Tuesday, 28 May 2019

ABBA - ABBA (1975)

I do, I do, I do, I do, I do


Released April 1975

After the number one hit that won the Eurovision Song Contest in April 1974, ABBA trod water a bit for over a year until September 1975, with the third single from this album, S.O.S. Having been out since the previous April, this album then broke "big", so to speak. It eventually spawned four hit singles. After this release, people took ABBA seriously.


1. Mamma Mia
2. Hey Hey Helen
3. Tropical Loveland
4. S.O.S.
5. Man In The Middle
6. Bang-A-Boomerang
7. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
8. Rock Me
9. Intermezzo No. 1
10. I've Been Waiting For You
11. So Long                                                  

Mamma Mia is known to everyone, and, of course, is keyboard-driven pop perfection. Hey Hey Helen begins with a Glitter Band-style drum beat and some comparatively heavy (for ABBA) guitars. It is not a bad track at all and would have made a good single. Despite the cheesy, bubblegum-ish title, the song is about a single mother making it on her own after a divorce. Tropical Loveland is ABBA's only effort at playing reggae, as far as I know. It is not really very authentic, but is pleasant enough in its summery way.

I remember back in the autumn of 1975, upon hearing S.O.S., thinking that ABBA could do credible pop songs, not just Eurovision stuff. It raised the standard from their previous offerings. Those grandiose, classically-influenced piano and keyboard parts became part of their future sound. Again, it is a perfect pop song. Man In The Middle is a funky, cynical song about the corrupt wealthy. It largely features Benny (I think) on lead vocals.

Bang-A-Boomerang has a typically Eurovision title that invites ridicule and it isn't a great song either, both in its silly lyrics and its strangely muffled sound. The group would soon stop recording such tosh. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do was the second single from the album and is a catchy enough song with haughty aspirations in its jazzy orchestrations. It has that European singalong feel to its chorus and indeed its verses. Rock Me is another infectious poppy, typically early ABBA song.

Bjorn and Benny always liked a bit of pseudo-classical doodling, and the give us that on the instrumental Intermezzo No. 1. I've Been Waiting For You is a solid, dignified ballad while the first hit single from the album was the jaunty, typically seventies pop of So Long. This is a pop album, nothing more, nothing less and, by and large, it is a good one.


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