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1980 Super Trouper
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 ABBA-SUPER TROUPER 1980 Avail. worldwide on CD

Abba joins the circus here.? ABBA's yuppie record? No let's start over...

Super Trouper is regarded by some as ABBA's best album ,perhaps ,simply because for the first time Bjorn has stopped singing altogether, oops-no I meant to say he has stopped slouching on the lyrics. There are no weak tracks here. ABBA is mature and self assured here. On this album they don't try to go too much into one direction -we find- a little disco, a little theatre, a little whimsy, a little rock, a little folk, as well as some topical music here. Yet, the whole thing is a very cohesive, if perhaps a slightly bland record. Some have claimed that this was ABBA's best selling studio album, but if that's true that's probably because of market expansion.-On a whole,(prior to the era of file sharing) record sales tended to go up , rather than down due to increasing population and other factors such as increasing mass media exposure. ABBA certainly were not any more popular at this point ,their popularity had probably already peaked but they were more broadly well known by more people throughout the world n 1980 than in 1976. .

Björn by now ,was finally, writing consistently good lyrics. His lyrics were finally reflecting his and the groups' own personal experiences. On this album and it's later sister, THE VISITORS . Abba begin to address their own maturity, and personal heartaches. Pete Townsend has noted that ABBA were one of the few rock acts to address middle age.

On this album, the Agnetha & Frida begin to do a lot more solo lead singing. Though there is still some unison singing by Aggie & Frida,it tends to be just in the chorus or the backings,not in the verses. The biggest hit from the album "The Winner Takes It All" is practically a solo vocal.

Musician credits sourced from original CD/album liner notes or from THE COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS by Carl Magnus Palm.

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The Remaster Cover

1. Super Trouper (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead vocal-Frida 4.11 Recorded October 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson, Lead Guitar-Janne Schaffer
Bass Guitar-Mike Watson Percussion-Ake Sundqvist
Drums-Per Lindvall

"Super Trouper" ,featuring the lovely Frida ,was ABBA's last British # 1 hit-and perhaps one of the least distinctive songs of their #1 hits. A song about stage lighting, I don't know... This song is not overwhelming but it's endearing, likable....and most importantly, it has a monster hook in the chorus.

2. The Winner Takes It All(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead vocal-Agnetha 4.55 Recorded June 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Agnetha Faltskog,Backing Vocals-Frida Lyngstad
Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson ,Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Mike Watson Percussion-Ake Sundqvist
Drums-Ola Brunkert ,String arrangements-Rutger Gunnarsson

"The Winner Takes It All" was the biggest hit from the album, it features a virtuoso performence from Agnetha. It's a remarkably well written, if simple, song. It touches gingerly but effectively on Agnetha 's divorce from Björn. For some reason, I tend to find it musically kind of boring-and thus it's not a personal favorite of mine.

3. On And On And On( Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida, Agnetha 3.40 Recorded February 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Lead &Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Backing Vocals-Keyboards-Benny Andersson Lead Guitar-Janne Schaffer
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Saxophones-Lars Carlsson,Katjek Wotjciechowki, Janne Kling Drums-Ola Brunkert

On and On and On" is a rare thing -a ABBA song with more interesting lyrics than music. The lyrics are a bit goofy but funny. Example- "So I took advantage of the fact that I am star, shook my hair ,and took a casual stroll up to the bar"! On the chorus vocals, Onx3 obliquely reflects the influence of the Beach Boys ,one of Benny's favorite groups. On x 3 was coupled on a 12 inch single in Great Britain with "Lay All Your On me" .

4. Andante, Andante (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal -Frida 4.39 Recorded February 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert

Frida sings "Andante, Andante' and I haven't been able to figure out what her style of singing is-but she sounds like Julio Iglelias, Eartha Kitt,or Roy Orbison she's doing a vibrato or something. This song was also recorded in Spanish. Like so many of ABBA 's non-hit album track it is very listenable. The backing vocals are unusual-they are very breathy and low...The song is rare in that Lasse's guitar carries most of the melody rather then Benny's keyboards.

