The Originals

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Strangely enough, given its name, this three-disc repackaging of three separately released ABBA-related albums consists of only one original album, plus two compilations. Within the rudimentary box are ABBA's 1974 breakthrough album Waterloo, the 1996 ABBA compilation The Music Still Goes On, and the 1994 collection The Voice of ABBA, containing solo recordings by former ABBA singers Agnetha Faltskog and Frida. The group was still in an early state when it released Waterloo on the heels of the international hit and Eurovision Song Contest winner of the same name. Album tracks like "Hasta Mañana" and the Phil Spector-ish "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" sounded like the later ABBA, but the reggae tune "Sitting in the Palmtree," with its masculine lead vocals, and other tracks were aberrations from a formula that would come to be firmly fixed. The Music Still Goes On came along 14 years after the band's demise, when many compilations had been released, and it was a patchy selection of stray album tracks and songs that had been singles in some territories but not others, among them "The Visitors," which only the U.S. chose as a 45 release. The Voice of ABBA, alternating between Faltskog and Frida tracks, drew from each singer's two early-1980s solo albums, oddly ignoring Faltskog's sole American Top 40 hit, "Can't Shake Loose," but including Frida's Top 20 offering "I Know There's Something Going On," with its signature Phil Collins drum sound, "Here We'll Stay," a duet with Collins, and "Heart of the Country," written by Big Country's Stuart Adamson, and sounding like it. ABBA fans weren't much attracted to this material the first time around, and the compilation didn't really pick the best of it. The Originals, then, takes us through ABBA's history from 1974 to 1985, but not comprehensively.

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