This is my favourite ABBA album.
Maybe it helps that I'm not as familiar with these songs as I am with some of the group's earlier works, so there isn't a problem with over-exposure. None of these tracks - with the possible exception of the rather whiny "The Winner Takes It All" - come anywhere near the likes of "Mamma Mia" and "Money, Money, Money" in regards to 'how many times have I heard that?", such that I really wouldn't care if I never heard it again.
But it also might have something to do with the fact that Ulvaeus and Andersson were just flowing with melodies and song structure inventiveness by this stage in the group's career.
Of course, it's well known that the two marriages were in freefall at this point, and that's reflected in the personal lyrics throughout the album (lyrics that could put some of their cliched contemporaries to shame), and that combination results in a classic record.
The opening title song sets the scene perfectly, and that's followed by a mixture of ballads ("Winner", "Adante, Adante"), uptempo pop/rock ("On and On and On", "Lay All Your Love On Me"), joyous pomp ("Happy New Year"), smooth pop ("Me and I"), and even folk ("The Piper").
I love the more rousing songs best, like "Super Trouper", the knockout "On and On and On", "Me and I", and - maybe most of all - "The Piper". I seem to remember reading somewhere that ABBA themselves have long hated that one, but I can't think why - it's enchanting.
Then it all finishes with a live track, the moving "The Way Old Friends Do", which demonstrates that ABBA knew how to produce pomp that had dignity and heart.
Anyone who listens to the band's catalogue chronologically (or been alongside them from their beginning in the 70's) should've by this stage concluded that ABBA were way more than an empty teenybopper act. If not, then surely Super Trouper
knocks that myth on the head.
It is wonderful. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor