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schmosef
13th June 2005, 10:34
So I've had a Napster To Go account for a little while now. The service is far from perfect, but it's got its upside. Especially because they neglected to bill my credit card for about the first six months (no, it wasn't a promotion).

Anyway... I've been slowly building playlists of my favorite songs and also listening to the rest of each bands songs to see if there's anything else I like.

ABBA has a LOT of songs. I've sampled them all now and am quite shocked that there's only 13 that I like. Some that I've not heard before so I'm happy I spent the time checking out their catalogue. But many of the others are just bad and some are down right unlistentoable.

What's up with that? I thought that ABBA was one of the most successful European bands of all time.

So I'm asking you Europeans, is ABBA considered good, or an embarrassment?

schmosef
13th June 2005, 10:35
BTW, the band I'm now sampling is a-ha. "Take On Me" and "The Sun Always Shines On TV" are two of my all time favorite songs.

Kurt
13th June 2005, 10:58
Man...you've got a loooong way before you get to ZZTop... :D

AC/DC, you've overlooked them? :)

schmosef
13th June 2005, 11:02
Yeah, I'd better not forget AC/DC.

I'm not really going alphabetically, it's just a co-incidence.

KRSESQ
13th June 2005, 12:23
ABBA is all right but we're talking about serious hardcore '70's pop/disco here. Hell, if you like the tunes, go ahead and listen and screw anything anyone else tells you.

Incidently the video for Aha's "Take On Me" is pretty cool, if you can manage to find it anywhere. (A little bit of an "Altered States" influence.)

Kevin

Gurm
13th June 2005, 12:26
Why does a band need to have more than a greatest-hits-disc-worth of good songs?

Many a band/performer has achieved immortality on the strength of ONE solid tune.

schmosef
13th June 2005, 13:04
I'm not saying that they're not worthy of being listened to. I have 13 of their songs in my playlist and I intend to listen to them. I'm just saying that they have a lot of other songs in their catalogue and I'm really surprised that so many of them are really bad. REALLY BAD.

I'm just wondering if all the ABBA hype I've heard over the years about them being one of Europe's all time biggest bands is true or not. I'm not asking if they were a one hit wonder, and sure, there's lots of a bands that have been immortalized over just one song, I'm asking if the perception of ABBA in Europe equals the hype that we're told it does on this side of the pond. That's all.

KvHagedorn
13th June 2005, 13:21
Do the hypesters really matter? I think a lot of their songs are fun in a 70s disco type way, and that's about it. If you like a song, listen to it, and forget what other people say (unless, of course a girl you like likes them ;) )

What would piss me off (and has pissed me off in the past) is getting an album with two good songs and the rest crap. Is Abba a really great band in this respect? No. When I get an album by Led Zeppelin, U2, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, etc. I can sit there and enjoy the WHOLE THING. They actually cared about creating such a thing.. not selling the latest greatest hit to teenyboppers who don't know any better. Abba had that approach, I think, yet actually did a few songs that endured in spite of themselves.

schmosef
13th June 2005, 13:43
You're not getting the point... :shakes head:

Listen. I'd always heard that ABBA was this great superstar band from Europe and that they had a huge following with lots of albums etc. and I'd always intended to listen to the rest of their catalogue. Someday.

Now that I have, I'm surprised that it's like 70% bad and about 10% utter crap. Most of their songs are not even good by "pop" music standards. UN-LISTEN-TO-ABLE!

Don't try to read into this. It's not a peer pressure thing for me. I'm asking an intellectual question. Is/was ABBA as big in Europe as they are hyped to be/have been? I'm asking this of the Europeans.

If they were as big, I'm wondering if it was just on the strength of the dozen or so songs they had that were good, or if maybe European tastes were so different/bad. Or maybe it was all hype. That's all.

For the record, yes, Zeppelin rules. :sigh: Anyone who doesn't know this needs help.

Lastly, a-ha, is friggen awesome. They've got a really great catalogue. Many songs I've never heard before and so many of them are really good. I think that I once heard they were big in Europe but they weren't hyped over here even close to the way that ABBA was.

Gurm
13th June 2005, 15:36
It's all relative.

Europeans have BIZARRE taste in music by any standards I'm familiar with. I mean, that's where trance/house/beat/stomp/drek originated. Nnn-tss! Nnn-tss! Nnn-tss! Over and over. Never heard it here until they brought it over. Bleh.

