ABBA

Ring Ring

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AllMusic Review by

If it seems as though the familiar ABBA sound isn't present on this album, that's because there was no entity known as ABBA at the time that the earliest sides here were recorded. Growing out of an attempt by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus to record together with their respective companions, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida "Anni-Frid" Lyngstad, the first side cut here, "People Need Love," featured the two men singing just as prominently as the women, and was credited to "Bjorn and Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid." It was only after its release and the cutting of a further single, "Ring, Ring," that the more familiar sound of the quartet began to coalesce along with the idea of a permanent professional association. Unreleased in the United States until 1995, this album is more of a generic European pop release than an ABBA release; the music has several unusual attributes, including Andersson and Ulvaeus singing lead on several cuts, and also one original song, the moody ballad "Disillusion," co-authored by Agnetha Faltskog. Most of what's here is pleasantly upbeat Europop, with unusually good playing and a lot of spirit, all showing the influence of mainstream American and British pop/rock, including the late-era Beatles and early Elton John, and on the title track, a Phil Spector-proportioned production. Ring Ring was reissued in October of 2001 with extensive notes, state-of-the-art sound, and three bonus tracks: the single B-sides "Merry-Go-Round" and "Santa Rosa" (a smooth piece of California-style rock in the mold of the early Eagles) and the Swedish version of "Ring, Ring" (which charted number one in Sweden to the English version's number two spot).

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