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ABBA – Ring Ring 50th anniversary 2xLP (Polar)

17 June 2023

ABBA’s 1973 debut album Ring Ring was the first of the Swedish pop phenomenon’s “golden eight,” a matchless string of successful albums that all went platinum somewhere in the world. It was the group’s lone album to miss the #1 spot in their home country, but ABBA was churning out charming pop from the beginning. The bulk of the material was composed in-house by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, with contributions from vocalist Agnetha Fältskog on “Disillusion” and Neil Sedaka on the English-language version of the sugar-buzzing rock-and-stroll title cut. Songs including “Another Town, Another Train” and “I Am Just a Girl” were a bit schmaltzier than the familiar pop style that the group would soon develop. Other songs including “Rock’n Roll Band” may have been lightweight escapist fun but carried musical bite akin to other lushly arranged pop-rock combos like Electric Light Orchestra. Rounded out by effervescent harmonies from Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, ABBA’s buoyant debut single “People Need Love” paired the band’s tight vocal interplay with a Paul McCartney-styled bounce. “Nina, Pretty Ballerina” is an effervescent, modern fairy-tale of a humdrum girl who becomes the star of the stage on the weekends. This anniversary pressing was half-speed mastered at Abbey Road Studios onto two heavyweight vinyl platters at 45RPM for superior stability and fidelity. If your musical tastes include a sweet tooth, this is a crafty pop confection.