13 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

ABBA concluded their album-making career on a high (if bittersweet) note with The Visitors (1981). Marital discord and career pressures sealed the foursome’s fate – but rather than let their legacy peter out, ABBA turned their swansong into a striking final statement. The Visitors bears the influence of New Wave bands like Ultravox and the Buggles; its sleek sound conceals moody asides and quirky left turns. Themes of inner turmoil and disillusionment replace the usually upbeat sentiments the band had been known for – the title track throbs with paranoia, while “Like An Angel Passing Through My Room” stirs the ashes of dying love, and “When All Is Said And Done” and “One Of Us” become vehicles for singers Frida and Agnetha to work out their post-romantic angst. The arrangements are fresh and inventive, mixing tingling mandolins and chiming guitars with surging keyboard lines and hints of reggae. The regrets underlying the songs are clearly evident – yet there’s a vigor to these tracks that mitigates the sorrow. Both a farewell and a culmination, The Visitors is ABBA’s most revealing album and among their very best releases overall.

EDITORS’ NOTES

ABBA concluded their album-making career on a high (if bittersweet) note with The Visitors (1981). Marital discord and career pressures sealed the foursome’s fate – but rather than let their legacy peter out, ABBA turned their swansong into a striking final statement. The Visitors bears the influence of New Wave bands like Ultravox and the Buggles; its sleek sound conceals moody asides and quirky left turns. Themes of inner turmoil and disillusionment replace the usually upbeat sentiments the band had been known for – the title track throbs with paranoia, while “Like An Angel Passing Through My Room” stirs the ashes of dying love, and “When All Is Said And Done” and “One Of Us” become vehicles for singers Frida and Agnetha to work out their post-romantic angst. The arrangements are fresh and inventive, mixing tingling mandolins and chiming guitars with surging keyboard lines and hints of reggae. The regrets underlying the songs are clearly evident – yet there’s a vigor to these tracks that mitigates the sorrow. Both a farewell and a culmination, The Visitors is ABBA’s most revealing album and among their very best releases overall.

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