Agnetha Fältskog

Eyes of a Woman

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Lushly produced by 10cc's Eric Stewart, with all the lavish attention to detail that one would expect, Agnetha Faltskog's second English-language solo album is a lean and occasionally brooding hybrid of overstated '80s adult rock and boisterous Euro-pop, a blend that is epitomized by the opening cut, Jeff Lynne's "One Way Love," and never goes away thereafter. It makes for discomforting listening. Her final recordings with ABBA, after all, placed Faltskog in a fascinating position, a dark, doomed chanteuse capable of wringing crippling emotion from the most innocuous lyric. Only occasionally, however, does Eyes of a Woman even glance back in that direction (most notably on the title track), with Faltskog preferring elsewhere to disguise even the most distinctive elements of her voice beneath the overwhelming power balladry that was so characteristic of the age. Producer Stewart's own "I Won't Be Leaving You" emerges a lovely, sad song, comparable to any of the ballads he contributed to latter-day 10cc albums, while "I Won't Let You Go" (a Stewart/Faltskog collaboration) and Justin Hayward's "The Angels Cry" are both powerful enough to break through the album's overall sheen. Unfortunately, they are the exceptions. Elsewhere, Faltskog seems content simply to voice the words laid before her, an apparent disinterest that was broadcast even further first by her refusal to promote the album, then by her almost total disappearance from the public gaze. The eyes of this woman had obviously seen too much.

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