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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Visitors

ABBA

1981

Wikipedia

The Visitors

Rating

3.14

Votes

3627

Reviews

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5

“The Visitors” by ABBA (1981)   This one stopped me in my tracks. I was predisposed to dismiss ABBA as mindless pop (which is not to say I haven’t listened to “ABBA Gold” countless times). But this album is much better than I expected.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of silliness in the arranging. It’s still ABBA. But this collection demonstrates a maturity in their musical sense that is more fitting for their undeniable vocal talents. Here we have pioneering digital recording with tasteful backing instrumentals, making good use of ‘instants of silence’ that have now become commonplace in recorded music. Full use of 32-track mixing.  And the vocal arrangements for which ABBA became famous (or infamous) now display a willingness to step outside the conventional. Moreover, the lyrics reflect depth, cultural sensitivity, and insight into horrifying geopolitical realities—from a Swedish [!] perspective. It gets better the more I listen.  For an example of ABBA’s insight into the international scene: “The album's title track [“The Visitors”], according to [ABBA songwriter] Ulvaeus, refers to the ‘secret meetings’ held against the approval of totalitarian governments in Soviet-dominated states.”  [Wikipedia, “ABBA”] Poland? East Germany? Czechoslovakia? Hungary? Puppets of the Soviet KGB were ”The Visitors”. And they were not amused by your ‘secret meetings’. So musically, is this how it felt in 1981 when the Stasi came around?  (Or the FBI after you used a credit card to make a 1/6/21 trip to D.C.?) And the fourth track, “Soldiers” gives evidence of a political awareness that is apt for 1981–a moment in time when the less powerful western European nations began to tell the bullying Soviet Union “Enough is enough”. With the 1989 destruction of the Berlin Wall, this crisis had a temporarily good outcome before it got screwed up again in the early 21st century, but it’s inspiring nostalgia nonetheless. “‘Cause if the bugler starts to play, we too must dance.”  NATO was not then a paper tiger, even if it seems to be today. I wonder if Taiwan has a ‘pop’ group like ABBA . . . [Full disclosure: This reviewer is a veteran of the Cold War.] Less politically, the verses in “I Let the Music Speak” have melodic lines with difficult vocal intervals, skillfully executed by lead singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad, with extraordinarily creative orchestral arrangement.  Theatrical, transcendent, sweeping.  “One of Us” is a well developed song of sadness, anticipating and executing the end of a failed relationship. The third listen brought a tear. Is the “us” the man and the woman, or the two persons within the woman?  You tell me.  “Two for the Price of One” is back to more gimmicky ABBA silliness, with a hilarious ending that can be taken in more ways than one, which adds to the humor.  And anyone who’s raised a child will be drawn in to “Slipping Through My Fingers”.  “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room” is simply beautiful—melancholic, evocative, poetic, symphonic, expansive. It is reportedly the inspiration for the cover art.  I’m going to stop writing now, and just listen.  5/5

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5

There are two types of people in the world. Those who love ABBA, and those who pretend they don’t love ABBA. I thought I was in the latter category, but this album makes me think I’m in the former. This is the first album of theirs that I listened to fully, not just the hits. I have to say it’s fantastic. I would love to listen to this again at some point.

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2

Opzich wel een goed album van ABBA, maar toch wel een hoog boomer gehalte

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2

I think I managed 4 songs before the wave of pop nausea overcame me. Like aural Kendal Mint Cake.

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5

My favorite ABBA album thank youuuuu

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4

I never give ABBA enough credit and dismissed them because they are so popular. But they are popular for a reason.

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4

I like this less than Arrival, but I really love Abba so I'm having a great time.

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4

ABBA write some of the best pop songs out there

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3

Don't think I've heard a whole ABBA album before, only heard the singles. The first track is very different from what I'm used to from them and I really like it. Almost like a Gary Numan feel to it at points. Second track kinda breaks the mood and is closer to what I'd expect. The slight Swedish accent is kinda endearing. Very clean and spacious sounding. As this is goes on, nothing is living up to the promise of the first track and it kinda goes downhill for me. "Two for the price of one" is a runner up though. Listening to the deluxe edition and I definitely like some of the b-side bonus tracks more than most of the album tracks, especially "I am the city" and "you owe me one" - way more fun and infectious.

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2

One stand out track. Poor album. Not worthy of the list.

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5

Definitely not what I expected, much sweeter and passionate tone than a lot of abba stuff because it feels more personal

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5

Una ópera pop en donde todo te suena, porque los has escuchado por todas partes sin darte ni cuenta. Qué sería de todos nosotros sin ABBA...

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5

ABBA 4 lyfe

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5

ABBA bringing me all the feels.

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5

One of the better ABBA albums, but it may be because I just like ABBA. I might be biased because I'm gay, but it's just one of those things. I love how the album comes together and her voice is something that I can never turn down. The orchestral touches to this album are also quite nice. Highlights: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

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5

It's just more ABBA. Which is a great thing in of itself. There's really not much to complain about in this album as it's a fantastic pop album. It's got a nice, powerful bass and synth chords that'll make you swoon. In addition, classic ABBA chorus is there. Favorite track: The Visitors

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5

Perfect album if you discount 'One of Us'

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5

Clean, pop perfection.

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5

I fuckin love ABBA

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5

This would've been the perfect swan song had ABBA not made a comeback this year. Easily their best album

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5

Already listened to this album in full before. I enjoyed it a lot but there are some tracks that I don't revisit as much. My favourites are Head Over Heels, One Of Us, When All Is Said and Done, Slipping Through My Fingers and The Day Before You Came. 4.5/5 stars but will bump it up to a 5.

