Graham Reid | | 1 min read
To be honest, I didn't get the appeal of Abba (beyond the obvious pop hooks) until the darkness in some of their songs was explained to me by Chris Knox -- whom I had never taken to have had much interest in them. I was wrong and he was enthusiastic -- and I still don't fully get it.
Certainly you can scan their song titles and get melancholy (Another Town Another Train, Disillusion, People Need Love, Love isn't Easy and I Am Just a Girl were all on the Ring Ring album, the title track of which someone once told me was about a hooker . . . but that's just crazy talk.)
And you can also take your hat off to their songwriting craft. Writing a hit single isn't as simple as many think (if you think it, then just have a go) and these people were a tank-machine when it came to chart damage.
So yes, Abba have a lot more going for them than perhaps I ever gave credit, but there is also a lot of Euro-pop filler on their albums. Equally however there are songs scattered about which you are surprised others haven't covered, and not as pop songs but as kind of morose alt.folk. The lyrics -- as Mr Knox insisted -- can be rather glum.
My sole Abba album wasn't the famous Arrival album ( and what's with When I Kissed the Teacher on that one? Can we still do that?) but just some Greatest Hits thing which got badly damaged through overplay at parties . . . which tells you something I guess.
But at just $20 at JB Hi-Fi stores here this four-disc collection of Abba mops up just about everything you needed to know at a very accessible price.
And that is why, against the odds, this set in a flip-top card box joins the very looooong list of Bargain Buy albums.