Arrival by ABBA

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Arrival by ABBA
Arrival by ABBA

Album Released: 1976

Arrival ::: Artwork

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1.When I Kissed The Teacher3:00
2.Dancing Queen3:50
3.My Love, My Life3:52
4.Dum Dum Diddle2:53
5.Knowing Me, Knowing You4:02
6.Money, Money, Money3:05
7.That's Me3:15
8.Why Did It Have To Be Me3:20


Ever wondered how that magical ABBA sound came to be? Well, you had Frida and Agnetha singing face-to-face in the studio, and you had the writing team of Bjorn and Benny. Was that all there was to it? Well, not quite. Arrival is the clearest indication that something else was going on.

True, many of the fantastic song arrangements were down to the band themselves - I'm actually talking about the sound, the production and the mixing. Abba's regular engineer was apparently a huge Phil Spector devotee, for example. Thus one guitar becomes two; one bass becomes two; and the ABBA sound becomes a lot more luscious than it otherwise might have been!

Abba wasn't just the four of them, the people on stage. Their musicians were loyal to them, and their engineer and costume designers played a part too. Still, those songs! Arrival is the album that contains a good bunch of their best singles, especially with "Fernando" issued as a bonus track on the latest CD editions. Even more special ... and especially ... when considering that this is the album with "Dancing Queen" on it.

I make no bones about the fact that "Dancing Queen" is one of my absolute favourite songs of all time. This is the one song where ABBA aren't just good, they become pop perfection - pop music as an art-form. "Dancing Queen" is a song where both music and vocals are in a perfect relationship with each other. In the chorus, the way the vocals just rise and rise and rise, before falling, delicately. They start falling once the having the time of your life section comes in. Thus, as other ABBA songs also manage, "Dancing Queen" is both europhic and melancholic. It's europhic melancholy (God, I should stop using these complicated words when I don't have a spell-checker!!).

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

Abba were always a singles band of course, their albums being made up of singles and either accompanying B-sides, or filler.

The singles here are "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Money Money Money", and "Fernando" (the latter only on the Australasian version of the album).

"Dancing Queen" and "Knowing Me Knowing You" are 4½-star disco-pop classics of the 1970's, but aside from those two tracks the rest of the material here is expendable production-line pop ranging from 2 to 3 stars, and that seems to be the general consensus amongst online reviewers of the album.

For me, the band's popularity was more a product of being fronted by two attractive females that impressionable schoolgirls (their main audience) could aspire to emulate, more than being due to any intrinsic musical merit.

In fact, though often considered to be mere Abba clones, I've always found the pop music of Dutch band Pussycat to be superior to their Swedish counterparts, and when it comes to 70's pop music overall, both Sailor and The George Baker Selection were streets ahead of Abba in terms of both quality and quantity of their music. Still, the filler on this album highlights that Abba were (and still remain) streets ahead when it came to the marketing side, and thus did they prosper where those more talented composers faded away, to be largely forgotten nowadays.

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by Reviewer: bluemoon

ABBA-mania was soaring by the time Arrival was released, and - whilst it contains hits which are good - again, for me the album suffers from over-familiarity.

Those hits are "Dancing Queen", "Money, Money, Money", and "Fernando", the latter a single that was not included on most versions of Arrival, but was on the Australian and New Zealand ones, and is included on my second-hand copy.

Those are all good songs - catchy, graceful, and imaginative. It's a pity I've heard them so often.

Of course, the lesser-known tracks are fine as well, such as "When I Kissed the Teacher", the quirky "Dum Dum Diddle" (sort of "Bang-A-Boomerang" Part 2), "That's Me", and the snarling "Tiger".

"Knowing Me, Knowing You" fits into the 'should know it very well, but surprisingly not as much as the other singles' category (yes, that is a category), and also delivers the goods with satisfaction.

It's not hard to see why ABBA were so popular. The group had a remarkable ear for hooks and inventiveness, creating straight pop which didn't mess around - the verses entice, the choruses ensnare, and then the track's over. But no one can escape such clutches for long, because along comes the next Swedish song of prey to lure us in once more.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor

This album constitutes another massive jump in quality, such that I'm considering the plausibility of whether they gained their massive songwriting powers by sucking all the talent out of Sweden. I mean, was there any other band from Sweden worth listening to? ... if you say Ace of Base, I might have to shoot you.

