ABBA: Bjorn Ulvaeus (vocals, acoustic guitar); Benny Anderson (vocals, piano, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron); Agnetha Faltskog, Anni Frid Lyngstad (vocals).
Additional personnel: Janne Schaffer (guitar); Christer Eklund (tenor saxophone); Rutger Gunnarson, Per Sahlberg (bass); Ola Brunkert (drums); Malando Gassama (congas).
Recorded at Metronome Studio, Stockholm, Sweden in 1973 & 1974. Includes reissue liner notes by Carl Magnus Palm.
Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Jon Astley.
German remastered reissue features the bonus tracks "Ring Ring" (1974 US Remix), "Waterloo" (Swedish Version), and "Honey Honey" (Swedish Version).
ABBA's second (and U.S. debut) album contains the American Top Ten title track, as well as "Honey, Honey," a minor U.S. hit that deserved better. This album is rather unusual in the group's output, however, for the fact that the guys are still featured fairly prominently in some of the vocals, and for the variety of sounds -- including reggae, folk-rock, and hard rock -- embraced by its songs. The reggae number "Sitting in the Palmtree" is quite remarkable to hear, with its perfect Caribbean beat and those radiant female voices carrying the chorus behind the beat. "King Kong Song" is a good example of hard rock by rote, going through the motions of screaming vocals and over-amplified guitar (courtesy of Janne Schaffer), although even here, when the women's voices jump in on the choruses, it's hard not to listen attentively; the quartet knew what a powerful weapon they had, but not quite how to use it. They get a little closer to their winning formula on the catchy, folky-textured pop song "Hasta Ma¤ana," which sounds like a lost Mary Hopkin number. "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" is on the money, as the embodiment of the Euro-disco sound that ABBA would move in the millions on their coming albums, although it also embraces a vague oldies sound, with a melody that is somehow reminiscent of both the Four Seasons' "Dawn" and the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby." [Some reissues add eight bonus tracks.] ~ Bruce Eder