129 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2001
Believe it or not, there are some of us who have never bought an Abba album. Well, not until this week, anyway.
I was certainly around during the 70s, but I fell into the category of being far too serious about Deep Purple etc to be seen dead with an Abba LP. I was certainly aware of Abba -- it was one of the many contradictions in the British teenage bloke psyche that we watched 'Top of the Pops' whenever we could. And anyway, my Dad fancied the blonde one -- Agnetha, not Benny.
So buying this marvellous compilation is part nostalgia, and part demonstration for my own children of what pop used to be like.
This 2CD set takes us chronologically through Abba's history. There are four tracks which precede the historic 'Waterloo' Eurovision winner. Even after that 1974 victory, you sense that the group are still feeling their way towards a defining formula. To my ear, it's only when they created 'SOS' (track #9 here) that they found the correct gear, and from then on they never looked back.
Abba stood for very high production values, attractive videos, middle-of-the-road pop and wholly inoffensive lyrics. (As revealed in the sleevenotes, Bjorn was always more concerned with the sound of a word than its meaning.) From that point, the lead vocals on all the singles would always be performed by the girls. Abba absorbed disco, but never pretended to be creating black music.
My favourite Abba song is one of the last, 'One of Us', which has many flaws but a gorgeously plaintive chorus. Agnetha really meant those words as she sang them on the video. It was 1981, the band was nearing the end and, by that stage, even I fancied her.
To people who haven't already purchased an Abba CD, I cannot recommend this highly enough. The remastered sound is excellent, bringing out the acoustic guitar particularly well. And the accompanying booklet is informative and contains some pretty photos, without ever saying which is of Bjorn and which is of Benny. Newcomers like me can get confused, but I guess it doesn't ultimately matter.
96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2002
It was interesting to hear the songs in chronological order. Also the inclusion of the slower, throatier, American single version of Ring Ring was something only a die-hard ABBA fan that actually HAD the original American LP release of Waterloo(which is where it originally appeared) would appreciate. The major disappointment here was the trebel-heavy, bass-deprived remastering of these songs for this compilation. They were not remastered at the same standards as the "Thank You For the Music" Box Set or the REissue of ABBA GOLD. I would not recommend this when higher quality ABBA collections are available. Instead, pick up Forever Gold and get a thoroughly entertaining, quality compilation.
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
When I was a teenager in the 70's, I sort of liked ABBA's music...I just never told anybody. I stayed inside the musical closet. If I had admitted I liked ABBA, I would have been immediately shunned and banished from the rock n' roll community at my high school...and that was a big price to pay!
So now, some 25 years later, I pick up a copy of THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION with a little nervousness. Sure, nobody's around to criticize my musical choices...but still, I felt a sense of trepidation...So I hit PLAY...and I was liberated!
Now I know this is pop music, much of it happening right in the middle of the Disco Era. I realize there won't be any screaming guitars, no 9-minute drum solos, no anti-establishment lyrics...But darn it, these tunes are good!
I think one reason people are still crazy about ABBA is that their music fills a void left by much of today's pop music. These ABBA tunes for the most part celebrate uncomplicated love, friendship, and a positive future. I mean, listen to "He Is Your Brother" and "People Need Love" and tell me those aren't great messages. And the tunes themselves - They're ALL catchy, easy to latch onto, and stick with you.
The songwriters had the ability to write great tunes, which is difficult enough, but they didn't stop there. The thing that most people remember about ABBA songs, whether they recognize it or not, is the vocals. Not just the individual vocals, but the way they layered vocal tracks on top of each other, creating great, tight harmonies. The tunes are also arranged well with little subtle touches of color that make the songs really sparkle. Just listen to the interplay between the piano and strings on "Dancing Queen." It just sparkles.
But best of all, these tunes are just plain fun. So go ahead, get yourself a copy. It's okay, you can come out now.
DISC ONE: 71:52
DISC TWO: 76:06
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
This collection includes all the songs that were released as singles in Sweden, plus re-mixes of two of them. All their British and American hits can be found here, though some songs were not released as singles outside Sweden, while others were released in some other countries but not others.
The set begins with the pre-Abba track People need love - all four members perform this but Agnetha and Frida are credited as Svenska Flicka. Ring ring was Abba's first real single, while He is your brother is an interesting song, but Abba only really hit the big time with Waterloo, which was their first British number one and also reached the top ten in America. Subsequent singles met with varying degrees of success and it was not until Dancing queen was released in 1976 that Abba had another hit that could be called truly international. It went all the way to number one in Britain, America and many other countries.
Their other British number ones were Mamma Mia, Fernando, Knowing me knowing you, Name of the game, Take a chance on me, Super trouper and Winner takes it all. Many of their other singles went into the top five, including I have a dream, which spent a month at number two. In America, Take a chance on me was a huge hit but the others were markedly less successful.
This is a wonderful collection of Abba's music. If you only want one Abba collection, this is a good one to choose.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
First of all, I'm a big fan...nothing can surpass this group within the circle of creativity, originality and successfulness...it's no wonder their name is located at the beginning of the alphabet ~ ABBA.
