Thursday, 25 February 2010

Hitkrant, 1988: I Stand Alone album review / I Wasn't The One (Who Said Goodbye) single review

Agnetha’s album I Stand Alone and single I Wasn’t The One (Who Said Goodbye) reviewed in Dutch magazine Hitkrant in 1988. Although none of the album’s singles reached the Dutch top 40, the album itself did reasonably well, peaking at number 22 on the album charts.
Agnetha Fältskog ‘I Stand Alone’ WEA
Agnetha Fältskog’s first two solo albums after ABBA’s split were somewhat disappointing, but with ‘I Stand Alone’ the singer lashes out forcefully. Obviously, producer Peter Cetera plays an important part in that. Together with Bruce Gaitsch (co-writer of Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’), Peter has provided the album with a refreshing pop sound. The songs are sometimes swinging, sometimes wavering, but always current and fresh. Let’s hope that ‘I Wasn’t The One’ will be released as a single, after ‘The Last Time’. A slow duet with Peter and clearly the best song on the album.

Agnetha Fältskog ‘I Wasn’t The One’ WEA
The fact that ex-Chicago singer Peter Cetera was sitting in the producer’s chair during the recording sessions for the new album by ex-ABBA singer Agnetha Fältskog obviously made it inevitable that he would sit down behind the microphone as well, to record a sizzling duet with the blonde Swede (that’s nature!).
This is the result, a sad ballad, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I expected more of the combination of top notch talents like this.

Agnetha did very little international promotion for the album. However, she was interviewed by Dutch interviewer Ivo Niehe for his television programme TV-show Op Reis which was broadcast in March 1988. The broadcast also included snippets from the The Last Time video. It turned out to be her last television interview before she withdrew from the music scene for many, many years to come. Here’s a transcript of the interview.

From what moment did you decide, when you were young, that you wanted to become a singer or an artist?
Agnetha: “That was very early, I must say. Because I started to write songs when I was five years old. And then I started with a dance band when I was fifteen. And I also composed a lot of songs during this time.”
Did your father influence you in any way?
Agnetha: “A little bit maybe, but he was in a... well, that was more local in Sweden. He was not very well-known, but he was still very good. So I think I had that inside me very early and I listened also to a lot of female singers like Connie Francis and Brenda Lee.”
During your ABBA period, you once said: ‘this way of living doesn’t allow me to be a good mother,’ since you were talking about your girl, you also have a son. Are you a better mother now than you were then?
Agnetha: “It’s always hard to combine. And I think I don’t get a better mother but I feel more relaxed and I like to be at home and to spend my days with my children. So that probably makes me a better, or at least a calmer mother, so to say.”
But what were the problems during your ABBA period in this respect. Can you tell us about it?
Agnetha: “Well, we were travelling so much around the world. I mean, we were everywhere, nearly. We went to Japan and Australia a couple of times and America. Everyone wanted us at the same time. So that was the problem.”
Yes, and being a good mother is more important to you than having a successful solo career?
Agnetha: “Yes, but sometimes you can’t choose. So I knew that I had to do it and I love it as well. And I think it’s also important that you can do this sort of job if you feel that is your life. Because that makes you a better mother if your are satisfied with your work as well. But I think it’s always hard to combine it. And when we had this enormous success with ABBA, I missed my children so much, because they were also so small by that time, so it was hard to explain for them. They didn’t understand why we were away so much.”
You’ve had a lot of problems with the gossip press. But you refused to accept that, because you even wrote a letter to the Dagens Nyheter, the most important newspaper in Sweden.
Agnetha: “Yes, that’s right. I’m impressed that you knew that.”
For what reason did you react like that?
Agnetha: “Well, I don’t want to... I mean, people look upon you as silly or stupid if they, I mean, week by week get wrong things from you. And I react because I get very angry. And I know a journalist, a very serious journalist, female, that worked for this paper. So she contacted me and then I already had written an open letter, so to say. So I gave it to her and she changed some bits and then they took it in this newspaper.”
And that was the start of a national discussion, let’s say, on the gossip press. Has your action been worth all the trouble? Did you have any results with your action against the gossip press?
Agnetha: “For a period, it was better. But now, when I have this record and I show myself more often in, you know, television and newspapers as well, because I want to talk about my record, it starts again.”
It starts all over again.
Agnetha: “Yeah, but I consequent... (in Swedish) I’m keeping a close watch. I react consistently to all articles that tell nonsense.”
It’s so nice that I’ll have to read the answer in the subtitles.
Agnetha: “It’s a bit like... it’s not very far from Holland.”
Yes, so you still get angry if you read wrong things about yourself? Things that are not true.
Agnetha: “Yes, of course, of course. I do.”
Looking back to the ABBA period, what did it bring to you. More positive or more negative things?
Agnetha: “Both positive and... maybe equal. I think more positive, really. I think we are all four very proud of what we have achieved. It was an enormous success all over the world.”
Yes, are you still in touch with each other, the four of you?
Agnetha: “Not very much. Two members have moved abroad. And I have contact of course with Björn because he’s the father to my two children.”
The price you’ve paid for everything you achieved. Wasn’t it after all a very high price? If you have the group, two divorces in one group is a lot, I think. Wasn’t it too high a price for everything you did?
Agnetha: “I don’t look upon it as a price, a bad price. Because I think that would have happened anyway, really. I mean the divorce.”
The success didn’t play an important part in there, because you were working twenty-four hours together?
Agnetha: “Oh yeah, but I don’t think it was depending on that only, no.”
Wasn’t it very difficult, because I saw you performing in Rotterdam then, that you made a world tour, even after all the problems you had, the four of you? Was it still possible to work so closely together?
Agnetha: “Yeah, we went on working together. And that also shows that that was not the problem. I mean, we liked to work together. It was very difficult sometimes, but we chose to go on a while even after the divorce. Because – I mean I can only talk for myself and Björn – we were very much agreed about our divorce.”
Do you consider yourself a privileged woman?
Agnetha: “I think you are. If you have experienced this sort of success, you get privileged because it’s easier. People know who you are. So it’s easier to come up with a new thing now than it is when you start. I mean, when no one knows you.”
The fact that you consider yourself privileged, does that mean at the same time that you consider yourself happy? Are you happy?
Agnetha: “Ehm, it’s very difficult. It changes from day to day. One day you feel very happy and the next day it’s awful. So I’m like anybody else. But most of the time I’m happy. And I think... I want to think positive. I don’t want any negative thoughts or looking back and regret things. I want to look into the future and look positive.”
Thank you very much. And your English was great today.
Agnetha: “Thank you, wasn’t it? Thank you.”

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