The Visitors

ABBA

Polydor/Polar, 1981

http://www.abbasite.com/

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/29/2007

As the eighth and final ABBA album to be released, The Visitors was proof positive that ABBA had truly come of age. 

Still, no matter how mature and polished their music had become, the Swedish supergroup just couldn’t sustain its success in the 80s and were forced to break up in 1982.  Sad as this announcement may have been, The Visitors showed how much of a metamorphosis their sound had gone through in the eight years since their debut single, “Ring Ring.”

The three best tracks that The Visitors has to offer help to explain just how much ABBA appealed to people of all ages, nationalities and persuasions. The magical opening title song (otherwise known as “Crackin’ Up”) has become something of a dance cult classic that is still played in many gay clubs to this day. nbtc__dv_250

Yet ABBA’s appropriately titled last Top 40 hit, “When All Is Said And Done” is undoubtedly the one that should be regarded as their swan song. With its dramatic tone, I have even chosen it to be the theme song for my Cape Crossing political soap opera project. Benny and Bjorn, the men of ABBA, get their turn at the microphone on “Two For The Price Of One,” another one of my personal favorites that brings back some wonderful memories of my childhood.

Other standout tracks here are “Head Over Heels” and “One Of Us.” The former gives the album a healthy dose of “elegant swagger,” while the latter is a harmless power ballad that did better in the UK than America. 

The mid-point of The Visitors is where the pace seems to drag a bit. The grand epic feel of “Soldiers” and the mini-operetta “I Let The Music Speak” are so heavy in their classical tone that they weigh down the entire project. Those who are looking for substantial ABBA material would likely enjoy these tracks a whole lot more than a passing fan would. They are perfect showcases for the ladies’ impressive voices, however, which is what ABBA deserves to be remembered for the most.

Agnetha (the blond one) bids the listener adieu on the emotional ballad, “Slipping Through My Fingers,” while her singing partner Frida says her goodbyes with the haunting closer, “Like An Angel Passing Through My Room,” a song that sends chills up my spine every single time I hear it.  The sound of the clock ticking down only adds to this lullaby’s stark and grim feel. 

Little did anyone know that once the seconds ran out, ABBA would be gone forever -- just like that. Later re-releases would feature additional bonus tracks, helping The Visitors to end on a less somber note and make a great album even better.

Rating: B+

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Polydor/Polar, and is used for informational purposes only.