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Abba's Abba Gold (Thirty Three and a Third series) Paperback – March 31, 2004
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“This sensitive, smart, tiny book is amazingly comprehensive, dealing with everything from recording history to the gay following the band developed. Vincentelli, an astute critic and a rabid fan, is just the writer to grasp the many-layered experience that is ABBA.” –Newsday, 4/11/04 (Claire Dederer)
“Vincentelli is an intriguing sociologist (calling Abba one of the few band to link ‘European drag queens and Midwestern housewives, New York hipsters and Japanese students’) and a funny critic (‘Lay All Your Love on Me,’ she says, ‘may well be the gayest song ever recorded by two clean-cut heterosexual couples’).” -–The Boston Phoenix, 7/8/04 (Mike Miliard)
“With Elisabeth’s personal anecdotes thrown into the mix of ABBA’s history, quotes from contemporary critics and musicians, and analyses of the songs that make up ABBA Gold, it’s hard not to read the entire book in one sitting. And for me personally, Elisabeth Vincentelli is the kind of writer I aspire to be- full of musical knowledge, yet passionate and personal about the subject she takes on.” –Cha Cha Charming, June 2004
“Vincentelli’s study of Abba Gold is a valiant effort.” –Jason Dropor, Record Collector, October 2004 (Jason Dropor)
"The author doesn't mind telling you that her favorite song EVER is Abba's "SOS," which is admirably candid (although wrong—"Knowing Me, Knowing You" is the peak of Abba-ness), and she totally gets the blissful unhipness that makes the band beloved by everyone from "European drag queens to Midwestern housewives."—Austin American-Statesman, 10/17/04
'The idea was simple: to ask a group of authors to each write a book about a classic album. What emerged became Continuum's 33 1/3 series. Without guidelines or rules, each author embraced their own favourite album and chose exactly how they wanted to write about it.As a result, each book is by turn anecdotal, obsessive, technical and personal, but always passionate.' (Swell Music, December 2006)
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Top Customer Reviews
As a long-term ABBA fan, and contributor to the book, I found it an interesting and compelling read. ABBA GOLD played a huge part in the ABBA revival and the rehabilitation of ABBA in the eyes of the general public, and this book covers that in more detail than anything that's come before. All in all, something different in the ABBA bibliography. Highly recommended for ABBA fans or just fans of great music.
It looks to me as though the author has done a good deal of research for this short book, and her enthusiasm for the songs shines through. She even goes so far as to say that "SOS" is her favorite song of all time, encapsulating "everything that makes life worth living"! I'm not an Abba expert, so it's possible there are one or two factual errors in here, but I would definitely feel comfortable recommending this book to people.
I'm giving it 4 stars because I can see that if you are an obsessive fan of this band, there might not be much that's new in here for you. But for everybody else who's into Abba, this seems like a great little book to start with.
Even better are Vincentelli's close readings of the songs, which increased my pleasure in them (no mean feat!). Best of all, perhaps, are her thoughts on the relationship between rock and pop, and the roles women tend to take, or are assigned, in each.
A real achievement. So! Is this book for everyone? Maybe not, as the sharp mix of negative and positive reviews here demonstrates. So here's the important question: Is it for you? I suggest you scroll up and read "From the inside flap," which is actually an excerpt from the book. The author is discussing the startling fact that "Dancing Queen" begins by launching straight into the chorus, the best part of the song, rather than building up to it. I've heard that song thousands of times, but I'd never even thought about that before. The effect is magical, and now I both understand it better and appreciate it more. If you enjoy that excerpt, grab the book. Otherwise, click elsewhere, and find something that pleases you more.
The approach of taking in order the tracks as they first appear on the compilation but then grouping with all other tracks on the compilation where they are all from (or at least were placed on) the same original LP, helps easier comparison but creates a very jump cut approach in chronology given Waterloo the first hit in time is last on the compilation and thus the book.
If you are a devout Abba fan one suspects much of the history given is well known but for those with little knowledge beyond the original records, the book is a pretty good coverage on each of the songs and helps place them in historical context as well as showing how contemporary and later events have helped the group become such a success despite their visual image being trapped in the 1970s. This success is not least because of the songs appeal to an international audience so displacing all the US/UK criticism at the time of their lyrics (given English was their second language)and from a country that had few global pop credentials in the early 1970s (yet interestingly only one of their hits was ever recorded outside Sweden).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's true that Elisabeth Vincentelli's introduction to Gold is occasionally a bit self-conscious: It amuses me that so many people admit their fondness for this band as some kind... Read morePublished on April 3, 2010 by R. Jamieson
This is the only book written so far, soley about a single ABBA album.
The author makes a convincing case for the importance of this particular album in the the ABBA canon,and... Read more
I like a few ABBA songs and don't consider myself a fan, so for me, Elisabeth Vincentelli's entry in the 33 1/3 series brought some new light onto this group. Read morePublished on April 4, 2007 by P Magnum
You may be an ABBA fan, and if so, don't bother with this book. Poorly written and a dull read. You can get most of the information presented anywhere on the web, and find it to be... Read morePublished on February 6, 2005 by RockHound
This book is obviously written by a pop music lover, a huge ABBA fan and a knowledgeable rock critic. Read morePublished on May 14, 2004 by Jennifer
Here is the ending of the book ...........so you can get a feel for the crap you'll read. The author does not focus on the music. Read morePublished on May 9, 2004