ABBA–what can I say about them? They’ve had so many accomplishments throughout the years and albums made to perfection that they are now a household staple. For starters, the Broadway musical Mamma Mia! is entirely comprised of their hit singles. The band’s native Stockholm has a whole museum dedicated to them, literally called ABBA: The Museum.
There are also so many look-alike and tribute groups who sing their songs or imitate their sound. One time, one of my friends bought tickets to a concert, thinking they were seeing the real group, and got there to see an imitation. Legendary is one way to describe the group, and if you plan on ranking pop groups, they better be included.
The band’s fourth album Arrival can been equated to going through a day. As the sun rises, the album does something similar in opening with “When I Kissed the Teacher.” It has an acoustic riff plays that will stay in your head all day and cause you to be whistling it. Reminiscent a tad of Fleetwood Mac, the piano is an integral part of the song that ties together the pop like lyrics.
“Dancing Queen” follows, and it’s fair to say that it is ABBA’s greatest hit. It’s what brought this album to fame, as well as the group pushing them to breach the ceiling of stardom. After hearing it everywhere, I’ve learned that it’s fairly recognizable-even if you’ve never heard of ABBA, you definitely know the beat and tune. “And when you get the chance/You are the dancing queen/Young and sweet/Only seventeen” is my favorite line from the song. Not deep, not amazingly meaningful, but it strikes a chord with many and because music and dancing is a universal language, this particular song translates for so many.
Love is a common theme for this group, but this is one of the most melancholy message to date for them. Dealing with uncharted territory on breakup, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” is an interesting take on. Musically, it has the trademark repetition of one particular line in the chorus twice, and it often is the song title. Lyrically, it is still more an upbeat take on a relationship ending. They accept it as a part of life, unlike later songs that come with the divorce of group members. One of their most successful singles, it was a penchant that they gathered later to include more “depressing” songs (at least sad for ABBA) like “The Winner Takes It All.”
“Money, Money, Money” is a hard song to critique. Talking about “It’s a rich man’s world”, it’s difficult to discern whether or not they are criticizing wealth or just wishing they had it-if you only listen to the chorus. Taking a deeper look, it discusses a woman wanting a rich man to pay for her and thinking about all the perks she could have, if only there was a penny left for her. Keeping in line with other pop songs, it speaks to the way money controls the happiness in our lives. I don’t think their intent was for anyone to look to deeply past the lyrics as they tend to be a little shallow as pop songs often are, but it does allow for some thinking and room to expand upon.
Finishing up the tracks includes “Tiger.” It’s another fast tempo song that speaks on the power someone has. ABBA tends to be self-explanatory in their songs, which can be good-it allows for dancing and listening to great instrumentals and singing, all which they execute flawlessly. If anyone asks to listen to a solid, iconic album, they should be directed towards “Arrival.”