5. Me And I (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida 4.54 Recorded September 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert. Percussion-Ake Sundqvist

"ME and I' is a rather clever & cheerful song about multiple personalities. Which Frida carries off quite efficiently. "LALOM" and "Winner Takes It all " notwithstanding,it's seems that by this album that Frida was finally getting her due when it came to vocal opportunities.

6. Happy New Year (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha 4.23 Recorded February 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Agnetha Faltskog,Backing Vocals-Frida Lyngstad
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Janne
Schaffer

Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert

"Happy New Year" -Well, ABBA was too uptight to ever do a Christmas song-instead we get this, and the darn thing was already a year old when it came out. It was released again at the end of 1999 in some markerts as a not very successful millenium single. Still like so many ABBA tracks "HNY" is just a simply beautiful song and a shimmering production. As usual-you need to listen to all the cool backing vocals-like on the " man-is a fool-dragging on feet of clay "section.This song would not be out of place among Aggie's songs on The Visitors.. This song was also recorded in Spanish.

7.Our Last Summer(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida 4.19 Recorded June 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar, Guitar solo., Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert, Percussion-Ake Sundqvist

I like "Our Last Summer" a lot. The lyric ( according to the PALM book)
is inspired on a actual romance Björn had in Paris in the 1960's.

"Paris Restaurants ,Morning croissants" is the most evocative couplet in the ABBA repertoire. This is ABBA song where you can actually get a mental picture from the lyrics.That said there is still some awkwardness in the text. Frida sings the line ,"That was the time of the Flower Power", like she never met a hippie in her life. And how about ... "A family man, a football fan and your name is Harry". Augh.
But you know, I wouldn't have been paying attention if the lyric as a whole wasn't a very good one. Musically of course, the record is perfection , with dozens of cool l little riffs ( each different then the next following one after an other, and cool low hum somehow can be heard in the chorus . Hear also the way Frida raises her voice at the very end..

8. The Piper; (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha & Frida 3.26 Recorded February 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Lead& Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar, Guitar solo -Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert ,Flutes-Janne Kling

"The Piper" is a pseudo folk tune. Though the idea for song came from the Stephen King book- THE STAND. This record has a chorus singing on it-that almost sounds like their not overdubbed A&F vocals,but that is how good A&F were. "The Piper" has some words in Latin . Is there a language that Björn doesn't know?

9. Lay All Your Love On Me; (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha 4.33 Recorded September 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Agnetha Faltskog,Backing Vocals-Frida Lyngstad
Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert

LAYLOM is a better record than anything on VOULEZ-VOUS. But is probably too hymnlike -to be considered a good dance club record..The single was a hit in many American dance clubs but like so many of ABBA's later 45's flopped on the American single chart. Strangely, this single wasn't really pushed in most territories.

10. The Way Old Friends Do (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Agnetha & Frida 2.57 Recorded live probably November 8 , 1979 Wembley Arena, London

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Lead Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Backing Vocals, Accordion.Keyboards-Benny Andersson, Keyboards-Anders Eljas
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander, Guitar Mats Ronader
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola BrunkertPercussion-Ake Sundqvist

Super Trouper closes with "The Way Old Friends Do." The song always seemed a little contrived to me which is annoying because it's has a good melody and seems
like a much better anthem/signature song than "Thank You For The Music". On this album ,"Friends" is produced with a little much bombast. The gentle lyrics seem a little out of place in the bombast The liner notes say that "Friends' was recorded live,but the track was added to in the studio which detracts a bit from this songs 'spontaneity and sincerity. Perhaps should have done two versions-one version live with just A,B & F singing along to Benny's accordion and a different version in the studio with some of no-holds barred bombast. But B&B were probably trying to find a happy medium.. B&B obviously didn't have much faith in spontaneous heartfelt live recordings.