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5

I'm so happy this is on the list! Anyone who thinks they know ABBA and haven't heard THE VISITORS have missed a major part of the ABBA story. This was their last album before their long hiatus. It was crafted as their group and their relationships were coming apart. Through it all every song sparkles with incredible craftsmanship, creativity and variety. The cover art shows the group dramatically shadowed entirely separate staring in different directions. It's a dramatic cover and a clear signal that this album will be a bit different... and maybe signaled their breakup to come. From the first notes breaking into pulsing synthesizers and Frida's dramatic delivery there is a clear change in tone over previous ABBA releases. I still get chills hearing it. "The Visitors" is a driving, paranoid opening with a great beat. ABBA can paint detailed, interesting images and tell such vivid stories in their songs, and “Head Over Heels” is one of many examples of this. "When All Is Said And Done" brings the breakups the group were navigating at the time to the surface. It's a great song that captures a level of maturity we should all strive for when our relationships end. "Soldiers" addresses the seriousness of war and is one of my favorite songs on the album. "Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing the songs that you and I don't sing." This remains a bit too applicable to the 21st century filled with war that went on for decades while most of us paid little attention. "I Let The Music Speak" is a tribute that shows the appreciation of music itself, a subject ABBA visits often. This song clearly foreshadows later work Benny and Bjorn would do writing the musical Chess. "One Of Us" is a heartbreaking song of the ambivalence that accompanies breakups made even more impactful when considering the circumstances of the group performing it. Such a powerful expression of regret. Things get a little lighter with "Two for the Price of One" where ABBA shows off their cheekier side in the story of a lonely man who answers an ad and gets more than he bargained for. Another exceptionally crafted song that tells a fun, delightful story. "Slipping Through My Fingers" beautifully captures the feelings of a parent seeing their daughter grow up. Really amazing song. "Like an Angel Passing Through My Room" is the last song on the original album and is a beautiful, meditative, wistful ending to the album. I love this song so much. The extra tracks released over the years have been a treat, some of them better than others. "Should I Laugh Or Cry", "Cassandra", "Under Attack", and "The Day Before You Came" are among my favorites of the new tracks. They've been some sustenance over the years... I also enjoyed the inclusion of "From A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel" on the Deluxe Edition that gives a peek into the evolution of a song. For newcomers, though, the album has more impact with its original ending. I have loved Abba since buying the Super Trouper album back in 1981 and remained a huge fan even as most of the world moved on. Abba has created some of the greatest pop music ever so it is a great relief that they are represented on this list. There are still plenty of music snobs who ignorantly dismiss ABBA without ever considering the intricacy of their arrangements or the emotional depth in these songs. I'm glad to see much of that has faded away. For me personally this is a particularly special opportunity to opine on THE VISITORS as part of this project a week before the release of their next new studio album - 40 years later! I am thrilled to share my deep feelings for this album knowing that this isn't their last and that ABBA will continue to enrich us with new music.

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5

I am a fan of ABBA, and I wasn't actually familiar with this album. I loved it...A LOT!

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5

The first cassette I ever bought for my new tape recorder was ABBA Greatest Hits Vol. 2 with money from Christmas 1979 in 6th grade. My mom helped me pick it out. I listened to it a billion times as I couldn't afford many other tapes and thus ABBA was my jam. When "The Visitors" came out in 1981 no expense was spared and I excitedly bought the new album (on cassette, of course). I remember being taken aback somewhat by the different tone of this music, which was a little less infectious than the compilation. The opening title track had a long, moody introduction, for example...but then 2 minutes in...oh yeah! Like a number of the songs on this album it has a cool build-up and transition. "When All is Said and Done" is a favorite and is the song that sounds the most classic ABBA, maybe, despite its theme of maturity (they were more than 15 years younger than I am now when they recorded it. Dang.) For forty years I've thought the voice on the phone in "Two for the Price of One" said "Al is waiting." It's still a fun song, nevertheless. Having listened to this album over and over in my youth, there's no way I can't love the whole thing to this day.

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5

holy shit, it’s been a while since I’ve heard an album where EVERY song slaps like a mother fucker this is a 12 out of 10, it’s honestly beyond perfect, good fucking golly

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5

I think I only knew ABBA's hits, so I thought of them as super poppy, sing-along band, but still very talented. This was unexpected and such an enjoyable listen.

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5

What a vibe. So many great songs on here with a good variety of moods.

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5

Great album, full of hidden gems.

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5

idk yet

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5

Great!

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5

look, i wore out my parents' CD copy of Gold like any obliviously queer teenager, but damn, i've been missing out on a whole discography!

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5

A ABBA album that, despite lacking huge hits and being less light in terms of lyrical content, still entertains massively and doesn't have a bad song over a great runtime of just shy of 40 minutes They never fail to bring good mood and cheer up

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5

This was surprisingly really good. I've never been a big fan of ABBA but this a major departure from their previous work.

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5

Pop perfection. I simply did not want this album to end. I'm a sucker for a good melody, and boy did this record deliver that in spades.

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5

This album is incredible. Very layered and catchy. I highly recommend it.

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5

ABBA seems only capable of doing one type of sound but that sound is wonderful.

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5

This album is so great! It really holds up!

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5

If there's one thing I know about music, it's that I fucking love Abba.

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5

abba's music is beautiful! i suppose this album isn't considered as good as their other albums, but i fell deeply in love with this album. it has everything from tender songs to their signature fun, pop-y songs. "one of us," a deeply autobiographical track, hurts me even as i sing along. "head over heels" is such a standout that it's shocking it flopped as a single. with every listen, i loved this more and more. easily five stars, with the hope more abba is on this list of albums.

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5

I love this album. For four decades it was ABBA's swan song and it is fantastic. Such great tunes. When All Is Said And Done is my favourite ABBA song.

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5

When All Is Said And Done, Cassandra, . The Day Before You Came

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4

1/22 Swedish "Devotion." Standout Tracks: When All Is Said And Done, I Let The Music Speak, Two For The Price Of One, Like An Angel Passing Through My Home

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4

Actually pretty good, I didn't know I could enjoy the overhyped ABBA

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4

Decent, not my type of music tho

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4

I like this album more than I thought I would. 4 stars

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4

I had no idea whether to rate this a 3 or a 4- The Visitors is a great opening track, and honestly I enjoy the most of the A Side? B Side not as much. I feel like it's the low-end of 4, but yeah, fuck it, I'll give it a 4!

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4

Even on an album where it's a complete body of work, they can still write absolute rockets. 'One of us' is officially my fave ABBA tune. Wow, what a feeling listening to this band.

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4

Erittäin positiivinen kokemus. Mielikuvat ABBA:sta koostui lähinnä puhkikuulluista hittibiiseistä, mutta nämä vähemmän tunnetut biisithän toimii oikein mainiosti. Levyn hitti One Of Us on myös eräs niistä vähemmän ärsyttävistä hittibiiseistä. Tätä tulee kuunneltua toistekin.

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4

I hadn't heard this particular ABBA before, but I'm into it!

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4

I love ABBA, but I've only ever heard the greatest hits. Super fun to explore an album, and it ROCKS!

