Particularly when heard in succession, ABBA‘s lushly produced, irresistibly hooked, and well-syncopated tunes make it easy to see why its road has been paved in gold and platinum. Harkening back to the nadir of early 60s schlock rock, however, many of its previously released efforts reminded me that good music and hit music can be a far cry from synonymous.
Invocation of this dichotomy should not suggest that I placed myself above those who made ABBA one of the bestselling groups in the history of recorded music. Most of us suffer some weakness for easy-to-consume pabulum, be it cop shows on the tube or ABBA on the box, and I’ve been guilty of humming along with this outfit’s banalities more than once. At any rate, I offer no apologies for my enjoyment of The Album, its latest LP, a seamless collection of chart contenders that boasts adventurous arrangements and that, musically at least, far outdistances any of the earlier work.