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An intriguing early album,
This review is from: abba (Audio CD)
This album was released when Abba's future was uncertain. They might have been just another one hit wonder. Waterloo had been a worldwide smash hit, but the other singles from that album flopped. Depending on your viewpoint, this album demonstrates Abba's versatility (if you like it) or it is a mixed bag (if you don't). I love it.
The original album (the first eleven tracks) yielded three singles that met with varying degrees of success. I do I do I do I do I do was a big hit in Australia and a number one in New Zealand but a modest hit in Britain. It eventually went top 20 in America. S.O.S. was much more successful in Britain, where it was a top ten hit. It went top 20 in America, where it was the first single taken off the album.
Mamma Mia, on the other hand, was a number one hit in Britain and gave Abba a direction to go in for their next album, which would be Arrival. It wasn't very successful in America, where it was only a minor hit. Abba were never able to achieve consistent success in America, perhaps because they rarely visited. They were kept busy elsewhere.
Of course, those songs can be found on various Abba compilations, so it is the other tracks that are the reason to buy this now. Tropical loveland and I've been waiting for you are lovely ballads. Rock me and Hey hey Helen veer almost into glam-rock territory. Intermezzo No. 1 is an instrumental that sounds like Benny and Bjorn were trying to write a classical piece - I wonder what it would sound like if played by a philharmonic orchestra. Contrast that with the medley of traditional folk songs - one of two bonus tracks listed here. Apparently this medley was recorded for charity. As far as I know, this is the only time that Abba covered anybody else's songs.
So, this is a very varied selection of songs. My version of the CD has a further five bonus tracks, but these can all be found on either the Ring ring or Waterloo albums. This particular album has been re-issued several times on CD, originally with no bonus tracks, then with the five added, then with those five plus Crazy world and the medley, but now with those last two but not the other five. Since anybody who buys this album is likely to buy the two earlier albums anyway, the current track listing with just two bonus tracks makes the most sense.