Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Gold: Greatest Hits – Abba [#535]

ABBA_Gold_coverMy music collection and thus Stegzy’s Music Project has more gold than Fort Knox it seems. This time it’s Swedish gold from seventies/eighties pop gods, Abba.

If you’ve been following the project for some time, or maybe had a late night discussion with me over a few pints, you’ll already know of my feelings about Abba and how I hold them in higher regard than to the Beatles for their contribution to world music and our musical development. A sentiment backed increasingly by other self important gobshites on  recent documentaries shown on the BBC.

Abba’s Gold is a true treasure trove of songs, most of which we’ve already heard on similar “best of” albums such as 25 Jaar Na “Waterloo” and will hear again on Thank You for The Music. Thing is, when you’re a band that solely relies on the resale of your own music through the proliferation of Greatest Hits, Best ofs and similar albums, you run the risk that future generations will not buy your other albums because they’ve “already got 90% of that album now already”.

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Earmeal – Janne Schaffer [#406]

UnknownIf you happen to be making a 1970s porn film complete with car chase, man with suggestively large moustache and outrageous orange and brown patterned clothing, you’ll probably need this album to be your sound track.

Schaffer was a Swedish session musician who worked with Abba and Toto and this album was probably released to show off what kind of style he was good at. It’s alright and I often get comments about how the album is quite funky and exciting but repeated plays often face the cold shoulder or pleas for mercy.

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Album #86 – Arrival – Abba

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 15.22.30 Arrival – ABBA

Oh dear.

I grew up on a force fed diet of  ABBA to such an extent they are part of my genetics. Every song I hear is immediately recognised as ABBA, in fact, I often go as far to say that ABBA was more influential than the Beatles. Yes. That’s right. I said it. Me a scouser. ABBA are more influential on culture than the Beatles will ever be and they remain so.

Arrival was ABBA’s fourth studio album and was released in 1976. Cheesey cheery pop with often sinister lyrics. When I Kissed the Teacher is clearly unPC these days, Dancing Queen is also very suspicious when listened with modern ears and as for Money Money Money…well that’s just wrong on so many levels.

Arrival clearly makes the happy cheery smiley face of cheesey pop grin that little bit wider. However, when you look deep into the eyes of the beast, you notice pain, emotional earthquakes and  sinister sexual overtones. Moreover, on closer inspection you will cringe everytime Auntie Beryl sings away to Dancing Queen at the family disco.

Not a bad album once you see past the ribbons and fluff.

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Music Project – Album #45 – A Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

 

imageA Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

Possibly one of the best compilations I have in my library. The Metal Tribue To Abba compilation never fails to raise a smile on faces as a group of (mostly) European metal bands rip into some of Abba’s popular pop songs with the power of a force ten gale. And it works.

 

Starting with Summer Night City performed by choral metal group Therion the listener is carried through Thank you for the Music, Voulez-Vouz and Chiquitita by bands whose names probably won’t be familiar to people inside the UK. Really, this is a treat. I urge anybody with even the slightest penchant for chugga-chugga guitars, thrash drums and chicks in latex with long hair and comedy inflatable breasts to find and listen to this album.

 

In the meantime….here is a Youtube clip

 

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Music Project Album #12 – 25 Jaar Na "Waterloo" – Abba

25 Jaar Na “Waterloo” by Abba

I am a firm believer that when someone breaks John Lennon’s rose tinted spectacles, historians will realise that the most influential band of the past 50 years was not John, Paul, George and Ringo and was in fact Abba. No. You will fail to convince me otherwise. I won’t hear it. Every record collection of people born in the 1970s should include at least one Abba single or album. Everyone knows an Abba song if not an album. Every family gathering since 1978 has had a cheezy disco with at least one Abba song or melody playing.

Hell, Bjorn and Benny have not stopped with Abba and have continued to exude their musical talent in areas you probably wouldnt believe. Their mix of cleverly crafted lyrics and joyous pop tell dark and sinister stories of unrequited love, collapsing relationships and even underage sex. There is nothing more disconcerting than watching old Aunts cheerfully caterwaul along to an Abba song, blissfully unaware what the true meaning of the lyrics are.

I can see you will need convincing.

Listen to  Take a Chance on Me and tell me that the lyrics are not those of a stalker. Dancing Queen – a story of a leering pervert. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! – the wanton desires of a nymphomaniac. Chiquitita – the story of someone taking advantage of someone in dire romantic straits. The Name of the Game – about prostitution.  Knowing Me, Knowing You – the story of a failed marriage and the fallout of a truly disastrous argument, the consequences of which are self uncertainty and depression further supported by Winner Takes it All which is clearly the vitriolic outburst of the spurned spouse. It’s weird watching people dance, stomp away and sway joyfully at songs with such deep and dark meanings. It’s kind of like watching your gran sing along to Radiohead’s Paranoid Android. Wrong on so many levels.

25 Jaar Na Waterloo (aka 25 Years Since Waterloo) is a compilation album from the Netherlands. I don’t need to tell you what it sounds like as unless you’ve been living in a soundproof booth for the past 40 years you will know Abba. It’s a good mix of Abba favourites, maybe not for all the family, but certainly for those that like them.

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