ABBA. My top 20 songs. | The Popjustice Forum

ABBA. My top 20 songs.

Discussion in 'Comeback corner' started by The Visitor, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. As you can see from my username and avatar I'm a bit of a fan of this group, not only for the fact that have the finest collection of pop songs under their belt, but also the way that they have influenced artists that came after them. Blimey, it's almost cool to like them now.

    Thought I'd run through my favourite top 20 songs of theirs in alphabetical order. Don't know if this is the kind of thing to go in here, but I'm sure someone will point out my error if it isn't. Feel free to comment and disagree- especially if you think something really shouldn't be in here, or something really should.
  2. 1. Angeleyes.

    Released as a double A side with Voulez Vous in August 1979, this was the third single from the Voulez Vous album. Originally it was the more promoted of the 2 songs (in fact it was included on the 1979 Greatest Hits Volume 2, whereas Voulez Vous was left off), but over time Voulez Vous has become more famous, possibly due to the fact that it was covered by Erasure on their 1992 chart topping ABBA-esque EP. This may explain how the song was releagated to More ABBA Gold in 1993.

    The song itself is a mid tempo disco number featuring a shared vocal by Agnetha and Frida, and along with Voulez Vous, was the last single release in the UK to feature this arrangement. You know you are in for a treat as soon as you hear the "aha ha" introduction. It's another one of those ABBA gems where the happy melody of the song hides the darker side of the lyrics where the singer is reliving the feelings for an ex-boyfriend whom she sees with a new girlfriend.

    "......and the look that he gave her made me shiver,
    cos he always used to look at me that way,
    and I thought maybe I should walk right up to her and say
    aha ha, it's a game he likes to play"

    Apparantly Benny and Bjorn are not too fond of the track and it remains one of their lesser known songs, despite being a top 3 UK hit.
  3. 2. Dancing Queen

    Their most famous track, and biggest hit in the UK, and I think overall. It was their only #1 song in the USA. The trouble with Dancing Queen is that is just too famous. It has been played at every wedding and party that I have ever been to. Can anyne honestly say that they don't know instantly what the song is just from the 1 second piano glissando introduction?

    It's one of the songs I had real difficulty in justifying it's position in my top 20 ABBA songs, mainly as their are so many more deserving, less well known songs. However it is their signature tune, and is a great uplifting pop songs with the most amazing vocal performance from Agnetha and Frida. The range of the vocals is immense especially from the end of the verses which are almost in the doldrums, to the start of the chorus, where it soars up in to the Gods. So to not include it would be stupid, especially as it's Frida's favourite ABBA song.

    PS. If I'd been born 2 days earlier, this would have been the #1 song. Instead I get some shite called Pussycat. Still at least ABBA had the #1 album.
  4. Can you not just do a list?
  5. Haha. Ok

    Dancing Queen
    The Day Before You Came
    I've Been Waiting For You
    I Am The City
    Knowing Me, Knowing You
    Lay All Your Love On Me
    Like An Angel Passing Through My Room
    Mamma Mia
    One Of Us
    Should I Laugh Or Cry
    Slipping Through My Fingers
    Super Trouper
    Take A Chance On Me
    The Visitors
    Voulez Vous
    When All Is Said And Done
    The Winner Takes It All
  6. Have never understood the love for 'Should I Laugh or Cry' - it's just so...not ABBA.

    I think it'd be easier for me to do a bottom 20, it's nay possible to only have 20 favourites when it comes to ABBA.

    I love everything bar:

    I Saw it in the Mirror
    She's My Kind of Girl
    Sitting in the Palmtree
    Watch Out
    Man in the Middle

    Notably from their early 'finding their feet' phase. Everything else is practically perfection.
  7. If you've got a problem with Ulvaeus led vocals, and I don't blame you (his Swedish singing is so much better than his English), I hope focusing on the girls' vocals in Sitting in the Palmtree can help you appreciate that song more. If you had listed King Kong Song instead I would have agreed with you, but the awkward dreamlike qualities of Palmtree are such that I still find it really good. (It helps to have good memories associated with it.)

