TOP 1000 REZENSENTam 30. März 2005
Here you get all of Abba's classic hits in one outstanding package, together with a selection of album tracks, B-sides and rarities. Famous songs dominate the first three CD's including Waterloo, SOS, Mamma Mia, Fernando, Dancing queen, Money money money, Knowing me knowing you, Name of the game, Take a chance on me, Summer night city, Chiquitita, Does your mother know, Voulez-vous, Angel eyes, Gimmie gimmie gimmie, I have a dream. Winner takes it all, Super trouper, Lay all your love on me and One of us. Of course, these songs are generally available on other compilations but the advantage of this set is that you get all the minor hits and other important recordings as well as all the big hits. Honey honey was a hit for Abba in some countries but not Britain, where Sweet Dreams (a duo featuring Polly Browne, former lead singer of Pickettywitch) had a top ten hit with it.
Within those first three CD's, all tracks are presented in chronological order and clearly illustrate the development of the group from its early folk-influenced pop music through the disco era and beyond. Much of the music on the first two CD's is happy, cheerful music, reflecting the joy and pleasure they had in being together. Sad songs were a rarity in those days, though there were some - like Knowing me knowing you. When the strains in their relationships surfaced, sadder songs became a more significant part of their repertoire and this shows on the third CD - there are plenty here.
Among the album tracks, everybody (except those who are only interested in the hits) has their personal favorites. Some of mine (The piper, Why did it have to be me, Move on, Nina pretty ballerina) are not here but others (Another town another train, When I kissed the teacher, Dance while the music still goes on, The way old friends do) are here. I see other reviews in which others name their favorite omissions. I love those tracks too, but even four CD's cannot include everything. All the original albums (often with extra tracks) are available at a reasonable price and that is the only way to get all the great album tracks.
The final CD is devoted to rarities but is clearly designed to appeal to a much larger audience than Abba's die-hard fans - it isn't filled with boring alternate takes that are only slightly different from the standard versions. Some of these tracks have since become less rare - Put on a white sombrero and the folk medley have since been added as bonus tracks to re-mastered original albums - but it's still great to see these tracks here. There is clearly a need for a separate rarities compilation, perhaps even a whole boxed set, but this boxed set was designed for a mass market and succeeds brilliantly in that.
Die-hard fans will buy this box anyway, whatever reservations they may have. For everybody else, this is the ultimate Abba compilation.