It wasn't until 1979 that ABBA started to write true disco music, a major step down for the group and a vast disappointment in nearly every respect, especially when compared to 1977's immense classic The Album
Not only are the melodies much less endurable on Voulez-Vous
, but the production is worse, and so much of it is faceless. Usually, the band's history was blamed for this reversal in quality ... previously, ABBA consisted of two couples making music together, but by this time both couples had divorced.
It's a shame about the divorces, but the story of Voulez-Vous
wasn't all bad news. The songwriting might have taken a turn for the worse, but that doesn't mean they'd forgotten how to do it. I mean, considering the band's entire discography, this is certainly more enjoyable and consistent than their eponymous 1975 album!
The disco numbers are fine, although they constitute some of the weaker moments on the album. It begins with "As Good As New", a melodic dance song with some slight but decent Classical ideas inserted into the mix. The closing track "Kisses of Fire" is also disco, making for a pleasant listen, but it's hard not to be reminded that it's not as insanely enjoyable as basically anything from their previous two albums.
Easily the best of the disco stuff is the title track. I'd never claim it to be amongst ABBA's finest work, but it does exactly what a dance song is supposed to - make me want to dance! Luckily, ABBA didn't go completely disco, and it's not surprising that the album's major gems were just like normal ABBA songs.
The folk-tinged mid-tempo poptune "Chiquitita" is probably the highlight of the whole album, with its heart-melting melody - the breezy atmosphere is done so well that it's remarkably difficult to fend off the urge to sing along with it! Interestingly, there's also a somewhat overlooked gem here called "Angel Eyes", a great Euro-pop song with a perfect melody.
So this might be a step down for ABBA, but it's not nearly as bad as its reputation. I'll take this over anything I've heard by Madonna, that's for sure.
[Footnote: Don Ignacio's Blog supplements this Review with a bonus track-by-track commentary] Rated:
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews