Right, time for another helping of Swedish pop glory, as I run down another ten of the best from ABBA.
15. Me and I
From Super Trouper
SYNTHS!!! Oh goodness I love this one, it’s MAJESTIC. I’m expecting people to think this is a bit of a WTF moment in an all-time countdown, but what a lovely song, and a perfect example of the upbeat pop that made Super Trouper such a joy.
Some really iffy lyrics here, but it’s a wonderfully fun track about SCHIZOPHRENIA
14. Intermezzo no 1
DON’T START ON ME. I was really rather obsessed with this during the mid-point of my ABBA extravaganza, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with my love for this instrumental.
It’s just so vibrant … just makes me smile every time I hear it. Completely OTT, some really dated electric guitars, but full of energy. I still feel like this should be introducing some sort of telethon or 70s variety show, in the most fabulous way possible.
13. Summer Night City
Time for normal service to be RESUMED, and a late bloomer for me. Keen followers of my ABBA travels will remember that I wasn’t THAT fussed about this in its original form, but the extended intro really turned that one around for me.
Dramatic strings, a slow opening and then WHAM – right into an unstoppable disco BEAST. Love that video too, really helped me make sense of this song. Still not entirely sold on the chorus vocals, but still LOVE THIS (now).
12. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A man after midnight)
From one dramatic string intro to another, and an altogether more NOTORIOUS sample thanks to a certain pop singer with nan hands.
This is treading a tightrope really, it’s been hailed too much as a camp classic, and that’s fine but it can make me cringe without notice. Right now it’s pretty great, but I’m AWARE it might turn at any moment.
LOVE THOSE STRINGS
11. Kisses of fire
Random album track time, and one of their catchiest songs IMO. The harmonies hit like a sledgehammer, and that chorus is just dreamy, “Kisses of fire, BURNIN, BURNIN”. Sure, I’m not hugely keen on rhyming with “returning” but we can’t have anything.
This performance is great isn’t it? What a hot mess, are they all on drugs? Is there an AUDIENCE?
Anyway, a GLORIOUS closing track to Voulez-Vous
10. I do I do I do I do I do
“ABBA” was such a fun album, seriously where it all kicked off for me, and possibly running it close with The Visitors for my 2nd favourite. Maybe I’ve got the rose-tinted glasses on already.
One of the crowning glories for that album was this ridiculous drunken aunt of a song. Put me in mind of Muriel’s Wedding quickly, I just think this is brilliant.
They love the Spanish influences don’t they? A bit of Spanish guitar kicks this one off, with a gentle song of support for poor CHICA. Agnetha’s vocals are so delicate and wonderful, and it builds up into a beautiful chorus, warm enough to melt even the most grossly oversized snowman.
8. When I kissed the teacher
I didn’t quite get into Arrival, certainly not to the degree everyone else seemed to. It was a good album but lacking some of the killer tracks that seem to pepper most of their albums.
But WHAT an opener, an engaging intro makes way for an energetic track with some fantastic ba-da-badada-badada backing vocals. That last 30 seconds or so where it just MAXES OUT.
7. One of us
From The Visitors
Wow… big budget! Luckily the only real hit from The Visitors doesn’t need amazing set-pieces or DISGUSTING Frida haircuts.
I will admit that I got into this via the A*Teens version about 10 years ago, I don’t think the original was big enough a hit to really make it into the public consciousness like some of their big hits did.
I love the sentiment behind it, apologetic but reluctant to make it obvious (until later) that it’s really HER who’s going through all this shit and feeling bad. I feel I could have expressed that better but hopefully you follow.
Anyway, not a bombastic pop song like many of my favourites, but The Visitors didn’t rely on those kinds of tactics, did it?
6. The Name of the Game
From The Album
A rare appearance from “The Album” now. While its stablemate “Take a chance on me” suffered from overplay over the years, as a midtempo I think The Name Of The Game managed to avoid the same fate. As with many of their songs, I discovered it first through other versions; in this case it was Will Young’s perf on Pop Idol.
Love this video, not a lot going on, but some really lovely natural shots going on there. I love the second half, where the chorus is bolstered with additional lines (“Your smile and the sound of your voice”). GORGEOUS