The Winner's Gonna Take It All: The final...


'...Like a doll... Like a puppet with no will at all... And somebody told me how to talk, how to walk, how to fall...'
- Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad in I'm a Marionette -


Those outfits were everything.

Average: 7.1413
Highest score: 6 *
10.00 - @TrueBeliever @kalonite @Gotnomoretosay @Sprockrooster @SecretsOfFatima @Angeleyes
Lowest score: 1 * 1.00 - @dancingwithmyself
My score: 7.00

A lot of you were asking for its head and well, here it is... We lose I'm a Marionette, The Album's closing track at #52. Written and recorded in 1977, it was part of their mini-musical called The Girl with the Golden Hair, which only has one song left standing, in the form of Thank You for the Music. In said musical, the girl had left her hometown to search for success in the city, but... Well, I'll let the puppet master explain:

The above performance is the one featured in ABBA: The Movie which was filmed in Australia in 1977.

I quite enjoy this one as the production is fantastic, it features an exquisite guitar solo and the girls' performance is one of their most underrated. The harmony they deliver on the studio version is great and the way they brought this live showed that they were forces to be reckoned with as live performers...

Our top scorers were actually quite vocal this time.
SecretsOfFatima finds it "Flawlessly dramatic. The instrumental is a gift from the heavens.", while kalonite thinks it's "The best kind of messy. This is Final Fantasy grandiose melodrama and I am loving it. This is my DISCOVERY of the rate.". I actually thought this would have bowed out a little while ago, so hearing you guys enjoy it so much is warming my poor little wooden heart.
TrueBeliever offers us quite a statement... "If you don’t love this song, you don’t love music. Pretty perfect as far as a pop song goes. It’s driving, dramatic, and downright whimsical. Perhaps an inspiration to the theme song for Hart to Hart?"... I'll let you be the judge of that.

Seaux... Let's hear from those kinda people who apparently hate music, eh?
It doesn't do anything for CasperFan... "Might sound better as part of a musical but not on this album. Quite dramatic I suppose but will never be on my ABBA playlist.". Filippa says "Not mine.", so I'm inclined in thinking she's agreeing.
For Hudweiser, that "Guitar solo aside, very little going on I'm interested in here. The girls sound a bit robotic (fitting with the theme, I guess) and the chorus sounds clunky and eratic. Probably *too* stagey for the era and the right choice to be the last track on Side 2 where it didn't get in the way too much.". Yes, those 'robotic' vocals actually suit the song to a T for me...

VivaForever thinks it's "A good tune, but the dissonance is so much that it's super hard to listen to." and idratherjack loves "the verses but by God that chorus does my head in.". I know it's kinda difficult to listen to in the beginning, but after a while you start to accept its kookiness.

constantino, on the other hand, ooooohs "I love how sinister and dramatic this is. Let me HAVE IT!". P'nutbutter truly feels "the gay side of my sexuality takes over with these songs." and the same goes for WhatKindOfKylie?... "Love it when ABBA goes all dramatic on us! This could almost make a good mash up with the divine Money, Money, Money.". Yes, he actually did give out some reasonable scores after all...

Mikey1701 thinks it was tailor-made for the theatre...
"Less a pop song than it is a song built for the West End or Broadway, I’m A Marionette is the perfect example of Benny & Bjorn carefully toeing the line between pop and full blown theatricality- with it often teetering towards the latter. It’s both kitsch and unsettling, it’s crashing production and harmonies marking it out as spellbinding, still it feels a tad out of place in the tracks from The Girl With The Golden Hair, which are softer, warmer and more ‘pop’.".
For me, the fact that this is less warm and soft makes it work in the context of the mini-musical. This is where the girl starts having difficulties and is faced with the struggles of being in the bidneth.

...And while we're talking about girls struggling in the business... Mina can just imagine "Agnetha snuck into the studio while Benny and Bjorn were indisposed and penned these lyrics.". She must have fucking hated this time in the band, what with ABBA-mania at its peak and touring the world.

