disco tracks created by ABBA, again with some vocoding on the vocals and a stomping disco/dance beat. "The Way Old Friends Do" was recorded live at Wembly, there has never been a studio recording of this track, and was a perfect ending to a great album. The rerelease of "Super Trouper" finds the b-side to "Winner Takes it all" in the shape of "Elaine" - not the best by ABBA but interesting anyway and "Put on Your White Sombrero" which was taken off the original album release in 1980 at the last minute in favour of the title track. Some of the lyrics are a bit dodgy which would explain it's deletion but a brilliant 3/4 waltz style rythm gives this track a very unusual feel - familiar to ABBA fans with a copy of "More ABBA Gold" and the track "Cassandra".
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on 12 June 2011
My comments are about the actual packaging, not the music. It seems the person responsible for inserting the CD booklet into the envelope was in a bit of a hurry as the front page was all bent and folded when I pulled it out. Also the sticker stuck across the top came off fairly easily but left traces of glue once removed. With the previous deluxe editions this part was a fairly strong plastic that slid over the entire cover. This provided a strong support and protection from dust and wear and tear. Seems there were budget issues with this deluxe edition.
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on 4 September 2000
This is Abba's prettiest, happiest and most romantic album. Songs like Our Last Summer, Happy New Year, The Way Old Friends Do, Andante Andante set the tone, with much less of that 'we're all getting a divorce' stuff. It's a pleasure from beginning to end, and if you're honeyed out by the optimistic romanticism, there are a couple of disco-y, harder, tougher songs, too. It's practically perfect.
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VINE VOICEon 19 May 2009
ABBA's sixth original UK studio album release was a powerful collection of catchy and haunting numbers that included three hit singles and two Number Ones!

By this time, every new album released by the super group would enter at Number One in the albums' chart due to enormous advanced orders upon release.

This is often regarded as ABBA's 'peak' in terms of chart success, since their final studio album 'The Visitors' which was to follow just a year later, did not produce the usual number of hit singles. That album was of a more 'classical' and unique style. (see my Review for that title)

I played this album the other evening for my partner who, though liked them, was not heavily into ABBA at the time of their success, and therefore had never heard it - he was blown away, and he immediately asked me to play it again!
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