They're not only "Swedish Super-stars", but have captured the hearts of America, young and old...my personal stand outs are ~ "KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU"..."THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL"..."DANCING QUEEN"..."WATERLOO"..."RING, RING", all unforgettable classics.
The entire album is a highlight within itself...but I must make mention of this ultimate golden classic "FERNANDO", back in 1976 this song was played everywhere, couldn't go anywhere in the WORLD, and now to hear this classic re-mastered, gotta love it.
Before closing, would like to mention the wonderful review by Gavin J. Wilson, from the United Kingdom...his review appears on the same page with mine, thank you Gavin for giving us a honest review from the heart, which proves music is still the universal language ~ ABBA!
Total 2-CD-Set ~ UTV Records 314-649-974-2 ~ (2001)
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2005
Despite being labelled uncool by pointy headed music pundits, the swedish quartet ABBA still managed to sell millions of records throughout the 1970s' and early 1980s'. The fact that they're today considered cool by even Rolling Stone is proof that they're popularity is still very much intact, not to mention the phenomenal Broadway smash "Mamma Mia", written by former group members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeuss and centered around their songs.
That being said, a band this popular is bound to have countless amounts of greatest hits and best off collections released. The first was "ABBA Gold". It was a 20 song, single disc collection that featured mainly the classics and sold millions of copies around the world. Then, in 1994, came the four disc "Thank You For The Music" boxed set, which featured all the songs on the "ABBA Gold" collection plus 46 others. It is currenty the best ABBA compilation available. Then in 2002 came the two disc, 37 track "The Definitive Collection", which sort of straddles the filed between the two previous collections.
If you're a beginning ABBA fan, than "The Definitive Collection" is you're best starting point. You'll get all the essential ABBA classics, which include "Waterloo", "S.O.S.", "Mamma Mia", "Fernando", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "The Name Of The Game", "Take A Chance On Me" and "The Winner Takes It All". Even better you'll get a bunch of lesser known songs that are just as great and some even better, such as "Honey, Honey", "Summer Night City", "Eagle", "Angel Eyes" (my all tie favorite), "On And On And On", "When All Is Said And Done", "The Vistors (Crackin' Up)" and "The Day Before You Came". Best of all, you get several very early singles on disc one; "People Need Love", "He Is Your Brother", "Ring Ring" and my personal favorite, "Love Isn't Easy" (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)". You'll also get remixes of "Ring Ring" and "Voulez - Vous".
So if you're just getting into ABBA, than "The Definitive Collection" is the collection for you. Hardcore fans should stick with "Thank You For The Music", but beginners should without a doubt get this.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2002
"Mamma Mia....I can't resist you" - Abba
Yes, I broke down and shelled out the cash to purchase this definitive Abba collection a few days after I purchased Abba Gold.
This one is much better. It has all the hits, and most (if not all) the singles Abba put out between 1972(?) - 1982.
If you told me a month ago I would really be diggin' Abba I would have said you're crazy. But thanks to a co-worker, I discovered (or should I say re-discovered since I'd known about Abba since their reign as the chart toppers of the 70's and the first couple years in the 80's.
Now they are back and better than ever in this 2 CD definate compilation.
My favorites on this CD: of course most of their most popular tracks, Dancin' Queen, Waterloo, Take A Chance On Me, Knowning Me Knowing You, The Winner Takes It All, and Fernando, as well as some lesser known stuff, Eagle, Voulez Vou (sp?), Visitors, I Have A Dream, and Angeleyes.
Great stuff. Now I'm tempted to get the DVD of their videos.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2003
Having just seen the excellent musical "Mamma Mia", I wanted to purchase some Abba music. I almost bought the sound track sold at the theater-----but then luckily decided to do research first. Instead, I bought this CD----and love it. I play it in my car, sing to all the songs,picture in my mind what the actors on stage were doing and have the terrific voices and music of Abba instead of the group from London-----(group on the soundtrack). I'm very glad I bought this------great tunes.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2005
It's hard to add anything new to what has already been written in other reviews, but I am approaching this CD as a new ABBA fan. I was in my thirties when ABBA was in their heyday during the 1970's, but wasn't much into music during this decade. However, with the release of "Mamma Mia" I had the chance to see the play twice in New York City and I became hooked on the music of ABBA. I play this CD repeatedly and just love the songs. If you are not familiar with ABBA give their songs a chance and I'm sure you will become addicted to their music just as I am. Their DVD's "ABBA-The Definitive Collection" and "Super Trouper" are equally rousing and sure to provide you with several hours of musical pleasure. Print out the lyrics from a web site and have a sing along with these very singable lyrics.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2001
I am one of the biggest Abba fans in the world, and have purchased many compilation sets by Abba, This is truly one of the best. It has all the hits from both UK and the US, and if they added 'Rock Me' it would have included all the big Australian hits too. I love that it's in chronological order giving the listener the chance to hear the progress of the group from the beginning to end. My favorite track is 'The Day Before You Came'. You hear all the pain the group is going through from Agnetha vocals, to the howling background vocal and the simple use of percussion-simply brilliant- I put it on a lot of mix tapes I give to friends. If you haven't purchased an Abba album, this is the one. You get all the great songs, and it leaves off the misses that might be on a few other albums (though that's rare in my opinion). Enjoy! Buy early, buy often