ABBA: The Album, by ABBA
While it seems that ABBA has almost as many self-titled albums as Wheezer, I’m not aware of anyone calling their albums by their color names at least. In continuing our tour of ABBA studio albums to see if they can achieve the illustrious 5 album rule of all-time greats with five straight albums of 8/10 or more, we come to 1977’s ABBA: The Album, a rather short offering with only ten tracks, one of which is a remix of Thank You For The Music, meaning that there are only nine different songs here altogether. On the positive side, that means that this album lacks bloat, and that is definitely a quality that speaks in its favor. ABBA albums in general are known for being short and to the point, and this album certainly fits that bill, even if album opener Eagle–written about both the bald eagle and the 70’s band the Eagles, ends up being almost 6 minutes in length.
In terms of its contents, ABBA begins with Eagle, the aforementioned lengthy track, and then follows this with Take A Chance On Me, the best remembered track from this album. After this comes an ode to romantic love in One Man, One Woman, the tense The Name Of The Name, and the moving Move On. A rolicking rock track follows in Hole In Your Soul–an ode to rock and roll, after which comes the reflective and appreciative Thank You For The Music, and then another reflective song about love and wondering about the future in I Wonder (Departure). After these reflective songs comes the tense and anxious I”m A Marionette. The album then ends with the old-fashioned Doris Day Mix of Thank You For The Music, which sounds like it should be in, well, a Doris Day movie, so consider that a mission accomplished.
In evaluating this album, this is not only an album that lacks any songs worth skipping, but in fact does not have any songs that are less than 8/10 on it, at least in my opinion. This album is what is generally meant by all killer, no filler, as even the album tracks are very good to exceptionally so. So let us evaluate this album knowing that it goes beyond 4/5 to a well earned 4.5 or 5/5. Three tracks on this album have been well-remembered in “Take A Chance On Me,” “The Name Of The Game,” and “Thank You For The Music.” All of these songs hold up well as classic great ABBA songs. Among the remaining songs, “Eagle,” is a beautiful ode to eagles, “Move On” is my favorite ABBA song as a reflective ode to the urge of people to, well, move on, that resonates so strongly with me, and “One Man, One Woman” is a beautiful paean to marriage and romantic love. But it’s not as if any of the songs are short of very good to great, while the Doris Day mix of “Thank You For The Music” demonstrates ABBA’s ability not only to master the music of their own day but also earlier styles, as seems to be common among the band’s album closers in general. So if you’re keeping track, this is two albums of ABBA that meet to exceed the 5 album rule of all-time great acts.