Extra tracks: 11. Elaine;( Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida& Agnetha Recorded February 1`980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert

One non-album track from the Super Trouper sessions was used as the b-side to "The Winner Takes It all" . That b-side was "Elaine" a synth pop song about a slightly paranoid person-that was supposedly inspired by a relative of one the band members. . It's not a great song-but's it's fun to listen to, more fun than the depressing "Winner Takes It All" .ABBA's B-sides were finally getting interesting!

12. Put On Your White Sombrero(Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal-Frida Recorded September 1980

Lead & Backing Vocals-,Frida Lyngstad ,Backing Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog
Guitar & Backing Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus
Keyboards-Benny Andersson
Lead Guitar-Lasse Wellander
Bass Guitar-Rutger Gunnarsson
Drums-Ola Brunkert

"Put on Your White Sombrero" , a great Spanish flavored song with a awkward if interesting title &lyrics. The song was left of the Super Trouper album due to the lack of space-but oddly was not released even as an b-side. The singing on this song is absolutely phenomenal probably the best background singing of ABBA's 1980's recordings. Some of the song's arrangement was recycled for use in the 1982 B-side "Cassandra" . Sombrero finally saw official release on the 1994 box set.

OTHER tracks recorded

"Burning My Bridges' is a pseudo - country song sung by Björn.("Bridges' has a great guitar riff by Lasse Wellander ) "Bridges" would not be released officially till many years later when it showed up on ABBA's Box set .

In addtion. Spanish Versions were recorded of "Happy New Year "and "Andante, Andante "

 

 OTHER VIEWS, EXCERPTS FROM PUBLISHED REVIEWS OF SUPER TROUPER.

"Just Like Every other ABBA LP; a few sparklers and few duds, What's worrisome is the grandiose, romantic sensibiltity exhibited by some of the turkeys, B&B want to class up the act! T'aint necessary (or heathly fellows!)" -Jon Young in the Trouser Press.

"It would appear that B&B are reaching for higher things than pop/rock..they would now seem to be aiming for Broadway musical potential and they just might make target"-Stereo Review.

 ABBA-Super Trouper (Remastered 2001) CD and limited edition Digipak

Features new liner notes by Carl Magnus Palm and two bonus tracks. So now, the words Super Trouper and ABBA are on the bottom, of the cover yeah, that's worth 18 dollars.For this remastered edition "Gimme ! Gimme! Gimme!" was removed as a bonus track from Super Trouper and put onto VOULEZ-VOUS which stylistically and artistically makes sense.

1. Super Trouper; 2. The Winner Takes It All; 3. On And On And On; 4. Andante, Andante; 5. Me And I; 6. Happy New Year; 7. Our Last Summer; 8. The Piper; 9. Lay All Your Love On Me; 10. The Way Old Friends Do;

Extra tracks: 11. Elaine; 12. Put On Your White Sombrero

 Details for that circus album

 * Swedish release November 1980 # 1

* UK release November 1980 # 1

* US release November 1980 # 17

* Recorded at Polar Studios, Stockholm

* Recorded February 1980-October 80

* Produced,written and arranged by (Andersson-Ulvaeus)

Super Trouper tracks

 

 

-Side A-

* Super Trouper (Lead Vocal-Frida)

* The Winner Takes It All (Lead Vocal-Agnetha)

* On and On and On

* Andante, Andante(Lead Vocal-Frida)

* Me and I (Lead Vocal-Frida)

 

* -Side B

* Happy New Year (Lead Vocal-Agnetha)

* Our Last Summer (Lead vocal -Frida)

* The Piper

* Lay All Your Love On me (Lead Vocal-Agnetha)

* The Way Old Friends Do

 

* -other tracks recorded-

* Elaine (b-side)

* Put On Your White Sombrero (box set)

* Burning My Bridges (box set)

* Hovas Vittne (private issue )

* Tividshambo -instrumental vers.(private issue)

* Fanfare for Ice Hockey Championship (private issue)

* Nationalsang (unreleased, tune later used as "Anthem")

 

SINGLES drawn fromSuper Trouper albumThe Winner Takes It All/Elaine
Super Trouper/The Piper
Lay All Your Love On me/On and On and On

 

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