A review of ABBA's 'Voulez-Vous' album from Dutch magazine Oor. Exactly 30 years ago today, the album was released by Polar Music in Sweden.
ABBA ‘Voulez-Vous’ (Polydor 2341 136)
So, this is the review of ‘Voulez-Vous’, ABBA’s latest album. No, please don’t start nagging immediately that you think ABBA is a toothpaste group, that’s creating commercial chart music in an unacceptable way, because I’ve heard that presumptuous crap more than enough. You have to rate everything in this world from an untainted point of view at its true value. Okay, ABBA creates commercial chart music. But yes indeed, commercial chart music that generally is head and shoulders (Agnetha and Frida) above the rest of the saddening disasters in the charts. Apart from that, it’s ABBA’s merit that, ever since they won the battle of Waterloo at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, the group has continuously managed to deliver acceptable worldwide hits.
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are true masters of composing hits, in which they always know to arm themselves with hooks that are swift as an arrow and choruses that invite you to sing along. Furthermore, the execution of those compositions, implemented with strong melody lines, is virtually always contemporary as well as ground-breaking and, thanks to the vocal contributions of that red-headed fireplace and that blonde vixen, sexy. ‘Voulez-Vous’ is the album on which ABBA is exploring the land of disco and funk, like they did earlier in ‘Dancing Queen’.
To restrict myself to disco... By doing that, thankfully they don’t opt for the completely soulless German interpretation of disco but, with a professional sense of quality and subtlety and a vision that’s completely their own, they borrow disco tricks from Uncle Sam’s disco-stompers and bumpers. Those disco tricks, in their execution technical know how and sensitivity go hand in hand, make for exciting patterns in ABBA’s offerings, that never last longer than just over five minutes. Just listen to ‘As Good As new’, ‘Voulez-Vous’, ‘Does Your Mother Know’, ‘Kisses Of Fire’ and so on, and so on. The rest of the material on ‘Voulez-Vous’, ABBA’s Banana Boat Songs like ‘Chiquitita’, falls into the category of fresh and uncomplicated Europop-songs, known from their previous albums.
A song deserving a special notification is ‘I Have A Dream’, in which Frida, without glasses and Atheniens but with the International School of Stockholm and at least as much Greek pathos, is putting on her Nana Mouskouri-act. I don’t want to waste too much words on the lyrics on ‘Voulez-Vous’. Those are written from the sometimes infantile point of view of the average disco goers as well.
‘Voulez-Vous’ is a ‘radiating’ ABBA-album. ABBA in the centre of the condensed laser beams in the disco. Bumping and freaking their way to the top of white disco, without giving the fans from day one muscular pain in their ear canals. How do I tell my mother?