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Pop - Released November 5, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

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Forty years after they officially broke up, ABBA are back. Although sometimes it felt like they never really went away, thanks to the Mamma Mia! musical and movie, as well as the band's prominent placement in films like Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and in the arsenal of every wedding DJ. Of course, the world can be divided into two camps: ABBA fans and ABBA haters. And fans, Voyage is a wonder. (And haters: What, you hate heaven-sent harmonies?) "Just a Notion" is just glorious —as feel-good as "Waterloo." Originally recorded in 1978, while the Swedish foursome were making their Voulez-Vous album, it was inexplicably cut despite its joyous handclaps and sax and piano. (It's not a bad thing to say this would be perfect for a Richard Simmons workout.) "Don't Shut Me Down" struts to a high-stepping marching beat and funky double bass, as Agnetha Fältskog—sounding pretty freaking incredible for 71—tells an old lover she wants to come home now that she's gotten her groove back: "Once these rooms were witness to our love/ My tantrums and increasing frustration/ But I go from mad/ To not so bad in my transformation." It's weird and wonderful, the kind of thing that could win Eurovision (which, of course, ABBA did in 1974). The irresistible hooks and soaring chorus of "No Doubt About It" should make bands five decades younger jealous. The epic ballad "I Still Have Faith in You," meanwhile, finds Anni-Frid Lyngstad singing in a surprising, and striking, lower register. The song could be the cousin of "Fernando" and builds to a chorus as majestic as any hair-metal weeper. There's an original Christmas carol, "Little Things," and "When You Danced With Me," a gleeful folk-ish number that wouldn't have been out of place in a dancing scene from the horror movie Midsommar. With a few instrumentation tweaks, "I Can Be That Woman" could be the kind of Nashville Sound countrypolitan ballad Lynn Anderson would've crooned: "You say you've had it, and you say 'Screw you'/ I say 'I love you' and I know it's true" go the lyrics, chronicling a lifetime of regrets and the pledge to be better. Speaking of country—"Keep an Eye on Dan" tackles subject matter rarely found in pop songs. Against slightly sinister strings and a funky bass that recall the "gotcha" scene of any '70s crime show unspools a story that seems to be about a divorcée reluctant to leave her son with his dad for the weekend: "Keep an eye on Dan … he gets out of hand if you let him … I'll be back on Sunday to get him." (The wild synths suggest maybe little Dan is … unhinged?) Yes, it's highly processed cheese, but it really hits the spot. All 10 songs are composed by band members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus who, respectively, divorced Lyngstad and Fältskog years ago. But you'd never know that from the harmony, in every sense of the word. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 5, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

