Sunday, 23 December 2018
ABBA - Voulez Vous (1979)
Released June 1979
In 1978 and 1979, it seemed everyone got in on the disco trend - groups like Roxy Music, artists like Elton John and even The Rolling Stones were releasing disco-influenced tracks, ABBA, somewhat belatedly, and at the height of punk/new wave, put out this album which contained several disco numbers, with synthesised disco/funk beats and Bee Gees influence all round. In many ways, it is the least typically "ABBA" of their offerings, but only in places.
1. As Good As New
2. Voulez Vous
3. I Have A Dream
5. The King His Lost His Crown
6. Does Your Mother Know
7. If It Wasn't For The Nights
9. Lovers (Live A Little Longer)
10. Kisses Of Fire
That said, there is still some decidedly recognisable ABBA Euro-pop in the somewhat cheesy "Does Your Mother Know" (which actually sounds dated, even then), and the singalong Northern European folkiness of "I Have A Dream" (Bjorn was very much a folky in the mid-late sixties/early seventies). The evocative "Chiquitita" also ploughs the now-familiar Latin/nostalgic narrative tale begun with "Fernando", and has Latin flavoured lyrics merging with a Germanic, nickelodeon keyboard sound.
"As Good As New" kicks off the album in full on disco mode, however, and this is continued in the hit single "Voulez Vous" (a-ha). The former, despite its disco rhythms and verses, has a very ABBA chorus and the latter is certainly poppily singalong too. It is actually of atmosphere too. "Angeleyes" is far more typically ABBA, with its deliciously irresistible hooky chorus, than it is disco. Although they are trying to get in on the disco thing, they just can't help being ABBA, especially on the hooks and choruses. Bjorn and Benny just continued trotting out killer refrains. Actually, more overtly disco songs like "Gimme Gimme Gimme", "Lovelight" and "Summer Night City" were released as stand alone singles and not included on this album, leaving room for songs like "I Have A Dream", "Does Your Mother Know" and "Chiquitita".
As on all ABBA albums, there are the "other tracks" - these are the grandiose Euro pop of "The King Has Lost His Crown"; the polished mid-tempo disco pop ballad "If It Wasn't For The Nights"; the slightly funky "Get Up And Boogie" vibe of "Lovers (Live A Little Longer)" and the lively vaguely disco pop of "Kisses Of Fire".
All in all, every now and again this is an enjoyable enough listen, although, back in 1979, it really was far too incongruous for punks/new wavers like me to pay much attention to.
- December 23, 2018