It's easily the best of the musical numbers for bichard, yet "it's still missing something in the chorus. Still, the verses totally fuck butt. The Album is obviously a transition record for the band, and unfortunately suffers for it.". To Mumty this song came as quite a surprise... "Ooh just as we are finishing up the action ramps up to 100. I love this, so dark, eery, almost like a precursor to The Visitors.". I actually kinda hear it too... It could be a prequel to I Let the Music Speak.

chris4862 calls this a "Demented bop.", while ufint calls it a "Frightening and dreary album closer.". They gave it an 8 and 9 respectively.

We'll end with poor ol' Sprockrooster, who feels "so weird handing out so much 10s on one small album, but this one deserves it too. That chorus is absolutely brilliant. Followed by a guitar solo and you can consider the deal sealed.". Yes, one of his favourite ABBA albums is the one most of you have down near the bottom of your lists... Anyone surprised?

In 2013, Swedish heavy metal band Ghost released a cover of the song as the B-side of their single Secular Haze, and later included it on the deluxe and Japanese editions of their album Infestissumam
I was watching all kinds of ABBA documentaries on YouTube when I first got into them. I only knew Gold for awhile, and there was one particular documentary that played clips of Tiger, I'm A Marionette, and The Visitors, among some of their other lesser known songs (I think the first two were clips from the Movie) and I was stunned. I couldn't believe the same band that made Gold had made these songs, and it was really the driving force in what rushed me into checking out the rest of their discography (I say rushed because I'm pretty sure I would have checked the albums out anyway). I'm A Marionette and the accompanying live footage haunted me, and I loved every second of it. It will always be special to me for that reason. The clip in the movie still gives me chills. "She got what she wanted... and YET... she feels like a MARIONETTE!!" *INTENSE RUSHING PIANO*

I bloody adore 'Marionette'!!! Only ABBA could get away with it!

Plus since Rhombus posted that Penelope Thunderbirds gif over in Random Thoughts in connection to it, that's all I can think of.
I think the reason for my Frida love - bar the (I hate this word) 'underdog' leanings I have in most situations - is that her early years are quite similar to those of my Mom, who also lost her mother very young and was ejected into boarding school by the classic wicked stepmother.

My Mom only met her step-siblings for the first time at the funeral of their father about 15 years ago. My Mom's singing and foil-collars are lacking, but she did marry a chubby guy with a beard. I'm clearly clutching at straws for drama.

Anyway. Frida! Frida! Frida!
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'...You and I can share the silence... Finding comfort together the way old friends do...'
- Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad in The Way Old Friends Do -


I'm sorry for the above picture, but I just got the feels.

Average: 7.1739
Highest score: 9 *
10.00 - @One Stop Candy Shop @LTG @Sprockrooster @tylerc904 @Mikey1701 @P'NutButter @WhipperSnapper @chris4862 @Remorque
Lowest score: 1 * 2.00 - @WhatKindOfKylie?
My score: 10.00

The Way Old Friends Do was a song the group played at the end of their shows during the 1979 world tour, before the encore of Dancing Queen and Waterloo. It made for a proper 'moment' especially when watching it back. The group decided to include it as the closing track for their 1980 album Super Trouper, but instead of recording it in the studio, put out the live version instead. A studio version has never appeared.

The reason I included the picture above is because when relistening to the song for this write-up, I was looking covers of when the song was released as a promotional single in 1993 to promote the release of
More Gold. Instead I stumbled upon their reunion photos from when the group performed it last year and got a case of the *feels*. I'm feeling like a melancholic mess at the moment, so I apologize if this write-up comes across a bit shaky...

Y'all are wrong for throwing this out at #51.
Just sayin'.

P'nutbutter's correct in stating it's an "epic closing track, seriously this album is outstanding!". It never fails to take me there, I tell you.
Poor ol' Sprockrooster gets it right too when saying "God, they are so stellar live. This should be all kinds of monumental when you are there (and it is not even an iconic single).". I can only imagine the mess I would have been when witnessing this live during their imperial phase...