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Forty years after they officially broke up, ABBA are back. Although sometimes it felt like they never really went away, thanks to the Mamma Mia! musical and movie, as well as the band's prominent placement in films like Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and in the arsenal of every wedding DJ. Of course, the world can be divided into two camps: ABBA fans and ABBA haters. And fans, Voyage is a wonder. (And haters: What, you hate heaven-sent harmonies?) "Just a Notion" is just glorious —as feel-good as "Waterloo." Originally recorded in 1978, while the Swedish foursome were making their Voulez-Vous album, it was inexplicably cut despite its joyous handclaps and sax and piano. (It's not a bad thing to say this would be perfect for a Richard Simmons workout.) "Don't Shut Me Down" struts to a high-stepping marching beat and funky double bass, as Agnetha Fältskog—sounding pretty freaking incredible for 71—tells an old lover she wants to come home now that she's gotten her groove back: "Once these rooms were witness to our love/ My tantrums and increasing frustration/ But I go from mad/ To not so bad in my transformation." It's weird and wonderful, the kind of thing that could win Eurovision (which, of course, ABBA did in 1974). The irresistible hooks and soaring chorus of "No Doubt About It" should make bands five decades younger jealous. The epic ballad "I Still Have Faith in You," meanwhile, finds Anni-Frid Lyngstad singing in a surprising, and striking, lower register. The song could be the cousin of "Fernando" and builds to a chorus as majestic as any hair-metal weeper. There's an original Christmas carol, "Little Things," and "When You Danced With Me," a gleeful folk-ish number that wouldn't have been out of place in a dancing scene from the horror movie Midsommar. With a few instrumentation tweaks, "I Can Be That Woman" could be the kind of Nashville Sound countrypolitan ballad Lynn Anderson would've crooned: "You say you've had it, and you say 'Screw you'/ I say 'I love you' and I know it's true" go the lyrics, chronicling a lifetime of regrets and the pledge to be better. Speaking of country—"Keep an Eye on Dan" tackles subject matter rarely found in pop songs. Against slightly sinister strings and a funky bass that recall the "gotcha" scene of any '70s crime show unspools a story that seems to be about a divorcée reluctant to leave her son with his dad for the weekend: "Keep an eye on Dan … he gets out of hand if you let him … I'll be back on Sunday to get him." (The wild synths suggest maybe little Dan is … unhinged?) Yes, it's highly processed cheese, but it really hits the spot. All 10 songs are composed by band members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus who, respectively, divorced Lyngstad and Fältskog years ago. But you'd never know that from the harmony, in every sense of the word. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 5, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

Forty years after they officially broke up, ABBA are back. Although sometimes it felt like they never really went away, thanks to the Mamma Mia! musical and movie, as well as the band's prominent placement in films like Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and in the arsenal of every wedding DJ. Of course, the world can be divided into two camps: ABBA fans and ABBA haters. And fans, Voyage is a wonder. (And haters: What, you hate heaven-sent harmonies?) "Just a Notion" is just glorious —as feel-good as "Waterloo." Originally recorded in 1978, while the Swedish foursome were making their Voulez-Vous album, it was inexplicably cut despite its joyous handclaps and sax and piano. (It's not a bad thing to say this would be perfect for a Richard Simmons workout.) "Don't Shut Me Down" struts to a high-stepping marching beat and funky double bass, as Agnetha Fältskog—sounding pretty freaking incredible for 71—tells an old lover she wants to come home now that she's gotten her groove back: "Once these rooms were witness to our love/ My tantrums and increasing frustration/ But I go from mad/ To not so bad in my transformation." It's weird and wonderful, the kind of thing that could win Eurovision (which, of course, ABBA did in 1974). The irresistible hooks and soaring chorus of "No Doubt About It" should make bands five decades younger jealous. The epic ballad "I Still Have Faith in You," meanwhile, finds Anni-Frid Lyngstad singing in a surprising, and striking, lower register. The song could be the cousin of "Fernando" and builds to a chorus as majestic as any hair-metal weeper. There's an original Christmas carol, "Little Things," and "When You Danced With Me," a gleeful folk-ish number that wouldn't have been out of place in a dancing scene from the horror movie Midsommar. With a few instrumentation tweaks, "I Can Be That Woman" could be the kind of Nashville Sound countrypolitan ballad Lynn Anderson would've crooned: "You say you've had it, and you say 'Screw you'/ I say 'I love you' and I know it's true" go the lyrics, chronicling a lifetime of regrets and the pledge to be better. Speaking of country—"Keep an Eye on Dan" tackles subject matter rarely found in pop songs. Against slightly sinister strings and a funky bass that recall the "gotcha" scene of any '70s crime show unspools a story that seems to be about a divorcée reluctant to leave her son with his dad for the weekend: "Keep an eye on Dan … he gets out of hand if you let him … I'll be back on Sunday to get him." (The wild synths suggest maybe little Dan is … unhinged?) Yes, it's highly processed cheese, but it really hits the spot. All 10 songs are composed by band members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus who, respectively, divorced Lyngstad and Fältskog years ago. But you'd never know that from the harmony, in every sense of the word. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Pop - Released October 22, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released October 22, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released September 2, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released September 2, 2021 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released February 26, 2016 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released October 23, 2015 | Polar Music International AB