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4

More depth than I expected; will have to revisit.

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4

abba is way better than i thought

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4

The birth of pop

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4

I honestly liked this way more than I expected to.

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4

Great

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4

Reminds me of Maddy strongly. 'One of Us'

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4

enjoyable.

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4

Yeah so a bit of Belgium craic I got really blocked with my mates a few weeks ago and did Slipping Through my Fingers on karaoke

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4

Abba goes nu-wave

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4

I love ABBA

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4

Listened to it off and on all day. The right vibe for just about anything.

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4

Only listened to one song, it was good.

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4

Geen nummers van ABBA die ze vaak op de radio spelen. Maar wel heel herkenbare sound. Heb er wel van genoten

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4

Nooit gedacht dat ik een volledig ABBA album leuk zou vinden.

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4

A B B A ! ! !

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4

I already know ABBA, there were less knnown songs, which I also enjoyed.

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4

This album, by Swedish Pop Sensation ABBA, is amazing, as all ABBA albums are!

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4

Not my favorite ABBA album but...it's still ABBA so 4 stars it is!

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4

Album Song Ranking: Should I Laugh Or Cry Slipping Through My Fingers (H.M.) Under Attack I Let The Music Speak (H.M.) The Day Before You Came (H.M.) Like An Angel Passing Through My Room The Visitors Soldiers When All Is Said And Done One Of Us Head Over Heels Cassandra Two For The Price Of One Additional Comments: This album was hard to rank. I really enjoyed it overall. The first half I didn't enjoy as much as I did with the second half, but it definitely left a mark on me. Very nostalgic and overall great album.

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4

At first I thought "second ABBA album this month, basically no hits again...", but this is amazing.

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4

darker abba? don't mind if I do

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4

For an album that has zero ABBA songs I've heard before, it was pretty good.

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4

Enjoyed this album more than I expected.

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4

A different sound for ABBA but the same result. Good stuff.

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4

I NEVER thought I’d vibe with an ABBA album this much, but alas this thing is great. Best song is that first tracks so good

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4

Party disco. Absolutely.

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4

I dig this. ABBA pretty consistently delivers and this is no exception. It's definite '80s glorious synth-cheese.

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4

it's pretty good

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4

Pop perfection.

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4

Great sad album, Dancing Queen this most certainly isn't.

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4

Abba is een van mijn all-time favoriete bands. Ik weet dat sommige mensen het zo ontzettend gay vinden, maar het is gewoon vrolijke no-nonsende muziek die verdomd goed in elkaar zit. Dan nu het "The Visitors" album ... Heel leuke elektronische snufjes in de liedjes, maar de echte Abba feel-good sound mis ik toch af en toe. Waarschijnlijk ook omdat de relatie niet meer zo goed was destijds. Het nummer "Two For The Price Of One" is het nieuwe pareltje dat ik dan toch weer ontdekt heb. ****

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4

Absolutely solid, Abba have undeniable songwriting skills shown throughout this album

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4

ABBA is amazing. Hands down. Known as their last released album, it went a different direction from their poppier, earlier stuff. But it was still artistically done with that amazing ABBA feel. An awesome album.

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4

Amazing. Couldn’t believe how much I loved this album.

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4

I actually enjoyed this, I was dreading it.

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4

Solid variety of style and themes but front heavy with the hits. Some experimental sounds and voice effects feel appropriate for the early eighties. They deliver upbeat as well as anyone but had some solid slower/reflective jams to. The visitors, head over heels, when all is said and done, soldiers, one of us. 3.5

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4

Great first half, weaker second. Still very enjoyable.

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4

You can't really get better than ABBA for pure pop perfection. No one has come close to touching what they created, even as pop styles continue to change. Nowadays you need a team of producers and auto-tuning to sound half as wonderful as they do, while ABBA just makes it sound so effortless. ABBA is always such a joy to listen to and this album is no exception. The songwriting is a bit more mature, along with a shift in musical style befitting a change of decade. The vocals are absolutely angelic. The arrangements are melodic and elegant. Musically, the vibe here is crisp and clear, very much in line with what was going on in the early 80s, maybe even a little ahead of the game. This album is a deep dive for anyone who hasn't gone further than the ABBA Gold hits, but what an enjoyable dive it is. It's unfortunate that songs this wonderful aren't more widely known. Fave Songs: The Day Before You Came, Cassandra, Under Attack, The Visitors

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4

I wasn't familiar with any of these songs but I thought this was a great album. Dramatic and interesting.

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4

I wasn’t sure at first but I do like this album. Bit more theatrical than their other stuff. Enjoyed Soldiers, slipping through my fingers

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4

I liked it, odd that I’ve heard almost none of this one. Wouldn’t call myself an ABBA fan exactly but it’s been around. It’s a good listen

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4

This was fun. Mostly these are songs I either don't know at all or don't know well. Stand-outs were the catchy, danceable title track and the theatrical I Let the Music Speak, a glimpse into what B&B had in store with the musical Chess (which I love). I didn't find much else that was very distinctive on this album but even a run-of-the-mill ABBA song is nice to listen to. I listened to the Deluxe edition with seven additional songs. I don't feel like those added much. A friend mentioned that he liked how the original album ended so I listened again, stopping at the end of Like an Angel Passing Through My Room, and I totally agree: that's how the album should end. There've been a lot of albums in this project where the version I find streaming is a Deluxe version and that's clearly not always good --- it matters how an album starts and ends and what order the songs play. This is a reminder to try to find the original version whenever I can.

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4

The more I hear this album (over the years), the fonder I get of it. Interesting part for me is with the tracks, midway the general tone changes, and I think about how vinyl LPs were the main distribution medium back then, the A-sides/B-sides. I wonder how much the distribution medium influences the end product... and how well that translates to 21st century music streaming.

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4

ABBA always sounds like they are having fun, which I love.

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4

Perfect for a grey dreary day.

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4

Pop de Abba. A veces parece un músical.

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4

Similar tone across songs, always upbeat. Classic

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4

4/5

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4

I can't keep on giving ABBA 5, but it's so tempting.

