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Daniel J. Hamlow
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Finishing up third in the Eurovision Song Contest doesn't necessarily mean chucking in a prospective music career. That's what Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog, and Anni-Frid (later Frida) Lyngstadt, the pair of married couples found out after what would become the title track of their debut album, despite it being very popular with the fans, did just that. However, that debut eventually made them one of the biggest groups in the 70's, taking them up to the early 80's. (Note: all songs sung lead by Agnetha unless otherwise noted).
There are two versions of "Ring Ring" here, the Swedish language version and the English language version, the former which at one time, topped the Swedish charts while its English counterpart, with English lyrics contributed by Neil Sedaka, was at #2 and the album being at #3. (Note: I don't know if it's that way still now, but back then, Sweden's chart was of singles and albums combined.) Both versions though have the infectious pop melodies, harmonies by Agnetha and Frida.
Not all of ABBA's songs were the cheery danceable pop songs like the later "Waterloo" or "Mamma Mia." Bjorn sings lead on the sad farewell of "Another Town, Another Train", while the chirpy mellotron contributes to the melody. "Disillusion," the only song with an Agnetha co-contribution, proved their worth at sad "the love is gone" songs, with only the guitar or keyboards to accompany them. Surprisingly, any expected swirling of strings don't come.
"People Need Love," with a peppy beat and "la la la" that recalls Elton John's "Take Me To The Pilot" features all four on harmonies or trading verses and has some silly yodeling by the ladies at the end. This one got to #17 on the Swedish chart. Bjorn sings its B-side, the mid-paced song of loss, "Merry-Go-Round."
Bjorn's "I Saw It In The Mirror" is another slow song with backing from a mellotron, bass, and drums. With a little more instrumentation and production, this could've been a good single.
Who is "Nina Pretty Ballerina"? Just another woman in an office by day, but at night, the queen of the dance floor. Another song that became a single in other countries. Curiously, in the first ABBA reissue, this was tacked on the self-titled one, as was "Ring Ring."
"Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)" has Bjorn and Agnetha sharing leads. There is a point when some intense instrumentation comes in with Agnetha's voice, which is something used in "Mamma Mia," for one.
Frida sings lead in the skippy "Me and Bobby and Bobby's Brother" which melodically could've been a country song with different instruments. Some ABBA songs lean towards country, such as the later "I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do" and "Why Did It Have To Be Me?"
The latter-day Beatlesque "He Is Your Brother" extols a life of compassion towards one's fellow man. Its B-side is "Santa Rosa," a nostalgic longing for one's home there. Bjorn and Agnetha sing verse 1 and 2 respectively. "She's My Kind Of Girl" by Bjorn resembles 60's Brit-pop, while "I Am Just A Girl" is missing a steel guitar to become a country ballad. Happy trails!
Not a bad start, as releases such as the self-titled release, Arrival, and Super Trouper would be among their best. With more mid-paced songs and ballads and without the production and vocal arrangements that became tighter as time went on, Ring Ring serves as a look at how the Swedish quartet started.