But at any rate - I think that they might feel the same way about BackDoor Boys or N-Stink. Several albums each, but only like 4 or 5 total good songs.

Many bands are like this. Even bands where every song is "good" have differing styles. For example, a band called "Little River Band" had a dozen top-20 hits in the 70's. Maybe even 15. Enough to fill a greatest hits album. But 90% of their music (they had a dozen albums) was 70's country-disco weirdness.

It just happens.

And ... "for the record", Zeppelin had a few good tunes, too. Their drummer couldn't keep a beat, their bass player was very good but underutilized, and the songs... well, they were very derivative at times. Overall solid stuff though.

spadnos
13th June 2005, 18:10
From Ah-Ha:
Listen to these songs from the album "Scoundrel Days":
"Cry Wolf"
"The Soft Rains Of April"
"October"
"Manhattan Skyline"

and from "Hunting High And Low" (the album with "Take On Me" and "The Sun Always Shines On TV")
"Hunting High And Low"
"Living A Boy's Adventure Tale"
"Here I Stand And Face The Rain"
Most of the others are also good, but those are my favorites.

As for ABBA - yes, my understanding is that they're one of the most popular bands of all time - but I wouldn't say they're the best. Not by a longshot. I like a few of their songs (don't tell anyone :D ), but mostly it's pop crap. The same kind of thing you get from the teen band-du-jour - wildly popular for a little while, then a footnote in music history. Except for the fact that they had a few that made it out of footnote status.

I still don't understand why so many people liked (and still like) them.

- Steve

UtwigMU
13th June 2005, 18:28
Good if you're gay or 14y old girl without beyond pop culture music taste.

schmosef
13th June 2005, 18:36
Thanks for that assessment, UtwigMU. It’s all so clear to me now. ;)

schmosef
13th June 2005, 18:40
From a-ha, I also like:

-Dragonfly
-Forever Not Yours
-Minor Earth Major Sky
-Summer Moved On
-The Blue Sky
-The Living Daylights
-The Swing of Things

Their live album, How Can I Sleep With Your Voice In My Head, is awesome.

Brian Ellis
14th June 2005, 00:42
Who or what is ABBA? :)

If you want some good European music, Brahm's Triple Concerto, Orff's Carmina Burana (sp?), Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Prokofieff's very Pop Peter and the Wolf, Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, Sibelius' Finlandia, Vivaldi's Quattro Stagioni, Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Stravinsky's Rites of Spring, Beethoven's 9th, Bizet's l'Arlesienne are all light, listenable, popular music which will be around long after ABBA and the Beatles, ZZ-top, AC/DC and Michael Jackson are all dead and buried. I'm not saying that pop music is bad, but it is, by definition, transient but not without influence on good music (cf. some of Bernstein and Gershwin, both of whom interpreted current pop music idioms into some of their serious compositions).

Footnote: 2 or 3 ABBA tunes are catchy, even today, but they are not pop classics like some of Beatles, Queen or the Stones (or even Simon and Garfunkel, who get close to the same level). Catchiness though often equates with mediocrity, because it relies on a gimmick for it to stick maddeningly in one's head. The music of most pop music, played without words, is terrible; to take one ABBA example: Waterloo: it is the -^- foot of the title word that makes it stick. Take the word away and you're left with nothing but monotonous mediocrity. How many of you can pass the first three notes and this word in their mind, but cannot remember another word or note of that song? Yet it was a best-seller of its time (didn't it win the Eurovision song contest? That alone is the password to mediocrity. I can think of only one Eurovision winner that had merit, but it was forgotten even faster than the rest, because it was musically and poetically better than 90% of pop music: Dana's ballad "All Kinds of Everything" ).

Brian dixit!

Rakido
14th June 2005, 02:46
Europeans have BIZARRE taste in music by any standards I'm familiar with. I mean, that's where trance/house/beat/stomp/drek originated. Nnn-tss! Nnn-tss! Nnn-tss! Over and over. Never heard it here until they brought it over.

Wait until "Schnappi - The little crocodile" enter your charts ... you'll immediately start to like nn-tss's ;)

About Abba: This "best band in europe concept" started way after they split in the middle of the 90's, when all these "Best of 70's, 80's" compilations started to pop up everywhere.


R.

schmosef
16th June 2005, 23:32
Who or what is ABBA? :)
Grandpa doesn't get our music. :rolleyes: :)

Rock 'n Roll is about Freedom, man! Freedom doesn't require a degree in Musicology!

