Tuesday, January 1, 2008

ABBA - The Visitors

The Visitors was the last album released from the Swedish pop mega stars ABBA, and this sad fact is more than obvious when listening to this album. It seems as though the boys and girls of ABBA had nothing to be happy about. In real life their marital troubles and divorces had torn the members of ABBA apart, and although they remained productive in the studio, this final album just couldn't lift my spirits at all.

While I admit that the album is a very mature and complex work of art, its just a tragedy to hear. ABBA had lost their youth and the undeniable chemistry that their earlier work had. Both songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were writing songs that reflected the deep sadness they felt inside, and no matter how beautiful the music was that they wrote, this sentimentality was utterly inescapable.

Other than the obvious sadness of their music, by 1981 ABBA had completely saturated their music with synthesizers which dramatically changed their sound from their early days. A lot of great bands have broken up (or nearly broken up) after venturing into the world of synthesizers, one great example is Black Sabbath and their 1976 album Technical Ecstacy.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, even though the Visitors is still a perfect pop album with beautiful, full harmonies and great songs, ABBA should never have put so many heart wrenching songs on one album. It's almost a bit painful to have to listen to such heart breaking singing from the girls of ABBA, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Their voices are absolutely perfect and the music is great accompaniment too.

This album is almost comparable to a Shakespearian tragedy when you think about the circumstances surrounding this release and the lives of the artists who made it. I'm just so glad I still have their earlier, more happy releases, but no matter how hard I try, I always end up coming back to this inevitable ending to one of the best pop bands of all time.

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