39 Songs, 2 Hours 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Getting a handle on the abundance of key tracks in ABBA’s platinum-studded catalog can be daunting. Fortunately, The Essential Collection manages the job nicely by gathering the band’s top hits from a variety of international markets, with a sprinkling of b-sides and album cuts as well. This two-disc compilation testifies to the creative ambition and growth that ABBA's four members displayed over a decade’s worth of recording. As these 39 tracks show, Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha, and Frida moved from the bubbly ’50-influenced rock of “Ring Ring” into the mature balladry of “The Day Before You Came” and the sleek techno-pop of “Under Attack” without losing their distinctive melodic charm. Lesser-known tracks like “That’s Me,” “One Man, One Woman,” and “Happy New Year” stand up well against the signature hits. While other anthologies are more exhaustive, The Essential Collection is probably the one to have if you want to experience ABBA at their most inventive, energized, and enduringly successful. (Also available is a DVD version of the album that contains 36 music videos and promo clips.)

EDITORS’ NOTES

Getting a handle on the abundance of key tracks in ABBA’s platinum-studded catalog can be daunting. Fortunately, The Essential Collection manages the job nicely by gathering the band’s top hits from a variety of international markets, with a sprinkling of b-sides and album cuts as well. This two-disc compilation testifies to the creative ambition and growth that ABBA's four members displayed over a decade’s worth of recording. As these 39 tracks show, Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha, and Frida moved from the bubbly ’50-influenced rock of “Ring Ring” into the mature balladry of “The Day Before You Came” and the sleek techno-pop of “Under Attack” without losing their distinctive melodic charm. Lesser-known tracks like “That’s Me,” “One Man, One Woman,” and “Happy New Year” stand up well against the signature hits. While other anthologies are more exhaustive, The Essential Collection is probably the one to have if you want to experience ABBA at their most inventive, energized, and enduringly successful. (Also available is a DVD version of the album that contains 36 music videos and promo clips.)

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