Fans of ABBA's sugary-sweet pop songs will no doubt be surprised by Something's Going On, the remarkably hard-edged 1982 solo album by ABBA vocalist Anni-Frida Lyngstad, better known simply as Frida. Produced by Phil Collins, Something's Going On includes a wide range of material, including songs written by Bryan Ferry ("The Way You Do"), Stephen Bishop ("Tell Me It's Over"), and Gerry Rafferty ("I See Red"), and even includes a Dorothy Parker poem set to music ("Thernody"). Something's Going On boasts impressive guitar work by Daryl Stuermer, who has toured with Genesis as well as appeared on several Collins solo albums. Collins' drum work is also outstanding, particularly on the hard-hitting hit single "I Know There's Something Going On." Frida herself shows an unexpected emotional range given ABBA's two-dimensional pop gloss. Sure, she still chirps and tweets like a bird, but the diversity of the material and the freedom of recording solo obviously allows her to enter different musical territory. Frida escapes the creative limitations of being a member of one of the world's most popular groups on this solid and often riveting album. © William Cooper /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 19, 2015 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Polar Music International AB

ABBA Gold: Complete Edition is a curious release -- with two discs of material, it's probably too much for casual listeners seeking only ABBA's biggest chart hits (available instead on the single-disc Gold collection), while more serious fans will have already invested in the four-disc Thank You for the Music box set, rendering this package almost totally irrelevant. There's undoubtedly great music here, of course -- the problem is just that it's unlikely to fill the needs of most consumers. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Polar Music International AB

ABBA's second (and U.S. debut) album contains the American Top Ten title track, as well as "Honey, Honey," a minor U.S. hit that deserved better. This album is rather unusual in the group's output, however, for the fact that the guys are still featured fairly prominently in some of the vocals, and for the variety of sounds -- including reggae, folk-rock, and hard rock -- embraced by its songs. The reggae number "Sitting in the Palmtree" is quite remarkable to hear, with its perfect Caribbean beat and those radiant female voices carrying the chorus behind the beat. "King Kong Song" is a good example of hard rock by rote, going through the motions of screaming vocals and over-amplified guitar (courtesy of Janne Schaffer), although even here, when the women's voices jump in on the choruses, it's hard not to listen attentively; the quartet knew what a powerful weapon they had, but not quite how to use it. They get a little closer to their winning formula on the catchy, folky-textured pop song "Hasta Mañana," which sounds like a lost Mary Hopkin number. "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" is on the money as the embodiment of the Euro-disco sound that the group would embrace on their future albums, although it also hints at a vague oldies sound, with a melody that somehow reminds this listener of both the Four Seasons' "Dawn" and the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby." © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Musical Theatre - Released January 1, 2014 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Polar Music International AB

Recorded during ABBA's hugely successful world tour of 1979-1980, Live at Wembley Arena features the Swedish pop group performing in concert at London's Wembley Arena in November, 1979. Coming on the heels of the group's sixth studio album, 1979's Voulez-Vous, the tour was a sensation as the notoriously studio-bound four-piece had never before embarked on such an extensive live tour. Culled from ABBA's four-night stand at the storied London venue, Live at Wembley Arena features 25 of the group's songs including such well-known cuts as "Knowing Me, Knowing You," "Waterloo," and "Dancing Queen." Also showcased are such less-appreciated numbers as "If It Wasn't for the Nights," "Why Did It Have to Be Me," and "Summer Night City." Also included is the previously unreleased song, "I'm Still Alive." While ABBA were primarily known for crafting their infectious, pristinely produced pop in the studio, they were also a superb live outfit who could reproduce their multi-voiced harmonies on-stage with enthusiastic precision. Add to that the attention to detail with which the group's backing ensemble re-created their complex, layered arrangements and you have a supremely listenable, anthology-like concert experience. Which isn't to say that ABBA played robotic by-the-numbers versions of their songs. On the contrary, these are rollicking, exuberant performances that reveal a band not only indebted to their fans, but clearly just as passionate about performing their songs as they are about recording them. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Polar Music International AB

