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

For reasons I'll bring up with a therapist someday, I chose to listen to this:

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If you always wanted a hi-NRG version of Andante Andante, this could be for you.
 
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Stunnin'.

Average: 8.2826
Highest score: 1 * 11.00 - @Baby Clyde
13 *
10.00 - @nlgbbbblth @SecretsOfFatima @chris4862 @Mikey1701 @Sprockrooster @Mumty @AGiantSheep @Ed72 @Filippa @LTG @TrueBeliever @Uno @Remorque
Lowest score: 2 * 3.00 - @idratherjack @bichard
My score: 10.00

Eagle was written and recorded in 1977 during the sessions for The Album and the track apparently was an ode to one of the boys' favourite bands at the time, Eagles and the lyrics were inspired by Richard Bach's novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story. The track eventually was released as the opening song for its parent album.

In May 1978 however, the record company decided to release the song as a double A-side with Thank You for the Music to try and fill the gap that was left between Take a Chance on Me and what was to be a brand new track for the next album. It wasn't commercialy available everywhere though, as it was only released in few select countries such as Belgium (where it topped the charts), The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and South Africa (where it became a top 10 hit), France and Austria (where it hit the top 20) and Australia (where it suprisingly didn't even reach the top 80). It was released in the United States too, but was withdrawn as a single eventually.

Personally, I think it's a fantastic song and a true 'moment' in their discography. It's the longest track they've ever recorded, yet it doesn't seem to go on too much. I do think, however, that they fucked around a bit too much with the song for its various single releases. I completely understand them making a radio edit for a song that lasts nearly six minutes, but cutting off the instrumental middle 8, which makes it sound clunky as fuck, didn't really help the song's chart positions. In the United States they were even going to use an edit of the edit, making the song clocking in at about 3:30, instead of 4:25...

Anyway, enough about my OCD.

Let's get over to our esteemed panel of judges.

Mikey1701 calls it "Majestic, spellbinding and a tad haunting, the song perfectly encapsulates the sense of freedom and unlimited possibilities of being able to fly. On one level it’s an incredible song but on another, it is art. The lyrics are evocative, the production transcendent and Queen Frida gives it her all. This was an early indication of Bjorn & Benny’s theatricality and it’s all the more richer for it.". Beautifully put, sis. Yet I would actually give Agnetha a bit of time of day here as the girl tries her hardest.

To show that not everybody appreciates art the same way, here's bichard, who knows "a lot of ABBA fans really like this, but to me it's a right ol' bore. Almost like an extended intro that I can't wait to be over until Take A Chance On Me kicks in. Totally an instance of style over substance.". WhatKindOfKylie? is equally unimpressed and says it's "A decent enough attempt at a 70's soft rock cut. Whilst that type of thing doesn't exactly float my boat, it's still far from terrible, and is a good stand out amongst their other singles of the era.".

It's grow on Hudweiser through the years, as Eagle's "Another one I used to avoid, my short attention span couldn't allow almost 6 minutes of this slow moving song and I resented it for ages. Time has proven it to be an undertaking of massive musical craftsmanship with a guitar solo to die for. Even people who used to mock me for loving ABBA admitted this was amazing.". Putting this one as the opening track for The Album actually was a risk that paid off... tylerc904 asks us "What kind of moody opening moment??! Kinda ballsy considering their opening tracks up until this point.", with Mumty thinking it's "amazing they went from Dum Dum Diddle to this in less than a year.". The shift in sound was quite the departure, yes, but they weren't without their more fluffier songs this era either though...

Some of you put the word 'masterpiece' into your mouths when listening to this one, as Filippa calls it "One of their masterpieces...", chris4862 says it's a "Criminally overlooked masterpiece." and TrueBeliever states that "Every band has that one song that is an epic masterpiece. I think that Eagle is ABBA’s. It is mature, ambitious, and sublime. Every time I hear it, I transcend to flying over the wild west of the USA, flying over the beautiful Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks. One of the contenders for my 11, based on its merit alone, regardless of my personal connection.".

If you'd ask One Stop Candy Shop "to name as many Abba singles as I can, this would be one I'd forget. I don't know why, it's a glorious tune."... To help him out, here's constantino with a few references, saying "The intro is giving me Duran Duran-meets-Wild West and I’m here for it. Give me that stoic glam mid-tempo intro that I want. The chorus is absolutely stunning too, so glittery.". CasperFan, on the other hand, mentions the band this song was inspired by, guessing "Apparently trying to sound like the Eagles? Not keen on the Eagles but quite like this, not keen on the intro but once the vocals kick in I’m there.".

