OK time to finish this off. Thanks for the interest, if anyone’s been reading the studio album reviews, or the rest of this countdown, hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’ve got a few more artists catalogues that I’ve written up in the past, so watch this space!
Onto a titanically amazing track from my beloved “ABBA” album. It’s like a song made of hooks, isn’t it? That piano intro, the wall of harmonies in the chorus, just little riffs here and there.
What a cute video too *blue-steels at the camera*. DRIPPING with drama, and a great mix of production considering how their more rocky-soundings never quite compare to the out-and-out pop moments.
From The Visitors
Firstly, !!? at this video
ANYWAY, onto what I felt was the PINNACLE of The Visitors. Not only is this JAM-PACKED with deep’n’meaningful lyrics about the threat of war at the beginning of the 80s, it’s such a beautiful song.
That uneven marching beat, the mournful verses, then onto the devastating chorus. That chorus is a thing of BEAUTY and pitched perfectly. The harmonies work like magic. It’s difficult to imagine that a song about burying your heads in the sand against the threat of war would be so UPLIFTING.
It’s always a great but bittersweet feeling when some of an act’s best work ends up on their final album. It’s great to go out on a high, but who knows what they could have made if they’d spent a few more years?
THIS SONG … well this defeating Soldiers illustrates a point. The power of nostalgia for a long-lost time is that much more potent than Soldiers’ documentation of the uncertainty of the (then) present.
Personally, I don’t know about you lot, but I never fought in the Mexican Revolution. But such are ABBA’s skills that this song makes me feel like I was, and even feel regret that those days are over. RIDICULOUS.
That beautiful intro, those military drums over a tenderly sung first verse from Frida (gorgeous hair for once). It’s a very sentimental song, and totally draws you into this story between two old people reminiscing about a long-passed battle.
Obviously I’m not alone in loving this one, since Fernando is ABBA’s biggest selling single worldwide, and a well-deserved one at that.
2. The day before you came
I came within a SHADE of picking the oddball for my all-time #1, but in the end, it’s an honourable runner-up position for this late entry.
What a fascinating song, and at the risk of repeating my earlier description, I TOTALLY get it. Poor Ag is just going through the motions, living her life on auto-pilot. Not even that sad, just empty and numb. It took her meeting with the song’s subject to realise her situation.
The song itself had a bleak tone despite its happy ending (probably). Frida certainly has a face that could curdle milk in that video. As I said for Soldiers, it’s bittersweet when an act is producing some of their best work shortly before the end of their career.
I love this song, the lyrics are captivating, with Ag not even really KNOWING what she did yesterday, but presuming it was much the same as every day. The music is strikingly sparse, with that odd pigeony sample and a few synths beeping in the background. Her vocals are wonderful, particularly in the emphasis she puts on some of the sections. The sinister synths fade in and out, there are bursts of opera… what an odd song.
It makes the question of their aborted next album almost too hard to consider. Can you IMAGINE?
1. The Winner Takes It All
From Super Trouper
Not QUITE, John. But I hope you won’t judge this countdown just for its champion, particularly when this towering work of genius sits on top of it. While ABBA are very famous for their upbeat pop music, I think it’s really the tales of heartbreak, misery and desolation that they really excel at.
The song details the end of a drawn-out war of attrition in a collapsing relationship. The underlying theme is just that she’s just so TIRED. The other guy came out of this better than she did, or at least so Agnetha thinks. But we are all invited to the pity party, and she’ll cry if she wants to.
I don’t think I need to explain why I think this song is so great, it’s just one of those timeless classics that will always define the blockbusting moments in their back catalogue. It’s fitting that my winner comes from my clear favourite album, the poptastic Super Trouper.
I guess that’s it… apart from one more song
So I’ll say…
I thought this would be a nice finish to it all, considering this is what drove me to buy ABBA Gold in the first place, for my sins!