If it seems as though the familiar ABBA sound isn't present on this album, that's because there was no entity known as ABBA at the time that the earliest sides here were recorded. Growing out of an attempt by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus to record together with their respective companions, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida "Anni-Frid" Lyngstad, the first side cut here, "People Need Love," featured the two men singing just as prominently as the women, and was credited to "Bjorn and Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid." It was only after its release and the cutting of a further single, "Ring, Ring," that the more familiar sound of the quartet began to coalesce along with the idea of a permanent professional association. Unreleased in the United States until 1995, this album is more of a generic European pop release than an ABBA release; the music has several unusual attributes, including Andersson and Ulvaeus singing lead on several cuts, and also one original song, the moody ballad "Disillusion," co-authored by Agnetha Faltskog. Most of what's here is pleasantly upbeat Europop, with unusually good playing and a lot of spirit, all showing the influence of mainstream American and British pop/rock, including the late-era Beatles and early Elton John, and on the title track, a Phil Spector-proportioned production. Ring Ring was reissued in October of 2001 with extensive notes, state-of-the-art sound, and three bonus tracks: the single B-sides "Merry-Go-Round" and "Santa Rosa" (a smooth piece of California-style rock in the mold of the early Eagles) and the Swedish version of "Ring, Ring" (which charted number one in Sweden to the English version's number two spot). © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Polar Music International AB

Agnetha Fältskog faded into a quiet retirement in the late '80s, resurfacing with an autobiography in 1996 and then a collection of covers, primarily standards, called My Colouring Book, a 2004 release loosely tied into the popularity of ABBA's jukebox musical Mama Mia. Despite these projects, she never pursued a full-fledged comeback, not until 2013 when she released A, a collection of new songs written and produced by Jörgen Elofsson, that received a major multinational push. Elofsson wrote hits for Britney Spears, including the fizzy early sensation "(You Drive Me) Crazy," but the touchstone for A is his masterwork of pageantry, "A Moment Like This," the song Kelly Clarkson sang at the conclusion of the first season of American Idol. There are hints of disco here and there, most prominently on "Dance Your Pain Away," and a bit of pure pop ("Back on Your Radio" is a terrific statement of adult contemporary purpose), but for the most part A is straight-down-the-middle Europop ballads, the kind ABBA pioneered and the kind Fältskog still feels very comfortable singing. Throughout it all, she sounds strikingly robust -- she may not hit the high notes anymore but she never sounds thin -- and part of the credit should go to Elofsson, who crafts his songs and productions to showcase Fältskog at her best. Much of this feels familiar but not precisely like music she's made before. Rather, this is stately, sweet Europop, the kind that could have been released any time over the last 30 years, but it's given a warm, reassuring quality by Agnetha Fältskog, who retains an appealing, easy touch that separates her from her successors and still resonates all these years later. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Polar Music International AB

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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Polar Music International AB

To celebrate ABBA's 40th anniversary, Polydor released the 2012 compilation The Essential Collection, which includes 39 songs by the Swedish hitmakers and a 12-page booklet. The two-CD album is basically an update of the 2002 compilation The Definitive Collection, adding several Japanese A-sides to that collection's track list ("Bang-a-Boomerang," "That's Me," "One Man, One Woman," and "Happy New Year"). The Essential Collection is also available as a DVD with 36 music videos and promo clips (including two previously unreleased Spanish videos) and as a limited deluxe edition with both CDs and the DVD in a hardcover book containing a 24-page booklet with liner notes by ABBA biographer Carl Magnus Palm. © Christian Genzel /TiVo