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4

Holy fucking shit The Visitors (song) is fantasmagoric! It’s so good, it almost ruined this album for me. No joke. The rest of the album is a let down from this track and it skewed my overall opinion downward. I re-listened to the album starting from Head Over Heels (track 2) and then added The Visitors to the end. A marked improvement psychologically. I totally understand why it’s the first track because it was the first thing one hears when playing the LP and people couldn’t skip around like we can today. They wanted to hook the listener from the get go. I hearby officially petition the next re-release of this album (it would be the 5th release) to consist of the original album, starting from Head Over Heels, and put The Visitors last. What a fucking way to end an album! The Visitors (song) reminds me of Goldfrapp’s Head First album, which by the way also kicks some major ass. Hellyeah! The rest of the The Visitors (album) is solid, other than I Let the Music Speak, but not elite. On their own, tracks 2-9 would be borderline 3-4 star.

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4

They sound a bit tired here. Everything is mid-tempo, a little sad and gloomy. But there are still enough flashes of the old magic to make this one worth a listen, even if it doesn't feel like the pop juggernaut of old.

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4

ABBA! There is so much range in this album. "Slipping Through My Fingers" still makes me cry sometimes thinking about my relationship with my mom :') Other favorite tracks: The Day Before You Came, Cassandra

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4

Visitor? I hardly know her!

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4

Very attractive sounding album, with some sweet melodies and creative lyrics (even if they're all about the same thing; dysfunctional relationships). Great record, but not the best collection of songs that ABBA had to offer.

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4

Underrated album but the greatest pop band in history

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4

love the visitors, should i laugh or cry and two for the price of one

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4

"Late-era" ABBA is kind of an enigma to me (and also not so late era now!). Lacks the hits and compulsive singalong quality of early ABBA, but they make up for it with rich melodies and complex beats. I'll take it!

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4

Identifying ABBA : it’s ABBA! Couple of hits and a whole Scandinavian easy listening experience

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4

I only casually knew Abba. Turns out I like them. This was a fun album and their vocals and music were great.

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4

This is another one I didn't expect to enjoy but did. ABBA are a hit or miss singles band to me but this album of theirs turned out to be halfway decent.

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4

Classic Abba with an 80s twist. Somehow it seems darker than their earlier work, with no clear mega hit, but it still provides that punch of top notch pop songwriting and production.

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4

Not got all the bangers but a couple!

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4

Not being an ABBA fan, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. No major hits here, but some enjoyable toe tapping pop, albeit sometimes a little overcooked, from a band with swagger and confidence. The opening and title track has some cool futuristic synth sounds with a pulsing beat, One of Us has a peculiar reggae sound which they just about get away with and Two for the Price of One - well I’m still working out what the track is about but I defy you not to sing along to the chorus by the end. A fun album.

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4

Much better than expected.

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4

very good album with interesting sounds.

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4

A weird pick for ABBA. This is one of their less popular ones with none of the big hits. But of course it's still good. My own mother would disown me if I spoke ill of this band. "Head Over Heels" and "One Of Us" are the standout tracks for me. The lyrics are darker than your usual happy poppy ABBA - both of the couples making up the band broke up, they were getting tired of working together and it's the Cold War. It made sense as their swan song. Until 2021. Haven't heard that new album yet. Heard it's nothing special.

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4

It feels wrong saying it, bit ABBA are a really enjoyable listen. Wouldn't add anything off this to their greatest hits, but did quite like "I Let the Music Speak" and "Slipping Through my Fingers".

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4

Rather somber for being ABBA, which considering the timing of this album it is not too surprising, but the music is still quite good. I think I enjoyed the darker tracks more than the typical poppy style ones, but I can't say I disliked any of it. Unfortunately only a few tracks that really are worth coming back to, though. 7/10

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4

Somehow I've never listened to ABBA, at least aside from the hits that we all know by heart against our will. This is really solid though, I did know a single song going in but I enjoyed quite a few. It's mostly good old-fashioned pop music, technically sound and often very catchy, and there's even some wildcard songs on here too. That kind of departure is always welcome in my eyes. I think the whole cult surrounding Mamma Mia had me avoiding ABBA like the plague, but I'm glad to announce that I think they're actually a good band and I no longer harbor any ill will toward them. In fact, I wouldn't mind another album. Favorite tracks: Under Attack, One of Us, The Visitors, I Let the Music Speak. Album art: I assume this is the band, scattered in a fancy art gallery type office. Their separation is telling because I think this was ABBA's last album for a while (40 years to be exact). Great shadows too, I like this one. 4/5 Favorite tracks:

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4

You have to love a bit of ABBA. Make sure to listen to the deluxe/extended version, the extra B-sides are actually some of the best material somehow.

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4

ABBA is pretty great and there were a lot of songs on this album I hadn't heard before. Not their biggest hits and a little bit more of a serious tone than their usual stuff. "Two For The Price Of One" brought back a bunch memories. I haven't thought about that song in a while but I listened to it all the time as a kid. Would not have been able to tell you who sings it before hearing it again on this listen.

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4

Not every track stands the test of time, but those that do are still outstanding!

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4

5/6/2022 - ALBUM #99 Today's Album: "The Visitors" by Abba - Abba is one of those bands for me that I never got into, but knew that as soon as I did I would probably dig it a lot. I knew the style of some of their bigger hits and just figured they were a pop band with great vocals and a soft-rock twist, but this album demonstrates some real song-writing maturity and has a lot of highlights. I think if there is one problem I have with this album, other than some songs just not peaking my interest as much as other, it would probably be with the overall flow of the record. I think the first track is pretty mediocre compared to a lot of the killer hits we get deeper into the record, and although I really like the closing track, it doesn't feel like a conclusion as much as just another one of the hits that they just happened to place at the end. It fades out in this really cheesy way that feels like it should be closer to the middle of the track list and it just sort of left an inconclusive feeling. Other than that, though, there are so many amazing tracks where the band is laying down an absolutely killer groove with lots of synths and electronic flourishes and the vocalists always giving top notch performances all around. I really like the track Two For The Price Of One. The groove is super funky, the chorus is absolute ear candy, and the vocal harmonies are absolutely beautiful. Like I said before, some tracks do sort of drag and really don't warrant their inclusion and given the 53 minute runtime of this project, all of them could have been removed and it still would have been a full length LP, but I really enjoy a lot of cuts on here and I would absolutely come back to this album. Overall, it's a really pleasant listen and was a great way to introduce me to Abba. Listen to this one if you aren't quite sold on Abba yet and I think you'll find they're pretty dang good. Highlights: Head Over Heels, When All Is Said And Done, Soldiers, I Let The Music Speak, One Of Us, Two For The Price Of One, Slipping Through My Fingers, Should I Laugh Or Cry, The Day Before You Came, Under Attack Score: 7/10 A bunch of great hits, but some minor pacing issues.

