Thanks to my recent undertaking of listening to and reviewing every album I own, I now have three Abba albums to get through in the next three days. That’s a lot of Abba, and it kind of worried me at first. But after checking out The Album, I’m actually pretty excited. It also helps that I read Chuck Klosterman’s brilliant article on ABBA fairly recently (from his book Eating the Dinosaur), in which he deconstructs their distinguished formula and explains why they are one of the greatest groups of all time. It’s a great read, and you should check it out.
Abba are one of those older groups that can get a pretty hard time from young people simply because people can view their sound as kind of dated. After all, Abba pretty much defines the sound of hits in their era. But that’s the thing – this is a sound Abba cultivated, and other people ripped off from them.
Of course it’s easy for things to sound a little dated 30 years later, but parts of The Album still seem pretty fresh. Hits like “Name of the Game” and “Take A Chance On Me” still ring true thanks to the fact that they are just genuinely good songs. They are perfect examples of the “Abba formula” of sweet melodies, hot guitar licks and top-notch songwriting precision, all swirled in with candied harmonized and gang-style female vocals. Granted, they do this over, and over, and over again, but it’s because they know if they stick to it, they’ll eventually come up with gold. It’s a good strategy, and though it isn’t as successful as often as it should be on The Album, perfecting an art takes time, and I still have two more Abba records to spin. ***
Listening Again? Probably.