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Album Review: Ring Ring by ABBA

Pieced together from bits and pieces accumulated in the pre-Abba days, Ring Ring was a surprisingly cohesive debut album for a band that was destined to …

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  1. Brilliant James, love this video! Ring Ring is a very good "debut" even though the first true "Abba" debut was actually their third album "Abba". Another Town Another Train is up there with Abba'a best, definitely Bjorn's best lead vocal song. In the UK, apart from Ring Ring, the only songs we heard from this album were Another Town, Nina, He Is Your Brother and People Need Love which were featured on the brilliant "park bench" Greatest Hits. One point where I think you got confused is Ring Ring had a songwriting credit from Neil Sedaka, it was Disillusion that was co-written by Agnetha (the music not the words, I believe). Please FOLLOW UP this review with Waterloo, VERY SOON! lol Take care, Richard

  2. Terrific, completely unexpected choice for a review! I’ve always been equally fascinated and gob-smacked by the smörgåsboard of influences and outstanding potential in here.

  3. Hello James, Well made and interesting analysis, I think the "Ring Ring" album is interesting since it's obvious that they are trying lots of different things, not really sure what works best for them. The high number of songs with male lead vocals is one aspect and also the fact that they weren't really "ABBA" yet, but they still used the name "Björn, Benny, Agnetha & Frida" when the original Swedish album was issued, and they took the name "ABBA" in early 1974. I guess the reason was that it was shorter, simpler and quicker, even though they had to ask the preserved fish products company ABBA (today ABBA Seafood) about sharing the name. "Ring Ring" was used in the Swedish qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest and everybody thought it would win, but the "expert jury" decided otherwise. Anyway, I'm babbling on way too much, I have had thoughts a long time to make ABBA reviews too, I was even asked some years ago, but I have not got round to it yet – but I'm eager to follow your thoughts about the other ABBA albums as well. Cheers Björn

  4. Great review, James! I do love ABBA which is interesting because I'm not usually one who loves super catchy music. But something about this particular group just works for me. It's the voices and the general positivity and wholesomeness, I think. And as you say, hooks within hooks within hooks.

    I loved how you said you can't hear the work on it and it just seemed to fall out if the sky. Yes! An effortlessness. Funny, I read a lot of terrible reviews of this album for years and always avoided it. I got the box of all their albums and finally listened and was very surprised by how great it was! I don't know why those reviewers disliked it so much… Maybe the cheese? The cheese is charming ha ha. – Shannon 🙂

  5. ABBA – definitely the masters of the pop hook! Have you heard the version of ‘Hey Hey Helen’ by Lush? It’s great, shoegaze meets Swedish pop. Take care, John.

  6. Well you've sold it to me James! I'm going to look in to getting hold of this. I have the Waterloo album and must admit in my naivety I thought that was the debut album! I've been meaning to dig deeper with them for a while beyond the obvious singles (some of the best pop ever created I'd say)

  7. Interesting video. I do like their later stuff, specifically Knowing Me Knowing You, The Day Before You Came and The Winner Takes It All. I wasn't even aware that Bjorn and Benny had done any lead vocals.

  8. Nice video. I don't have any Abba albums but my sister had many so there are some good memories there. I was thinking about getting a ’best of’ album but I might go ’studio’ instead. I would like to see the Abba movie again because it's good to see my hometown Sydney in the 1970s when I was in primary school. My uncle took my cousins and sisters to see them live but I wasn’t allowed to go: too young they said…..despite the fact one of my cousins was the same age as me. Anyway, good review and I will have to check it out, at least for its nostalgic aspect if nothing else.

  9. I didn't know about the co-write of Agnetha. I always wondered why she didn't write for ABBA since she did write many of her own songs during her solo career before ABBA. There are a few of their albums i haven't heard including Ring Ring. The self titled is the first album i have heard and i think it's awful. It has great songs on it too, but they try all kinds of music genre's on it and they just don't work. ABBA as reggae anyone? The cheese factor is why i don't care much for their albums and mostly stick to their compilations. Arrival is a good album though.
    Pasi

  10. Hey James,
    Always enjoyed their songs growing up as a kid like you, but how could you not with their songs all over the radio at the time!
    Strangely enough the only album I have is a Greatest Hits but no studios in the collection. Along with the soundtrack from MaMa Mia which was a fantastic movie the way they built the movie around the music.
    Great review and see you, enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    Take care ~ Jeff

  11. I've never owned an ABBA record or heard much beyond the hits. I had a chuckle a video or so back when you mentioned thinking you ought to start picking up ABBA records at the charity shops before they got scarce. Same thing happened here, I haven't seen them around in the bins in some years now that I can recall. Quite funny over time to see acts like this go from looked down on to reappraised and then in demand again. Sounds like a diverse mix of styles here, I may have to check out some of their early work if I come across it and try to keep an open mind…cheers James!

  12. I have been a fan of ABBA since I was a teenager. Since I was young I did not have a lot of albums so I really listened to them a lot. They knew how to make a hook better then most bands. They definitely had the magic. It was nice to hear your thoughts on this. This was not my favorite album, I really liked Arrival and the disco infused Voulev Vouv

  13. Looking positively summery there, James! Enjoyed your review here, not a band I would gravitate to but know that one day I need to dig deeper, mainly as an interested observer of pop songraft. It sounds promising given the touchstones you reference – the Beatles, obviously, but then the nods to other contemporaries and influences as well (was not expecting Professor Longhair or the Band to turn up here!). I'm interested to see how you chart their progression in their craft. I must admit I saw an early Abba album in a charity store the other day and did not bother to check further (they were once fairly common here – Arrival used to turn up everywhere!); I'm beginning to regret that mistake a little now! Cheers- Dean

  14. Yes I like the track by track style James and I'll check that out – Abba have always beeen a singles band but thanks for review – with regard to digital query before – If you haven't got the software + the time it's not going to appeal – I did use LINE input on the computer to copy from sound card but again you must sit and watch/listen to the vinyl being recorded OK Keep up the reviews – any requests

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