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4

Interesting

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4

Pop de Abba. A veces parece un músical. Un 4.

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3

Pretty decent to be fair. Don't think I'll go back to it.

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3

Good old reliable ABBA. Disco/dance from yesteryear.

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3

Decent enough. Missing the real bangers though.

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3

Not a fan of the “ensemble” types

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3

There are like 4 songs I know from ABBA and they were not in this album which I found very surprising. The album is OK, not my cup of tea but I enjoyed it.

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3

Wtf I like boys now

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3

Not one I’d normally listen to, but it was listenable

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3

unknown songs, familiar sound. harmony

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3

I really don't know Abba, but this album was actually pretty happy and sounded OK??? I wouldn't listen to it on my own, but I can see why people would like it. I was doing cheesy dance moves/swaying cause it just pushed me to. It's so earnest and so 80s. It also sounds very theatrical. I am kind of surprised by some of the songs like "I Let The Music Speak", it sounds like it's made for a play. Fun fact: The Visitors was one of the first records ever to be recorded and mixed digitally, and also one of the earliest in history to be pressed on the CD format in 1982. They sure do like their harmonies.

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3

The ABBA concept album? This one makes me want to get all meta about this listening project in general but I'm resisting. And maybe that's the most meta response of all?

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3

It was all right. One of Us is a true banger

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3

Great! I mean I had hesitation even though I know their hits. Will listen again!

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3

After listening to this album my feelings about ABBA remain neutral.

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3

This album is…strange? It’s almost got a feel like a musical.

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3

Un rato ameno

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3

they let the music speak allright but for to much loooong...

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3

Some songs are very catchy (particulary Heads over Heels), but overall the album is average. Not worth listening it all

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3

I enjoyed this more than Arrival. Glad I checked it out.

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3

Abba innit. Can't give less than 3

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3

ABBAkin pääsi yllättämään positiivissävytteisesti: ei ollutkaan pelkkää mamma mia -musikaalia, euroviisujytää tai mammojen voimabailubiisejä. Perusvarmalla suorituksella kolmosta kehiin!

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3

ABBA oli luokalla se, kuka oli aina positiivinen, kaikkien ystävä ja kävi koulun jälkeen auttamassa mummoja ostosten kanssa. Tykkäsin erityisesti levyn nimikkobiisistä. Hyvä levy, vaikka tuskin ikinä tämän pariin palaankaan.

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3

Bien, pero sin más

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3

I like Abba, but this album felt a little flat.

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3

meh

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3

3.5/5 it was interesting, relisten

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3

Unmistakably ABBA, but with added melancholy and more Chess-style orchestration.

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3

I'm not a huge ABBA listener but I respect their well crafted pop music. Great pop is like candyfloss - sweet, bright, satisfying, and capable of transporting you back to a carefree time. Now this particular album is their mature one, which contains none of the big hits and has a sombre, brooding feel. The music is good, the songwriting pretty consistent. It sounds good. But does anyone want grownup candyfloss? This isn't what most people are looking for when they listen to ABBA. I'm glad they made this album, but I'd still much rather turn to the catchier, poppier albums earlier in their career. 3.5

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3

Of course only familiar with the singles so this was something of surprise. Strong songwriting and production as expected but little that stood out. At times it teetered on musical theatre.

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3

I mean, it's good, not their best

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3

It's nice.

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3

I really enjoy tracks with dark lyrics that sound happy, and there are two great ones on this album. Unfortunately, when you have a 9 track album, you can't afford to put 3 or 4 stinkers on there. Too up and down. Best track: One of Us

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3

Solid Swedish pop.

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3

Not the greatest ABBA album by any stretch of the imagination but it has it's moments. Strays a little too far from their signature disco/pop sound and never quite hits the same heights of those earlier records.

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3

more complex and experimental than their other albums

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3

Nothing particularly wrong with this album. No hits from this one, and it might be interesting to revisit if you are interested in early 80s electronicia. It’s a pass from me, there are far better songs in ABBAs catalogue.

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3

Valeu pela experiência de não reconhecer nenhuma música. Não teve nenhum dos grandes hits, e serviu para querer escutar as versões do foo fighters

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3

Disco pop. Melódico. Un poco aburrido.

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3

Never listened to ABBA before but this was a little darker than I expected. Pretty good!

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3

That's some ABBA, huh?

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3

I tried to get into it. I like the title track and Soliders. Beyond that it just wasn’t my taste. It struck me that they had a lot of big ideas and they worked hard to get them all in there. I’m sure if I enjoyed the band in general it would work for me, but I just couldn’t connect with the music enough to find my place in it.

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3

Tried listening to this objectively rather than just dismissing as int'l pop. First, the synths for 1981 are excellent! It's hard to put in context that synths didn't really penetrate pop music until the very late 70s and early 80s. Even then, they were mainly reserved for Prog Rock and Punk/New Wave. ABBA's earlier albums were more BeeGees disco, while this sounds more like Ultravox's Vienna. So, credit goes to ABBA for bringing 70s soft rock together with disco beats and polyphonic synths. Some experimentation with genres here and there. Harmonies are strong. Melodies and lyrics are often cheeky, but let's give them the benefit of singing in a second-language. Never heard "One of Us," which is the most played song on Spotify. I'll chalk that up to the continental listeners. Only song I recognized was "Cassandra," and that's fairly complex with almost a waltz beat. So this one doesn't have all the popular hits, but maybe that's why I liked it a bit more than I had expected.

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3

Not as cringe worthy as I first feared when I saw ana ABBA album come up. A bit too poppy for my musical tastes, but also not bad. 3/5 though as I will not go out of my way to ever listen to this again.

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3

Kind of always in the ether their songs The music does interesting things melodically, time signatures, key changes etc … great pop writing undoubtedly…Just the relentless strutting rhythms get on my bits …

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3

Upbeat depression

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3

Abba is cool.

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3

Not abbad albbum

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3

Starts off brilliantly but the second half is a bit flat. Plenty of great tunes I'd never heard before though, somehow.

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3

Didn't have any big abba hitters

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3

Album starts of amazing first 2 songs hit. Then it gets a little worse then a waltz, then better then worse then better... then a little worse. Not a terrible album. Great use of effects but I got more disappointed through the listen.

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3

Not a big fan...like the day before you came

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3

The ABBA album that didn't get hammered into the Australian psyche. Beautiful in parts it heralds Benny & Björn's shift to musicals. The album is hampered by some of sameness between some songs and feels flat in places

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3

Good production that feels timeless however for me a lot of forgetful tracks that I would not return to.

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3

Abba is a classic, and I do enjoy some of their hits. However, I feel like their style - when listening to a whole album - can be a bit monotonous.

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3

Sounded like ABBA. Nice.

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3

It’s an ok album. Pretty par for what ABBA provides. They have their own style and nail it. It’s hard to feel like their music is dated due to no one really replicating it. It felt like there were a few 80s oddities found in this album. 5.9/10

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3

didn't hate it - actually thought it wasn't all that bad. two for the price of one was my fave.

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3

Fun listen. Not my genre but I really enjoyed the production’s attention to detail. Good vocal performance- they weren’t afraid to get weird.

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3

Utterly pleasant. Essentially every song carries forward with their pleasant ABBA vocal tropes and there's nothing here that is really bad. However, the sound does sound very dated, so it is more interesting than enjoyable.

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3

3.7 - Listening to this record takes me back to the 80s when my mom used to watch afternoon soap operas as I would play with my Legos. I hear songs like "Cassandra" and I see her dabbing at her misty eyes. As expected, the sound is glossy, showing impeccable studio mastery. Also as expected, these songs are a little darker than earlier ABBA, expressing regret and longing, lacking the bushy-tailed glamor from their peak. It's too teary-eyed for me but I enjoyed the one listen.

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3

Enjoyable album with some lesser known hits. Head over heels is a highlight.

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3

No killer tunes on this one.

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3

Der Ausklang einer erfolgreichen Phase. Ok.

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3

OK, i'm biased. I hate ABBA. There, I said it. And I went into it negatively. But - this is their 'grown up no massive hits break up album'. And do you know what? It's actually OK.

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3

3.5/5 Best songs: Slipping through my fingers One of us Soldiers

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3

3/5

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3

Bon album, pas de mauvaise pièce, mais je ne pense pas ce soit leur meilleur, pas beaucoup m'ont particulièrement accroché

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3

I feel like a dancing queen whenever I put on some ABBA. ... for the first few mins. The enjoyment from the theatrics of ABBA isn't sustainable (for me at least). The title track at the front of the album is phenomenal, the balance of the album is a slow roll down hill. As this listen wore on I felt like I was trapped at my niece's ballet performance, tired of smiling and sneaking peaks at my watch. "This is nice, this is very nice. Can we take a picture so we've got proof that I was here...?"

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3

I was pleasantly surprised. Very talented musicians.

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3

I’ve been a lifelong disliker of abba, it’s the worst kind of bubblegum pop. That said this is a revelation, this album isn’t that bad, yes it has a lot of the Abba sound but almost grown up. 3.5/5

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3

Far better than I expected it to be. It's a good mix of funky music and interesting lyrics. ⭐⭐⭐

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3

When I saw the tracklist and didn't recognise anything I wondered if this was their avant-garde concept album or something. Turns out it's more very-European pop that sounds a lot like the ABBA I know, but maybe 5% less kitschy and a bit more mature. Thought I might get bored but I didn't - there are some strong melodic hooks and lush production, as usual. They're masters of their craft, undeniably.

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3

Not thrilled to open up to an Abba album, but the tracklist on this one has no songs that I recognize. It's definitely Abba, but something is just a bit different here. It might be the novelty that these aren't the singles that you hear all over the place, it seems more genuine, more mature, a bit more soulful instead of very basic disco/pop. Still nothing fantastic but it's a step up for this group.

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3

Incredible heroes of 70's PoP, with disco anthems and musicals that resulted. Whether this album is one of them is questionable. (5/10) FT: One of Us, Slipping Through My Fingers

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3

Catchy songs and solid production as always with ABBA, only I never got on that train… was on another platform going in a different direction I suppose. In other words, not really my thing.

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3

Some decent tunes but not something I'd listen to again

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3

Enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, had a lot of decent tracks I'd never heard before. That being said, 40 minutes is still a lot of ABBA

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3

Some interesting songs but a lot of these sound pretty flat in 2022. Was hoping to dig Abba but alas they might not be for me.

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3

I was excited when I saw ABBA come up but this album was a bit underwhelming. Some really good feeling tracks but mostly a lot of the same. Neither good nor bad. Does ABBA not have better to offer? maybe they're more of a greatest hits kind of band. Favorite Tracks: Let the Music Speak, One of Us

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3

3.25

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Ik begon heel enthousiast, maar het zakte in. Toch aardig.

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3

Wellicht verrassend, maar ik vond dit best goed eigenlijk.

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3

Starts off strong

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3

Solid listen, already knew a couple tracks off of it but great way to start my morning. Felt like it would’ve been better if I was in the back of a 1983 convertible corvette with a acid cig driving to the beach. Also the cover reminded me of “You can’t sit with us”. Maybe some inspiration there for saba and the crew?

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3

Loved hearing some new ABBA songs after hearing nothing but the classics for so long. I really liked Visitors and Head Over Heels. The rest were fun but unmemorable. Glad we got to hear one of their albums and I'm assuming that means there are others on this list with more famous songs.

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3

Surprised by Abba on this one, only really listened to gold!

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3

Estilo inconfundible. Muy buenas voces y melodías agradables. Aun así, no destaca especialmente por no tener ningún hit memorable.

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3

It's ABBA. It's super sweet pop like soundtrack to a 80's Rom-Com. I can't say. Never listened to this full album and it was fun but I think you can live with listening to this album. Another 2.5 for me.

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3

I wouldn't say it has much depth, but it is fun.

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3

Some quality songwriting but gets a bit samey, especially with the vocal harmonies

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3

So, I should start by saying I liked this album okay. For me, there is always a baseline "like" when it comes to ABBA. That said, this album just didn't quite fully hit for me. It seemed darker than their earlier stuff, which for me, kind of results in ABBA, but with the wind knocked out of their sails. On the other hand, a band that was very progressive musically and who was all over 70s dance and disco scene, it's not difficult to see this as an early lean into what would become 80s new wave. I will say that the title track, The Visitors, was really outstanding and new to me. I was hoping the rest of the album would follow the same lines. But again, there is just something about ABBA that makes this baseline enjoyable, period.