To ufint it's "Really, stunningly well produced. Majestic song, feels like soaring.", with SecretsOfFatima calling it "Simply stunning. Such a beautiful song." and kalonite stating "Gotta love that outro...". We do.
For Mina it was "A pleasant discovery. I enjoy the ambience of this track.", while for P'nutbutter "The subject of this song always creeped me out, is it about aliens or maybe shapeshifters?".
Speaking of shapeshifters, VivaForever is reminded "of the French & Saunders sketch where Madonna's trying to prove that she can dance as well as Britney and is all like "Hey I can lick a wall" except they're trying to prove their production can be as tricksy as progressive rock shit and they're all like "Hey we can write this song that sounds like an LSD trip."". I'd post the sketch for you all to watch, but couldn't find it immediately, seaux...

We'll end on poor ol' Sprockrooster who shows us he simply 'gets' the song...
"A true opus and reminiscent of Marillion, but then poppified. The production is a solid 10. The vocals are haunting, striking and powerful. The instrumental parts and dramatic vibe are the icing on the cake. The biggest discovery for me. Together with Thank You For The Music as it's b-side this is a killer CDS.".
Quite right until you got to that part where you're calling Thank You for the Music 'killer'.



The music video, directed by Lasse Halström, was seen to be quite groundbreaking with its effects and all...


...yet, personally, I think the video that was shot for ABBA: The Movie is a lot more pleasant to look at.


The song was performed on the German show Kultnacht...


...and again in Japan for their 1978 tv special ABBA In Japan.


OMG!!! I assumed this has gone ages back.

My grandad bought me Greatest Hits 2 for Christmas in like 1978 or something. I was about 4. Grew up loving this song. In my head it was a huge hit.

I remember when I got my first Guinness Book of Hit Records being totally shocked that not only wasn't it a hit it wasn't even a proper single??? To me it's always been one of their most iconic songs.

Absolutely glorious.
 
I cannot deny I am lowkey curious about the Hazell Dean covers.

It actually wasn't that bad. Girl has a stronger voice than most people who attempt it, and some of the interpretations are... 'brave', others just have a donk on them for shits and giggles. There's definitely been worse.
 
He/Him
25.

'...Guess I'm kind of flattered but I'm scared as well... Something like a magic spell... I hardly dare to think of what would happen, where I'd be if I fell...'
- Agnetha Fältskog in Under Attack -

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One of their most glorious and scary covers.

Average: 8.3696
Highest score: 3 * 11.00 - @idratherjack @WhatKindOfKylie? @Mikey1701
11 *
10.00 - @Uno @haps @Terminus @AGiantSheep @tylerc904 @CasperFan @WhipperSnapper @chris4862 @SecretsOfFatima @nlgbbbblth @Remorque
Lowest score: 1 * 4.00 - @kalonite
My score: 10.00

Oh wow.

Y'all really did this, eh...

I bet all three of the 11 givers are fucking fuming right now.

After The Visitors Benny and Björn set out to work on what would have been their 9th album, but, as the circumstances in the working environment were so hard and tense, they decided to put out a compilation set that would later be titled The Singles: The First Ten Years. There would be two new songs on it and Under Attack was one of them...

The song was written and recorded in August 1982 and was eventually released on the compilation. In December that same year the song was released in the United Kingdom, reaching a meagre no. 26 in the charts. However, in February of 1983, the song was released worldwide in what would ultimately be their last worldwide single release...
Though it reached the top three in Belgium (KWEENS OF TASTE) and the top 5 in The Netherlands, it didn't set the charts alight anywhere else... It reached the top 15 in Poland, Ireland and Switzerland, narrowly missed the top 15 in Finland, narrowly missed the top 20 in Germany and didn't even enter the top 40 in France. In Australia, where the group's popularity had reached iconic status a few years prior, it nearly missed the top 100 overall, reaching a low no. 96.

I fucking adore this song. From the layered vocals during the chorus, Agnetha's strong performance during the verses, that note at the end of the second chorus and Benny's excellent piano work, it's one of their best from that later period of their career. I couldn't believe what I was seeing when this went from standing strong in the top 10 to what eventually became #25.

SecretsOfFatima says it best, actually... "A great example of how ABBA’s sound could have evolved yet remained true to them in the new decade. Truly a fitting end to their official singles run.". 't Is, sis. And what a glorious run it was...

CasperFan admits he loves "the later ABBA sound more than any era- just love the electro pop they were hinting at and would’ve loved to see what a full new album would’ve been like. Love the vocal effects on the verses and the catchy as hell chorus." and I wholeheartedly agree. They had become so much more that what they were always slated for...
For TrueBeliever it "Could have been a 10, if it weren’t for the song’s languishing intro. Once it kicks in, it’s a stellar song. I adore the chorus – certainly one of their best, lifting up the rather pedestrian verses.", yet I think the intro builds up quite nicely... And we disagree completely about the verses. Agnetha's paranoid performance definitely adds to the ambience of the song.

