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

We're lucky to hear them in some ways - lots of other acts would never be given two entire albums (2.5 as some of ABBA is junk) to find their sound. Witnessing their plonky beginnings in the run-up to the masterpieces yet to come is a real privilege. Very, very few of their recordings are without some merit.

Except I Saw it in the Mirror. That should be returned to the hell dimension it came from.
 
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We're lucky to hear them in some ways - lots of other acts would never be given two entire albums (2.5 as some of ABBA is junk) to find their sound. Witnessing their plonky beginnings in the run-up to the masterpieces yet to come is a real privilege. Very, very few of their recordings are without some merit.

Except I Saw it in the Mirror. That should be returned to the hell dimension it came from.

I Saw It In The Mirror was my only zero from the first two albums, although there were a lot of other very low scorers.

In terms of ABBA, if you remove the two Bjorn leads and the abomination that is Intermezzo, it's actually a pretty quality album. I don't think I gave anything else on there below a 5, although there are a few middling scores. They were certainly beginning to find their stride in 1975.
 
He/Him
Over here the adult radio stations will play some of their big hits, but the popular ones only really play Dancing Queen.

Next cut will be coming in a few minutes!

Then I'll be going to Rome until Tuesday to get some well-deserved rest, if I do say so myself. These shifts at work are literally killing me.
 
He/Him
88.

'It's been kinda funny lately... You act like I was a stranger... I think you're beginning to hate me, but then you're a girl in danger...'
- Björn Ulvaeus in Watch Out -

abba-watch-out-dig-it-international.jpg

Frida's hair game wasn't always on point now, was it?

Average: 4.6848
Highest score: 1 * 9.00 - @Sprockrooster (I'm beginning to feel sorry for you, sis...)
Lowest score: 2 * 0.00 - @One Stop Candy Shop @Filippa
My score: 6.00

The b-side to the English language release of Waterloo falls at #88. Apparently it was recorded in 1973 on the same day as its A-side and was later released as the eighth song on its parent album. It features Björn on lead vocal duty, with the girls providing backing vocals and it's actually one of their more interesting vocal takes. Björn shows some personality and while the girls have had technically perfect vocals thoughout most of their career, they sound gritty and raw on this one.

It sounds filthy, the guitar riff is undeniably great and you wouldn't really know this was a Benny and Björn production if you wouldn't know that it was ABBA performing. It's their take on Deep Purple to these ears and I knew it would be kinda misunderstood on PopJustice.

Cases in point: our zero givers.
One Stop Candy Shop kinda gets it right, but also so very wrong... "Just awful. They were a POP band and shouldn't have bothered with this wannabe rock 'n roll crap.". Sis, I know they were a pop band, but they were still very much experimenting with sounds at this point and God forbid that a pop band would break out and release something totally different to everything else they released before...
Then we also have Filippa who talks about Frida again... "Oh my god³". Okay. Lemme quickly add you to my template under Sprockrooster's name for the lowest score, eh?

Talking about the good sis, this was quite the discovery for Sprockrooster as he tells us "A slightly darker rock jam, that I am all here for. ". Samesies.

Mina doesn't have patience for this, shaking ha head, uttering "Goes on for about 3 minutes too long.". That would leave us with just enough time to listen to that fantastic intro, yes.
CasperFan is of the same opinion, kinda shrugging "Apart from the intro not much to recommend about this song!".

I'm kind of impressed about Mikey1701's opinions on these earlier songs, because, instead of moaning about them sounding nothing like ABBA, he fucking nails it:
"It’s obvious from listening to the first two albums that ABBA used them as a means to explore different soundscapes as they tried to nail down their sound. Most of the time it doesn’t work out- who actually wants to go and listen to the Bjorn heavy debut album? (@bichard probably)- but this is one of the few times that the experimentation does succeed. I’m not here for Bjorn on lead vocals most of the time, but he (just about) suits this style and the girls backing vocals are typically great. While I’m glad that they didn’t take this route, I can’t help but be intrigued by this."
Great minds think alike, sis. So preach a bit.

I mentioned the interesting vocal production in the beginning of this post, but some of you really weren't here for it. bichard doesn't like the lead, telling us "Bjorn tries to be a rock star. His forced vocals are painful, but there's worse on the album.". Well, you're correct about there being worse. Meanwhile, GhettoPrincess doesn't like the girls' backing vocals, saying "The girls vocals on this are a bit too grating.". They're definitely of an acquired taste, but they suit the song really well.

Hudweiser thinks this sound like Waterloo as he says "Still trying to ape their Eurovis breakthrough sound. The growly vocals are impressive but not much else.". Sis, where does this sound like anything Eurovision though?

I don't really know what ads SecretsOfFatima sees on the telly, but he thinks "The opening sounds like the accompaniment to a bad Rimmel London ad. As for the vocals and screaming… again, they were choices.". Talking about screaming, WhatKindOfKylie? compares this to one of my 10's... "Very akin to the ABBA take on 70's hard rock as also presented in King Kong Song. The key difference being however, is this is far less (and thankfully) shouty, and it's chorus is quite strong enough. Would I go back to it again though? Probably not, but hey, it's ok!". This actually sounds a lot cooler than King Kong Song, but you're right. It is, indeed, okay.

TrueBeliever starts his commentary with a warning, but ends up a bit confused... "Watch Out, ears! ABBA coming for you Kiss-style. Definitely memorable, but I’m not sure if it’s in a good or bad way. A lot going on here, so needed a bit of editing. Probably the song that would get the casual listener’s attention the most, helping people realize that ABBA was not just a disco phenomenon."
You hit the nail on the head with that last bit.

Let's end with some love, shall we?
tylerc904 loves it, despite its flaws ("I find this so catchy and funky, I love it. I know it’s grating for many but I use."), constantino finds another superlative for Waterloo as an album ("C’mon grit! C’mon guitars! I had no idea this album was so eclectic!") and chris4862 is finally right about something ("Punk ABBA is such a trip!").

I definitely underscored this one with my 6.00, dammit.



Here's a live take from their 1975 concert in Eskilstuna:


ABBA tribute band Arrival also covered it (quite safely) for their First Flight album:
 
I'm really confused by @Sprockrooster'a scores.

If you're giving out 9's and 10's now where is there left to go when the material actually gets good. Unless everything from now on is a 10 how can this early stuff be marked so highly???
 
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I gave Watch Out an 8 I think but now that it's out and it doesn't hurt at all, I probably over scored it. Its a 6/10 if I ever saw one.
 
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