Seriously, I think the difference between classical music and modern music is that classical music, at its best, evokes a new feeling in the listener whereas modern music expresses an existing feeling.

The transitory nature of an existing feeling causes the significance of a modern song to diminish rapidly as it loses its ability to express the ever changing feelings of the listening public. That doesn't in any way reduce the significance of a song's impact as a reflection of a particular point in time.

Classical music doesn't expire because it teaches more than it expresses.

One type is not inherently better than the other.

schmosef
16th June 2005, 23:36
P.S. I hate Waterloo too. Right now my favourite ABBA song is "On And On And On". Although from experience I probably owe my loyaly to "Dancing Queen"--that song should be renamed to "Panty Remover". :devious:

Umfriend
17th June 2005, 02:20
Yes, ABBA were a great name in the chart business. The thing is, that 80% or so that is bad still looks good compared to the other disco bands that had 90% bad songs and produced fewer songs to boot. I never liked them.

I know of very, very few bands that were able to produce at least one album that had only good songs (not just listenable, good), let alone more (Joy Division, Talk Talk/Mark Hollis, Genesis (PG era) come to mind).

Although a bit OT, I can fully symphatise with KVHs comment on being pissed off by album with two or three great songs and the rest just space onsumming bullcrap.

Gurm
17th June 2005, 06:10
That's the problem nowadays. Ok, it used to be that a band got signed, and put almost all their good tunes on the first record. You want another record? Need some more tunes.

Nowadays, let's say that a band actually has talent. That's rare enough. They'll show up with 12 songs. The record label will insist that they spread those 12 good songs out over 5 albums. What will they fill the album with, then? Covers, songs written by some studio musician, guestwritten songs, or their b-material. And then the record label wonders why people feel ripped off by the album.

Umfriend
17th June 2005, 07:11
The record label will insist that they spread those 12 good songs out over 5 albums.Is that a fact or just a suspicion?

jms
17th June 2005, 08:30
Schmosef:

If you like a-ha you should also get your hands on some of Morten Harket's solo albums, especially Wild Seed.

Jan

Umfriend
17th June 2005, 08:42
Schmosef:

If you like a-ha you should also get your hands on some of Morten Harket's solo albums, especially Wild Seed.

JanAt the same time, if one likes a-ha, one should get examined.

OK, just kidding, but I do turn to another channel when they're played on the radio, which is like never lickilly.

jms
17th June 2005, 08:51
At the same time, if one likes a-ha, one should get examined.

OK, just kidding, but I do turn to another channel when they're played on the radio, which is like never lickilly.


Funny man. Who grew up in the 80's and didn't listen to a-ha? F*ck I've even liked Return with 'The final countdown'. Now that's sick :D

Jan

Umfriend
17th June 2005, 18:07
I grew up in the 80's and didn't listen to a-ha. Avoided it at all cost. Same for that ****ing countdown which was way way better than anything I've ever heard from a-ha.

schmosef
17th June 2005, 18:24
@jms, thanks for the suggestion. I'll look out for his work.

I know the song 'The Final Countdown' as coming from a band called 'Europe'. Is that what you're talking about? That song was big in the early 80s.

schmosef
17th June 2005, 21:23
@Umf, Genesis had some good albums in the PC era too. Duke comes to mind. So do Invisible Touch and Genesis. I like all the songs on each of those. Their other albums were mostly good. I hate PC's new stuff. Their one album post PC is good too.

jms
18th June 2005, 12:57
Ah yes, it was Europe. Been trying to forget it ever since. Guess it worked :D

Paddy
18th June 2005, 15:25
Ah yes, it was Europe. Been trying to forget it ever since. Guess it worked :D
madness - one step beyond

Kurt
18th June 2005, 17:01
then you go burnin down the house...

schmosef
18th June 2005, 17:26
That reminds me. "Once In A Lifetime" is one of my ole skule favs. :D

Umfriend
19th June 2005, 22:06
@Umf, Genesis had some good albums in the PC era too. Duke comes to mind. So do Invisible Touch and Genesis. I like all the songs on each of those. Their other albums were mostly good. I hate PC's new stuff. Their one album post PC is good too.Not that I know of actually. Have (still) not heard them all, but:
- Wuthering winds or somesuch -> Sucks
- Genesis. Funny, this is actualy the very first G album I bought/listend to, years ago. OTOH, Silver Rainbow? Illegal Alien? That one must really get boring after hearing it three times (although the lyitcs are actually quite nice). THat "thoguth I was wrong, when you sday \I am right" song? Can't hold my attention. IN short, they may be nice song, but just for a bit and that ain't enough for me to call it great.
- We can't dance? Three decent songs: I can't dance, Jeses he loves me and erm, another one. That's it, and how long are they gonna last? No clue yet.