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3

Not my genre....obviously; however I was suprised at how much I enjoyed this album. The hits are uniformly very good, though I do wish the arrangements were just a little more edgy but that would be besides the point I suppose. Anyway a solid 3.5 for what it is and the sing-along factor.

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2

Not gonna lie, I didn’t even make it all the way through this one

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2

Snoozefest. Bring back 70s ABBA

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Didn’t get through it it was ok

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Boring 2

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2

Nah

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I get this is the last album and they were trying something different but without big monster bangers (excluding One of Us which is pretty tight) it’s all pretty boring

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2

no thanks

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2

kinda feel like the less said about this one, the better.

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2

Feels like a grown-up version of ABBA, more contemplative, less fun. Which this is - less fun.

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2

I really like the title track, I think it got some radio play back in the day. Also I like the serious subject matter - it's a long way from Dancing Queen. The next couple tracks were listenable but eventually it starts sounding more like what I'd expect from a full Abba LP.

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2

Jotenkin samaa mössöä koko levy. Yhtyeen merkitystä/menestystä ei varmaan voi kiistää, mutta ei tämä automaattitrukkien myyntiä edistänyt.

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2

I liked this a lot more than their first album.

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2

The lead singer was possibly a Nazi...

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2

Actually liked this more than i thought. Probably wouldnt go back to it though.

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ABBA no longer needs its dad to pick them up from the station and the lesson of less is more in the make up department has been noted.Venturing to a night on the tiles as an adult with no photo ID fears ,ready to talk adult things but deep down inside ,despite the more mature attempts of ABBA’s night out is a super trooper waterlooing pop sensation that makes all wedding receptions down’t working men’s function room worthwhile.

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2

Isn't ABBA kind of a meme? I'll give it a listen. By song #4, meh it's ok. It sounds too '80's for my taste. Which makes sense, since this came out in 1980. After finishing, I didn't much care for it. It was crafted well, though, so I'll give it a 2.

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2

First track is solid. Second okay. The rest is an eighties production horror.

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2

It was pretty ok. There wasn't anything stand out about it that I would revisit again. What I want from this group is the more pop/upbeat music which was not present in this album.

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2

Not ABBA’s finest work

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2

So ABBA, my mums favourite.......Really loved the title track, it was so good. Some other 3's on the album but overalll wont listen to this again. 2 stars

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2

This album is just way too 80s pop for my tastes. Which makes sense, as an 80s pop album.

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I think I get it, but Anna just isn't my thing. Not their fault.

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It’s not their best, even Helen thinks it has filler tracks!

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2

Liked "one of us", apart from that, not much for me.

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2

It was pretty much over for ABBA by 1981, and this album doesn't do anything to dispute that fact. They seem to just be going through the motions at times. The magic of "Dancing Queen" is but a memory. "One Of Us" is the only real standout here, and it just underlines the fact that both couples, along with the band, were no more.

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2

It doesn't offend me but there's no way I'd listen to this again.

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2

Technically good, but mostly too bland for my tastes

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2

Average Euro-Pop

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2

Won’t visit again

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2

ABBA is definitely not in my wheelhouse. Was kind of dreading this. Then I heard the synths at the beginning of the first song and started reading the wiki article that this was a change in direction for them. That gave me some hope that it might be more interesting... but no, it's still syrupy sweet pop music. I mean, it's not unlistenable and I can appreciate that it might be perfect pop music for some people. It's just really not for me. "I Let the Music Speak" was particularly difficult to get through. So slick and overproduced. At least it was only 37 minutes long. But this isn't offensive to me. ABBA are what they are and they have no pretensions about being a pure pop group. A 1 for me personally but bumping up to a 2 in recognition that this is really just not my type of music and it's probably not that bad.

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2

Not really in my wheelhouse

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2

Couple of cool grooves, and obviously well crafted. Just not my lane.

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2

Mwah, niet het meest catchy werk van ABBA.

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This is disco, right? I'm just not feeling it. Even though the harmonies are good, the music is just so-so.

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2

lol abba is abba

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The best of this album IMO: - The Visitors I was never a fan of ABBA, I always thought they were overrated. They're not for me that's for sure. J'ai jamais trippé sur les chansons qui sonnent comme des balades. 2.3/5

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2

The day before we were dealt this album, I read a review of their new album in Rolling Stone. They gave it ****, for their first album in 40 years, writing that they totally recaptured their 70s glory. But I'm thinking their 70s glory is a bit overstated. Their hits were huge, don't get me wrong. I mean, their music was turned into a movie musical. You don't get that treatment without some classic songs. But beyond the "Mamma Mia" songs there seems to be a big drop-off in quality, with the rest just mediocre. On "The Visitors," the title track is ok. Maybe not fantasmagoric, but ok. But it's downhill from there. "I Let the Music Speak" was particularly painful. I couldn't let that music speak.

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2

There are hints of interesting ideas on this LP, but they ultimately end up being washed out by standard 80s fare uninspired synth ballads

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2

Druga ABBA na liscie, drugi album ktory od nich slucham, no i ostatni w dyskografii studyjnej, jesli nie liczyc wielkiego kombaka, ktory zrobili w 2k21 specjalnie na sylwestra z tvp czy tam polsatem, niby tylko 5 lat dzieli dwa albumy, a jednak muzyka jest zdecydowanie dojrzalsza, zarowno przez zwolnienie tempa, sporo trakow mozna zaliczyc do downtempo, a nie jak same szybkie bangery, takze od strony lirycznej wyraznie sie ABBA zmienila po tym splicie, w tym okresie pary chyba sie juz posypaly, ale jednak nadal profesjonalnie razem tworzyli muzyke, wiec romansowe ballady ustepuja goracemu tematowi, jakim w latach 80 byla zimna wojna, wiec plyta jest wypelniona nastrojami z nia zwiazanymi, chociaz jakby sie uprzec, to ten motyw mozna przeniesc na ten split bandowy i rowniez by pasowalo, jako drugie dno, ale az tak ambitnie odwaznych tez nie bede stawial, podobnie jak na pierwszej sluchanej plycie sporo muzykow sesyjnych i podzial pracy w zespole nadal taki sam, wiec chopy instrumenty, aranzacja i producerka, a baby spiewanie, chociaz jest tez trak na ktorym jeden z panow jest glownym wokalem, jest to ich pierwszy digitalowo nagryany krazek, co zdecydowanie zmienia odczucia w uszach, bo wszystko jest jeszcze czystsze brzmieniowo niz na arrivalu, miejscami ta czystosc brzmienia zmienia sie wrecz w pustke, bo tak dobrze czuc pojedyncze instrumenty, dlatego przy mixowaniu ciekawe rzeczy sie odbywaly zeby skompensowac te zbytnia czystosc brzmienia, nadal nie zostalem ABBowym swirem i fanem tych harmonicznych spiewow, ale jednak lepiej mi sie sluchalo tego 37 minutowego materialu na 9 piosenkach niz ostatniego krazka, jako plejkowy kawalek najbardziej pasuje one of us, wiec leci na plejke listwa, ale na zwczajajowa plejke dodam wspomniany kawalek z meskiem wokalem, ktory byl jedyna opcja do kawalka traktujacego trojkatowych stosunkach, taka zmiana wokalna jak dla mnie dodaje sporo calej plycie

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2

Didn't get on very well with this album, its grand.

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2

It's like weird time-travel karaoke -- or a satire of 1970s Europop. Impeccable harmonies on the ESL and smiley-face rhythms bouncing along. The instrumentation is the aural equivalent of a two-ply polyester leisure suit of mustard yellow. I’m hearing oompah bands and seeing feathered hair styles. Syrupy strings on top of syrupy synths for the ultimate ‘70s sugar high. Quaint enough, cute enough, and some happy moments (I'm now thinking of Barney) but I struggle to take this very seriously.

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No me gustó, me aburri en la mitad. La portada está muy guapa

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¿ABBA? ¿Del 81? a ver de qué va esto. Pues de "menos" de lo mismo. Se deja escuchar pero no hay ningún gran éxito ni nada que se le parezca. Prescindible.

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2

Wow, never thought I would listen to a full ABBA album beginning to end. Wasn't as bad I as thought: they definitely had a formula down by this point so the songs are consistent and pretty catchy. You can't argue with the vocal harmonies, songwriting or musicianship either, but it all has the weird bizzaro tinge of 70s Sweden which makes everything sound vaguely familiar but not quite natural.

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2

boring

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2

I listen to ABBA for the hits, not the deep cuts.

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2

just ok. really prefer the more upbeat songs

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2

Helaas, hier word ik niet zo blij van

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2

p483. 1981. 2 stars We all know their great run of singles in the 70s, but I'd never actually listened to an ABBA album all the way through. First time for everything. Pros: They know how to write a hook. Fabulous voices and arrangements. Excellent production. Cons: schizophrenic style - can't make its mind up whether it wants to be 80s electro pop (The Visitors, One of Us, Slipping Through My Fingers) or show tunes (Head Over Heels, I Let The Music Speak), which is where Benny and Bjorn eventually ended up. All the usual issues with suspect lyrics, and one song - Two For The Price of One - is possibly the worst thing they've ever done. It is all a bit bland and soulless. When they're good, they're brilliant, but there is too much filler here for repeated listens. This album is not essential listening. ABBA Gold is.

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2

Not bad but just not what im into

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2

Didn’t like…. But love their old stuff!!

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2

not even the catchy abba songs

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2

I wanted to go 1.5. Not an outright 1 as there's clearly some craft to the songwriting, but large parts of it were like an Andrew Lloyd Webber album

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2

I wasn't a fan. I didn't hate it, and I didn't turn it off, but I really didn't like it at all, either. And it sort of sounded a little bit like musical in the way the songs were arranged which I found weird.

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2

Abba is better in small doses.

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2

Ugh. I did not want to listen to this. And I can’t say I’m glad it did. However… there were a few unexpectedly decent songs that I heard and even still did not take the time to record the names of. That is all.

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2

A bit repetitive, didn't inspire me.

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2

Just not a big ABBA fan and couldn’t really hear what was different about this from other singles or albums.

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1

Not my bag.

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1

All the calculated melodies, contrived hooks, banal lyrics, and cringe inducing pitch jumps you would expect from ABBA. I forced myself to listen to the whole album, waiting for it to get better, it didn't. The last track was so bad I didn't think I would make it, then I realized to my horror that was only the 11th of 13. One star for good engineering, you can hear all the layers clearly, this is a well produced and mixed album, the content itself is just very lame.

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1

¿Lo escuché?

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1

I was a little worried when the album started. I actually liked the first song and didn't mind the second. I was thinking "Oh lord,  don't tell me I'm going to give Abba a good review. What will the neighbours think?" Fortunately by the third track they returned to where I expected them.

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1

Abbanee, he

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1

tortura

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1

Totally get how fun they are as nostalgia -- such great representatives of their time and genre -- and it's a hoot at times to enjoy the slightly (or more than slightly at times) Eurovision cheesiness, but overall I find their music rather dull, and all those synths and soaring voices grate on me. No, thank you.

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1

Not my thing at all.

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1

'Abba are a huge band with loads of great songs, I have to put one of their albums on this list. And it can't just be a greatest hits' So you get this, which I'm guessing is the least mediocre Abba album, and it's pretty meh, feeling more like the soundtrack to a bad musical than an album.

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1

I started not hating this and maybe thinking I should rethink my ABBA prejudices. But it was a grower in the wrong way. Relentlessly being smacked with boring pop, endless over sentimental ballads about what I have no idea. By the last few songs I wanted the noise to stop I wanted me and the whole world to stop. A small peice of me died today.

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1

Want to know how ABBA sounded before it was good? Well listen to this and find out, turns out they sounded like shit.

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1

shite

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1

really not a fan. Not typically into the europop sound and this one was even blander than usual. wouldn't listen again (and kind of upset it will be in my spotify algo now). 1/5

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1

A little underwhelmed I was excited to hear something other than their heads and it's not very exciting

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1

Not for me.

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1

Avec la première chanson, je croyais que c'était l'album qui allait me faire apprécier plus le groupe. Malheureusement dès la 2e chanson, les clichés reviennent et je décroche. Belle tentative d'évolution avec les synthés, mais ce n'est pas assez pour moi.

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1

Niet vol te houden...

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1

Only listened to Side 1. Not my style, too poppy and disco. But the dark lyrical content of The Visitors was interesting.

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1

why are you forcing me to listen to abba

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1

Terrible. 0 stars

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1

Knew none of these songs. Not much to say about it so it gets a 1 ⭐️

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1

just awful

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Some 70's to 80's transitions weren't particularly kind.. this was one of them for me

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