So, what a freaking great album! The merits of "Dancing Queen" alone make it worthy of that distinction. For my money, that song constitutes Abba's shiningest moment, and ultimately one of the greatest popsongs ever written. A dance song - often mislabeled as disco - it's one infectious masterpiece. The production is utterly remarkable, and so are many of the other tracks. Abba were obviously taking hints from the Phil Spector school of the more sounds the better, and yeah, it worked!

"Dancing Queen" is so spirited and even rather heartfelt - it gets me onto the dance floor. It's one mightily difficult song to dislike, yet amazingly, some people do. I don't usually like to sound snotty-nosed, but that's just stupid!

For some reason, there are other songs on this album many of which warrant further ranting ... "Money Money Money" is also emotional but for entirely different reasons. Anyone who thinks that Abba only wrote sunshine popsongs obviously haven't listened to that spiteful piano poptune. Not only that, but the melody is utterly infectious, making the emotion more likely to resonate.

"Knowing Me Knowing You" is another decidedly non-sunshine track that's extra-killer, because of its infectious dance beat. And the opening pop/rock track "When I Kissed the Teacher" is so catchy that it warrants the question 'How could this not have been a hit?' The answer of course is the album had so many other hits there just wasn't room, so that's a priceless gem you might not have heard. And if you have the edition with bonus tracks, you'll have "Fernando" too (I can hear the drums and I'm not Fernando!).

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

I think I figured out why this album is called Arrival, rather than the one that precedes it.

See, ABBA is self-titled because it sort of says 'this is ABBA', in a very introductory sort of way. By calling it so, it reminds listeners that some hints of their past flaws are still noticeable, even if it's in the form of decidedly superior filler compared to their first two albums. With Arrival though, not only do ABBA really arrive, but it's also when a style they helped create makes its first appearance, that style being Europop.

Europop is glossy, with keyboards, strings or string synths, soaring vocal harmonies, danceable rhythms that border on disco (or proto-disco, since Saturday Night Fever was still over two years away from the sessions for this album), with simple yet memorable choruses and cheese a-plenty.

ABBA's brand of Europop consists of some damn fine high-quality cheese though, which owes its existence to the songwriting skills of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. The BB boys are far less repetitive than the style they helped pioneer, but it's more in mood and key where such differences are felt.

Like any respectable ABBA album opener, "When I Kissed the Teacher" is a blast. It starts as a folksy jangle, then turns into an energetic proto-disco pop marvel. Aspects to highlight would be the (synth?) bass, which sounds bubbly and pulsating at the same time, the speedy harmonies, and the over-ecstatic I wanna hug, hug, hug 'im coda. I must confess when I first heard the song I found the lyrics somewhat shocking, which must make me a prude, or maybe it's because I didn't expect that from ABBA. To be honest though, they tackle the subject quite innocently - this isn't Frank Zappa after all.

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by Reviewer: Mr X Music Reviews (blogging at When the Music's Over)

Success hadn't spoilt ABBA yet, and for anyone who likes them, this is going to be even more rapturous than Arrival, which is like some sort of hit package in itself.

Ever heard a little disco number called "Dancing Queen"? - I don't mind saying that song is just fucking genius. I nominate it as the best disco anthem of all time, even over "Stayin' Alive" or "Disco Inferno" - how many high school chickys have put on their hot little lowcut senior prom dresses and red lipstick to that song? - the numbers must be staggering. But there are so many reasons for it being genius I'm not even going into it, not least of all the spectacular piano part.

Or how about "Knowing Me Knowing You"? That's some sexy singing right there. And what about the way that hook blows in like a gale on the chorus ... and Bjorn's backup stuff gets me every time. Hook? What am I saying? There's like 10 hooks in that song!

ABBA creeps ever closer to disco on Arrival, just catch all the booty shakin' on "Money Money Money". Or not in that case - as I can't dance to that! - the beat keeps speeding up and slowing down! Is ABBA fucking with me or just flexing their monster chops again. And check out that bass.

But even the non-hits are on the money, all of 'em. The cute bouncer "When I Kissed the Teacher" is just as densely-packed as any of the big-sellers, plus it's about kissing a teacher that may - or may not - be a woman. Lesbian kissing rules!

OK, I'm cutting out now. Buy this album - it's SOOO CATCHY!!! - and it's also exhuberant and funny, even more fun than The Album!

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza (blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct])