Super Trouper

Song Review by

An oft-overlooked key to ABBA's success is that their ballads were as catchy and memorable as their up-tempo pop tunes. The reason for this is that songwriters Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson made certain their ballads were just as tight and hook-laden as their purely pop efforts. A great example is "Super Trouper," which derives its unusual title from the nickname for a kind of giant spotlight used at arena concerts. The lyric is a simple but well-told tale of a superstar who overcomes her weariness from the demands of fame when she discovers that her love will be in the audience. This sentimental narrative could have been mawkish but it derives a genuine heart-tugging pull from a gentle, hypnotic melody whose notes rise and fall to match the lyric's mood swings. To keep the proceedings from becoming too syrupy, Ulvaeus and Andersson weave in a bright singalong chorus with an Asian lilt reminiscent of the chorus for "Mamma Mia." This balance of sweet verses and catchy choruses makes "Super Trouper" a ballad that is likely to win a listener's heart even as it inspires them to tap their toes. The overall catchiness is further enhanced on ABBA's recording by a bevy of instrumental and vocal hooks that include the tapestry of keyboard lines that form the song's backbone and the "oom-pah"-style backup vocals on the chorus. The record's appeal is sealed by a stately lead vocal from Frida Lyngstad, who wrings the narrative for its maximum emotion without overdoing it. All these attributes make "Super Trouper" a ballad that is as fun as an up-tempo pop song in its own gentle way.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Super Trouper 1980 PolyGram 4:11
No Image 1982 Polydor
No Image 1983 Montery / IVE
Best of ABBA 1984 Silver Eagle Records
Hits 1987 Pickwick 4:10
Greatest Hits of the Eighties 1989
Various Artists
Gold: Greatest Hits [Video] 1993 Polydor
Gold: Greatest Hits 1993 Polydor / PolyGram 4:13
Thank You for the Music [1995] 1995 Polydor
Thank You for the Music [Box] 1995 Polygram 4:13
Forever Gold 1998 Polydor / Polygram 4:14
Singles Collection 1972-82 1999 Polygram 4:15
25th Anniversary Singles Collection 1999 Polar Records 4:15
European Collection: A Foreign Affair, Vol.2 1999
Various Artists
First Town 4:16
Complete Golden Collection 2000 Polygram 4:13
Simply the Best Superstars 2001
Various Artists
WSM 4:14
The Definitive Collection 2001 UTV / Polygram 4:13
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Warner Music
No Image 2001 Polar Records 4:13
The Songs of ABBA 2002 K-Tel Distribution 4:32
Real ABBA Gold [Musicbank] 2002 Musicbank
The ABBA Story 2004 Polar Records 4:12
Todo ABBA: Sus Grandes Exitos 2004 Universal / Polar 4:13
Super Troupers: From Waterloo to Mamma Mia! [DVD] 2004 Universal International
The Complete Studio Recordings 2005 Universal / Universal International 4:15
No Image 2005 Universal Distribution 4:11
18 Hits 2006 Universal International 4:14
Number Ones 2006 Polar Records 4:13
S.O.S.: Best of ABBA 2007 Polar Records
Golden Years 2007 PHV
No Image 2007 Polydor
The Albums 2008 Polydor / Universal / Universal Distribution 4:15
ABBA Gold 2009 Universal Distribution 4:13
ABBA: The Vinyl Collection 2010 Polydor / Universal Distribution / Universal Music 4:15
Collected 2011 Universal 4:14
The Essential Collection 2012 Polar / Polydor 4:12
Amazing 80s 2017
Various Artists
UMOD / Universal 4:12
The Best of ABBA Universal 4:13