Gold: Greatest Hits – ABBA

Released September 21, 1992 this is technically ABBA’s best selling album as well as one of the best selling albums of all time with 30 million and counting. It is considered the most influential compilation ever released because it created a lasting revival of interest in ABBA’s music a decade after they broke up.

Jason: I call bullshit on this list. BULL SHIT for including a Greatest Hits.

Brad: Yeah, I don’t think greatest hits should be included either but this won’t be the only one on this list.

Jason: Right, our next album up is a greatest hits as well. At least that one has two new songs for the album. I mean, if this list is going to have a Greatest Hits album then just make them all greatest hits otherwise only stick to studio albums. Regardless, ABBA is one of those bands that everyone knows and everyone knows every word to their songs.

Brad: They have so many catchy songs. Other than “Dancing Queen” I don’t really remember hearing their songs on the radio when I was kid. One of my very first records I ever got was a weird promo compilation album that I got for free at the Midland County Fair that included “Fernando” & “Waterloo”. I still have that record but I played it so much when I was a kid that it is all scratched up. 

Jason: This is when albums could be purchased at your local fast food restaurant. It’s funny you say that because I never remember them on the radio either but I had the Alvin and the Chipmunks Rock album that had songs like ‘Bette Davis Eyes”, “Jesse’s Girl”, two Pat Benatar songs and “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA. It was the first and only time I had heard ABBA. I really hated the Chipmunks (still do) but I loved the song so I played it a lot. They also had “Leader of the Pack” which always disturbed me because it was about a guy who dies in a motorcycle accident and it was on a children’s album being sung by cartoons.

Brad: That’s interesting. That must have been the Kidz Bop of our generation. I was looking at ABBA’s chart success and they had a string of about twenty Top 20 hits in the U.S. but only a handful made it to the top ten. That surprised me but I guess ABBA Gold has been such a huge success since it was released in 1992 that it makes you thinks that all of these songs must have been bigger hits than they actually were.

Jason: We can also thank the movies “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” both Australian movies from 1994 that featured ABBA. So the gay Gen-Xers discovered ABBA from those films and they have a resurgence in the clubs. 

Brad: In 1992 before ABBA Gold, Erasure released an EP of ABBA covers called Abba-esque and I think that is what made me interested in ABBA again.

Jason: Oh right. I forgot about that. Then the world definitely has the gays to thank for keeping ABBA relevant.

Brad: Do you remember A-Teens?

Jason: Yes, that weird band from the early 2000s where they just sang ABBA songs. They lasted like… 2 albums. I don’t see their Greatest Hits on this list.

Brad: I totally have one of those albums.

Jason: I know you do. So what’s your favorite song on ABBA GOLD?

Brad: “Take A Chance On Me” is probably my favorite but there are so many that I like. How about you?

Jason: “I really like “Does Your Mother Know” because the bassline is ridiculous and the chorus has an ELO vibe to it but that song is weird. It’s about an older guy that is flirting with a teenager (or a child?). At least he is telling her “no” after a point unlike the world’s creepiest pedophile song from the 80s. You know the one I am referring to.

Brad: Yes that creepy “She’s just 16 years old…” song. 

Jason: Benny Mardones “Into the Night”. Yes.

Brad: I’m really surprised by your choice. “Does Your Mother Know” is the only song on this album I don’t like.

Jason: Really?! Why?

Brad: I prefer the AA’s on lead vocals and the BB’s in the background.

Jason: Fair enough. “Does Your Mother Know” is one of the few songs that the BBs lead on. I also really like “Knowing Me, Knowing You” when when of the A’s whisper-sings “Bad days.” It’s creepy and funny.

Brad: What is your least favorite?

Jason: Hmmm. That’s hard to say because there is something about each of the songs that I really like. Like in “Lay All Your Love On Me” I like how the synths go ‘deet deet deet deet’ down the scale. And I like “Sup-perper, Troo-perper”. I guess maybe…”Take A Chance On Me”. It’s overplayed. And also the Chipmunks ruined it.

Brad: I was expecting you to say “I Have A Dream” because it contains something you hate.

Jason: Ooh. let me think about this…Oh, a children’s chorus. Yes, let’s say it’s that one. You know me better than I know myself.

Brad: I actually like that song but I think about your hatred of children’s choirs every time

Jason: That one is less obnoxious because Agnetha & Anni-Frid sing over them. 

Brad: I was noticing while re-listening to this how much some of their later songs sound like Olivia Newton-John or vice versa.

Jason: Yes! I was thinking that too. Like “The Name of the Game”.

Brad: Yes. Especially that one.

Jason: There really isn’t anything bad about this album save for the vaguely creepy child-molestation song.

Brad: That is the bad song but I will forgive it. And much like the Beatles, they were only together for 10 years. So this is pretty impressive.

Jason: And they are still as relevant although I would say The Beatles are more artistic and ABBA is more disco-cheez-pop. Their sound doesn’t evolve over a decade.

Brad: Definitely. But I love pop music. Would you go to their upcoming hologram tour?

Jason: …maybe? It’s weird because they aren’t dead so they should just be there. It would be a lot of fun. If I (you) won tickets then yes for sure. You?

Brad: Yeah, I’d totally go to that!

Jason: Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid have to be billionaires by now. So what grade are you giving this Greatest Hits?

Brad: Even though we’re both not pleased that a greatest hits was on this list, I still have to give it an A

Jason: I am going with an A because it’s so much fun and every time I hear “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! A Man After Midnight” it makes me want to listen to that Madonna’s “Hung Up”. 

Brad: Madonna doesn’t use a lot of samples in her music but that was a great sample for her to use. 

Jason: Agreed. Now everyone should go watch “Muriel’s Wedding” and maybe “Mama Mia: Here We Go Again” but not the original “Mama Mia” movie because it’s atrocious. 

Brad: I agree. And listen to Cher’s ABBA album too.

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