Agnetha Faltskog is one of the most iconic singers to grace the musical world over the past 50 years. With her angelic vocals, long blonde locks and globally adored good looks, Agnetha was the face of 70’s pop supergroup, ABBA. Performing alongside band members Frida Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaes and Benny Anderson, ABBA are still regarded today as one of the most unrivalled musical powerhouses in the industry.
Though the band parted ways in the early eighties, ABBA have remained a staple in popular music ever since they won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1974 with their single, Waterloo. Following the bands win they released a string of records that have sold in excess of 370 million copies over the years, making ABBA one of the best-selling artists of all time. Agnetha’s vocal style, stamp and skill are symbolic of the seventies, probably more so than any other artist.
After a number of years away from the glimmering lights of pop music’s bright spotlight, Agnetha returned with the 2004 comeback record, My Colouring Book, her first album in over 17 years. The record was a fair success in Europe and although it may not have reached the same commercial heights as her work in ABBA, it helped keep the songbird in the public eye after so many years out of the public eye, living a famously reclusive life in her native Sweden.
With another 9 years passed since My Colouring Book, Agnetha Faltskog is back with a brand new collection, the simply titled A, an assortment of new pennings to put the superstar right back into the global arena where she belongs.
The opening The One Who Loves You Now is a touching swirl of balladry with the singer’s vocals, still crisp as she flexes them in the tracks rich, momentous chorus, raining over a gorgeous instrumental arrangement and, although the tracks construction sounds quite dated, the number is still a memorable and charming intro to the icons new collection.
When You Really Loved Someone is built on a similar balladic template with a nod to electronica as a deep synth holds the track together, providing the number with a brimming instrumentation that also consists of a gentle acoustic guitar and an orchestral chorus that is every bit the power-ballad style of Agnetha’s vast contributions in ABBA.
Perfume in the Breeze is an uplifting, summery hit which is plumped up with whistling and a seasoning of the stars more up-tempo vocal skills, pulling together one of the albums standout pennings while Past Forever, with its cinematic unfurling and sugary chorus harmonies, unfolds like a West End musical hit while the tracks brief accordion filled moments provide a subtle yet complimentary guest appearance on the track.
The singer’s disco roots break loose on Dance Your Pain Away and this is the track we were waiting for on A. This seventies inspired dance-floor hit is a catchy toe-tapper with similar qualities to the singers previous ABBA work, particularly tracks like Voulez-Vous. While the track is the albums token up-tempo inclusion, it does a fine job at splitting up the balladry on the record and shows us that this diva still has what it takes to produce not only stunning balladry but also hits to get the blood pumping.
The appropriately titled Back On Your Radio Is a sweet mid-tempo number with just the right ingredients to become a future radio hit for Agnetha. With lines like “caught in a radio shadow for the longest time”, Agnetha is clearly directing focus on her commodious time off the musical radar.
Perhaps hoping to catch the attention of a younger generation of pop fans, Agnetha has enrolled the help of Take That front man Gary Barlow on one of the album s highlight inclusions, I Should Have Followed You Home, duetting with the celebrated songwriter who has helped the singer whip up a memorable filling to A. Knowing his way around a hit single, Gary is a welcome collaborator on the new solo record and with his seemingly effortless skill of putting together a chart placing single, the track is a delicate combination of moving lyrics and a captivating vocal arrangement that would be well worthy of a single release if her management team know a good thing when it presents itself.
A is a sweet collection made up over a foundation of sentimental balladry with an occasional hat-tip to the singers early disco territory. The groundwork has certainly been done here. A is a predominantly piano driven record with the occasional glimpse into modern pop thanks to some subtle electronic and synth loops and a warm collaboration from one of music’s songwriting heavyweights providing the cherry on the top of this cohesive collection.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
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