Moreover, the albums are just a collection of songs, there's no link (that I know of) between the works on any album that I know of, and that is not a plus in my book.

P.S. At first I was like "When were Genesis Politically Correct or what does it have to do with this anyway"?
PPS: That sonmg "Invisible Touch" I have heard. Sucks.

schmosef
19th June 2005, 22:37
Invisible Touch was the first album I ever owned. "Land Of Confusion" was getting a lot of radio play and I was curious to hear more of Genesis. That was '86, and I'm still a fan. "Land Of Confusion" is one of my least favorite Genesis songs though.

"Wind and Wuthering" is one of their least popular albums. PC made a pejorative comment about it in an interview once. I think you have to be a real fan to get most of it. "Your Own Special Way" is an enduring favorite though.

"Silver Rainbow" has a different sound. I didn't like it until I was sitting with this girl in my second year of university and she happened to put the CD on and I suddenly got the point of the song. Not into her pants though. :down:

I like “We Can’t Dance” the least of all of Genesis’ albums. To me it feels like their tried to cash in on PC’s pop image too much. Not a fan. I didn’t like “I Can’t Dance” at all (but the video has a really hot girl in it). It still has some really good songs like “Never A Time”, “Hold On My Heart”, “Since I Lost You”, and “Fading Lights”.

“The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” was probably their only album that had the kind of interconnectedness that you’re describing. Genesis’ members all wrote songs and when they’d meet to do an album they’d put them all in a pot and decide which ones to do together and which ones to shelve, or eventually, do separately as solo projects.

PC’s first album, “Face Value” was a collection of songs that he wrote after his first divorce, which the rest of the band chose not to use. Imagine where Genesis would be if they did “In The Air Tonight” themselves! Mike Rutherford once mentioned how he wished Genesis had as much financial success as PC did.

From what I hear, Mike’s own band, “Mike & The Mechanics”, grew pretty big in Europe. I once heard that he postponed doing a Genesis album because M&TM was touring so successfully.

KvHagedorn
19th June 2005, 22:48
True, they really should have just done all those songs as a band. M&TM had some pretty decent songs too. If all of that had been Genesis, its status would have been much greater.

Umfriend
20th June 2005, 00:26
Selling England By The Pound does not have the interconnectedness as far as the story goes, that is true. Nevertheless, I feel that Firth of Fifth and Cinema Show share an musical intermezzo that is not only great but also something that is seldom repeated by Genesis (to the extent i heard them). The way Dancing... and Aisle.. come to a close is just something that makes me feel they thought about the album. Epping is not just a song, it's an Epic on and by itself, which they have done otherwise, uhm, erhm, when exactly?

I maintain that this work is an Album as opposed to a collection of songs (but that may just be me liking these song a whole lot).

schmosef
20th June 2005, 04:44
I'm not quite sure what you're on about but if it ends in liking Genesis then I'm all for it.

I think that you're trying to say that "The Battle of Epping Forest" is a ballad and that you like ballads. Well, Genesis has quite a few. Too many to list. My favourite is probably "Duchess".

schmosef
20th June 2005, 04:46
Oh, and if you like that intermezzo stuff then I recommend that you check out "Three Sides Live".

Nappe1
21st June 2005, 06:12
From A-HA I recomend their come-back single "Summer Moved On" (released in summer 2001.) That is quite good, of course if you like A-HA generally.

Summer Moved On did just "okay", but I liked it. The A-HA sound is still there, though the track is kind of sad compared to their older production. (lyrics, melody, etc...)

gt40
21st June 2005, 06:22
True, they really should have just done all those songs as a band. M&TM had some pretty decent songs too. If all of that had been Genesis, its status would have been much greater.


Martha and the Muffins? :p

schmosef
21st June 2005, 06:59
@Nappe1, yep, I like that song too.

@gt40, M&TM = "Mike & The Mechanics"