While chris4862 calls it "One of their best ever...", Mina thinks it's a "Strong single, but not one of my personal favorites." and P'nutbutter can "hear the 80's influence in this track, which hinders it a little. Still extremely strong and I love the verses.".

It's "One of" VivaForever's "early ABBA favorites."and ufint tells us "That chorus goes OFF.", then wonders "When will your current faves?", but constantino's a bit puzzled, admitting "I’m not over the disconnect between the title and the track itself - I was expecting urgency and energy and what I got what spacey hooks and dreamy vocals.". But... Together with the spacey hooks and dreamy vocals, there is urgency and energy?

While poor ol' Sprockrooster only thinks "The middle-8 is lovely. That's all." and Filippa tells us it has a "Nice melody but somehow, they lost it.", here's tylerc904 to balance things out, admitting he "was late in my love for this one, it wasn’t until about three years ago that its brilliance clicked with me. I love the interpretation that the “attack” is emotion taking over.".
To bichard it's "Better than the other single from The First Ten Years, but still nowhere near ABBA's best. The chorus has hints of their formative magic, but the verses really let it down. A bit of a whimper for such a phenomenal band to end on..." and Mumty gives the group a backhanded compliment with "Even when ABBA decides to be a bit faceless, it’s still brilliant pop.". Faceless, sis?
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"Of the 1982 recordings" Hudweiser's "least interested in this and its B-side equally. As a child before lyric sites, books, et al, I had a hard time sussing out what they were even singing in the choruses and I guess that disappointment of denied access has stuck with me. It's very album-tracky is all, but of the songs they had available, I guess they had their reasons...". I, personally, always thought the muffled voices in the chorus actually added to the song, in a kind of "there-are-way-too-many-voices-in-my-head-and-I-don't-know-which-one's-correct"-kinda way...

LASTLY...

I'm giving the stage to the three vocal queens who gave this their 11.

Mikey1701?
"I can see why Under Attack can be divisive: It’s not as bold or as experimental as ABBA’s latter-day output but at heart that is cherished by a lot of the fans (myself included) but at heart I’m a basic bitch with basic tastes and I love a pop banger. ABBA’s swansong single recalls their earlier years and marries it against the emergence of synthpop and while it was outdated in the face of bands like Depeche Mode and The Human League- it’s still a fucking great song. Also: Queen Frida’s purple rinse and chunky knitwear aesthetic in the video gives me LOIFE."

WhatKindOfKylie?
"How to choose an 11 out of so many fantastic contenders, was such hard work. But, in the very end, it could only be this. Under Attack first became aware to me via seeing Mamma Mia! live on stage in my home town this time last year. I'd always been aware of it of course, but just like the equally brillant The Day Before You Came, I had stupidly written it off as one of ABBA's final two 'doom and gloom' singles. How wrong I was!!! As soon as I heard it properly, I LOVED it and this rate has only made me love it even more. What a way to go out on, almost such a tease for where they could have gone next, with the 80's how fully upon us. Forever their very best moment. Thanks for this ABBA, just in time before you did disappear..."

idratherjack?
"My 11! This song has it all - amazing synthpop production, strong melody, amazing harmonies, brilliant use of vocoder before Cher invented it and Frida with a purple rinse in criminal knitwear. What more can you ask for? I especially love the final shot of them all walking off into the sunset at the end..."

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The video for the song was filmed in an empty warehouse, where the members act either fishy or paranoid, depending on who you're seeing. At the end you can see them walking into the distance, marking the end of the group...


During 1982 the song was performed a couple of times to promote their The Singles: The First Ten Years compilation....

...on the German television show Show Express, with Björn showing off his German and Frida her, erm... dancing...


...and again on the Swedish Nöjesmakinen...


...and again on The Late Late Breakfast Show, which would be their very last performance as a group.


 
He/Him
The song is performed during Mamma Mia!: The Musical, yet was not featured during the 2008 movie adaptation of it...


The song was performed live by Magnus Carlsson in 2002.


Abbacadabra also released their Hi-NRG version of the song...


...and Matt Pop also remixed it as part of his stellar 80s ABBA reworks.
 
D

Deleted member 312

Under Attack is good, but still only a 7 when put into the context of the rest of ABBA's material. Still, I'd rather Waterloo, Dancing Queen and The Day had gone before it.

I'm totally surprised my 11 is still in. I wonder if it'll make the top 20...?
 
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