I think I figured out why this album is called Arrival
, rather than the one that precedes it.
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.
by Reviewer: Mr X Music Reviews
(blogging at When the Music's Over