    Since so many PJers have put down The Day Before You Came as a favourite I want to point out that it's a bit them stealing from themselves. Agnetha had a minor hit in 1975 with a song with the same "ordinary day" theme, written by an outsider lyricist. It has a different resolution though. Abba's take on it is more predictable, but that's probably for the better. (Here's a lower-quality clip, but with translation.)
  8. King Kong Song has a good tune, the vocals are quite inaudible though. I liked that they tried their hand at rocking out in those days. 'Tis a shame Rikky Rock n' Roller never amounted to anything.

    Bjorn's later leads were much, much better (even his talky bit in Move On), but it's more about the folky-ness of those early recordings, they're a bit drab for me.
  9. I hadn't heard this Rikky rock n' roller before. Is it just me, or does it sound exactly like Meatloaf would do a couple of years later? The singer, Jerry Williams, was on the same bill as The Beatles both in Hamburg in -62 and in Sweden in -63. I can't imagine Abba doing it much better than that. But like you I like it that they actually tried to be a bit glam-rock early on, even if the results were quite ridiculous.

    As for Bjorn's folksy drabness - in a song like Another Train, Another Town I think his singing is too weak rather than too drab, and gets overpowered by the girls in the chorus. Is that maybe the kind of things you're talking about, even if you perceive it differently? His Hootenanny Singers singing is stronger than that, but still often too genteel, of course.
  10. That about sums it up... His voice was better suited to his later leads; Why Did It Have To Be Me / Does Your Mother Know / Two for the Price of One etc... But, as you say, going up against the Agentha/Frida blend is practically vocal suicide.
  11. I always feel cheated by a Bjorn vocal. I think I read that he felt Does Your Mother Know would have been better with one of the girls on vocal. The Visitors would be perfect if it wasn't for Two For The Price Of One.

    The only song I just can't abide is I Saw It In The Mirror- there is just no excuse for how dire that is.

    Anyone have a copy of Another Morning Without You (earlier demo of Like An Angel Passing Through My Room, with solo parts from both girls)? I have a dodgy copy of Just Like That, but am lacking some of the very rare ones
  12. Oh no, I LOVE Two For The Price of One - it's so sad and pathetic really. That whole album could have just been 10 tracks and would have been absolutely perfect. Should I Laugh Or Cry and Under Attack are probably my other favourites from that album. Wittling their whole catalogue to 20 tracks would be hard, and I always think the 'more ABBA gold' tracklisting could have been a lot stronger - they're the type of artists, I think, that are going to get most of their sales from compilations nowadays anyway, so using first-rate album tracks such as One Man, One Woman would not have done them any harm.
  13. I'm just going to give my top ten (in alphabetical order as well!)

    Dancing Queen
    Knowing Me, Knowingh You
    Money Money Money
    Summer Night City
    The Name Of The Game
    Under Attack
    Winner Takes It All
  14. Never heard of the demo under that name - was that the one down the 'Lay All Your Love on Me' disco route?

    I have a disc of various versions of 'Just Like That' but the ABBA ones aren't great quality. There's an okay version of 'Under My Sun' around as well, can't recall if it was before or after it became 'Rubber Ball Man' (or vice versa).

    And yes - 'I Saw it in the Mirror' is 2 and a half minutes of sheer pain.
  15. Loved listening to them to decide my favorites.

    1. Lay All Your Love On Me
    2. Lover (Live A Little Longer)
    3. Dancing Queen
    4. The Day Before You Came
    5. Should I Laugh Or Cry
    6. The Winner Takes It All
    7. The Piper
    8. Knowing Me, Knowing You
    9. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
    10. I've Been Waiting For You
    11. One Of Us
    12. Super Trouper
    13. When All Is Said And Done
    14. Andante, Andante
    15. Waterloo
    16. Head Over Heals
    17. Hasta Manana
    18. Hey Hey Helen
    19. Honey, Honey
    20. So Long

    16-19 all begin with H looks a little funny. Gosh I love them, still.
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