It was the closing track on More Gold too and Mikey1701 reflects upon that... "I always loved this at the end of More ABBA Gold and I even sang this live on stage with a chorus as a thirteen year old. The sentiment is lovely, even if there are a couple of duff lyrics- “and after fights and words of violence” is so clunky. I’m kind of glad there is no studio version of this because the live setting adds to it’s grandeur. Amazing.".
SecretsOfFatima, on the other hand, is disappointed we never got one... "Beautiful song (sometimes a bit cheesy) but why didn’t we get a studio version? A true injustice.".

It pains me to say that a lot of you weren't impressed in the slightest though.
Dear constantino just meh's "Meh. I struggle to form an opinion on this.", while CasperFan says it's "Not for me- a bit like Arrival but with singing!". This is ultimately better than Arrival, but do you.
To bichard it's "Another of the adult contemporary bores that blight the album, thus at least has the USP of being live. It's pleasant enough, but does feel a bit plonked. Does the song in the bit where the band are playing as the ship sinks in Titanic remind anyone else of this?". Yes, that is indeed another iconic moment in the history of recorded media, seaux...
TrueBeliever thinks it has a "Great vocal (especially live), teasingly dramatic, but ultimately boring song." and Baby Clyde hashtags "#BagpipesAhoy" before sighing "What a dirge...". I literally can't right now with you both.
kalonite, too, thinks it has "Great live vocals", before admitting "but I just can't stand accordions, synth or no.".
And we'll close this paragraph of HATE with ufint who asks "... What the fuck is going on in here on this day? Why did they decide to include this? No ma'am, no thanks.".

What has lowest scorer WhatKindOfKylie? to say for himself?
"Just a little bit too wet for my liking. Dated even back then, and sounds even more so now."...


Calling it "Pleasant, but the sound seems too orchestral/church choir-y to be ABBA..." is Mina, while Filippa thinks it has a "Nice melody...".

Hudweiser loves "that they stuck a live song on the end. In the day before CD, Lay All Your Love On Me faded into the applause, which was interesting (and annoying when trying to make a mixtape). A really nice sentiment about ABBA themselves as well.".
For tylerc904 it was "The last song on the album to really click with me, but it did big time. I know it’s said that the vocals were tweaked, per B&B’s usual “live” techniques, but it doesn’t matter. The combination of Agnetha and Frida will never be matched.". It won't. Simple as.

And keeping it simple is chris4862, calling it "Totally Immense.".
That's Immense, with a capital I...

A nice little introduction from Björn and Agnetha about them performing the song on tour at Wembley in '79, followed by said performance:

'Iconic' is the word you're all looking for.

One Stop Candy Shop feels the same way I do... "I don't think this will get many 10s, but it's been a favourite of mine since forever. And I loved that 2016 performance, especially Frida's part.".
Here is said performance. They sound shaky in the most charming of ways, so we'll forgive them and relive that proper 'moment' again when they reunited in Stockholm for a split second in 2016...
It was covered a couple of times too...
Hold on to your wigs, girls!

In 1981 by The Alexander Brothers... 1994 by The Kingston Trio...

...that same year by Philomena Begley... 1996 by Hazell Dean for her ABBA tribute album The Winner Takes It All...

...and more recently in 2009 by classical singer Faryl Smith for her debut album Faryl. Here's the performance she gave on GMTV.

Oh dear.

Deleted member 26234

That Frida and Agnetha sang this song in 2016 again was such a surprise. And their voices got older but are still there. I'm looking forward to Frida's Jazz-Version of Andante Andante which she is said to record with Arturo Sandoval ...

There are still songs around which got lesser points from me than The Way Old Friends Do like Lovelight or Tiger. So I am kind of sad that it's gone so soon although it could have been much worse. But could it be Lovelight next please?