Review this album
Jun 2, 2013MATURE, BEAUTIFUL, GENUINE
“A” is the perfect fusion of melodic elegance, pop joy, and melancholy, along with “current” production and arrangement elements. “A” is further a perfectly elevated fusion of Agnetha’s ageless vocals evoking more than ever and better than anyone love, nostalgia and melancholy accompanied by melodies that match the yearning and expressiveness of her voice.MATURE, BEAUTIFUL, GENUINE
“A” is the perfect fusion of melodic elegance, pop joy, and melancholy, along with “current” production and arrangement elements. “A” is further a perfectly elevated fusion of Agnetha’s ageless vocals evoking more than ever and better than anyone love, nostalgia and melancholy accompanied by melodies that match the yearning and expressiveness of her voice. The album is instantly catchy without being common, showcasing the Swede’s (Elofsson and Nordahl in this case) mastery of melody ---melodies so good no doubt they could be labeled or confused for “formulaic”.
Two songs are stand-outs: The One Who Loves You Now, & I Was A Flower
The One Who Loves You Know Hints of The Carpenters in the melody are present, but it could have been written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus during the 1976 1980 period. That says it all. It has one of those melodies full of melancholy, overwhelming sweetness, and love. It is difficult to overlook the vocal fragility, lightness and perfection with which Agnetha delivers. A brilliant joy of a song. A++
I Was A Flower This song displays Agnetha's voice in beautifully perfect shape and form, and blows one away by the grand melody and dramatic lyrics. This song could have easily been on ABBA's last and most critically acclaimed album, The Visitors. It is that dark, sad, melancholic, dramatic, intense, and perfect. It has a bitterness that one can almost taste. If you listen carefully and know Agnetha’s voice well, you will notice that there are parts where Agnetha uses her voice like she has never done. I find her voice in this song impeccable: more mature, more bitter, more fragile, and more expressive than even in The Winner Takes It All and The Day Before You Came. I Was A Flower is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. A++
Perfume in the Breeze This song could have been written for Madonna’s Ray Of Light by William Orbit, but it comes in a lighter and less sophisticated production. Despite Ray of Light being among my all-time-favorite albums, I actually like the fact that Perfume in the Breeze is so light and unpretentious. The first time I heard it I suspected it would be one of my least favorite songs in “A”, but by the second play I was sold. It has a sad lyric with a bright and uplifting melody “a la ABBA’s S.O.S”. I love the carefree joy that the melody evokes. A+
I Should Have Followed You Home (with Gary Barlow) A grand and gorgeous song full of tenderness, displaying the most “current” sound and production on the album. The melody is pure pop with very slight hints of Coldplay and Tiesto, if you can imagine that mix, but it works! Vocally and melodically it works as well, and it is definitely another winner. A+
Bubble Accurately described by Agnetha, and her favorite song on “A”, Bubble is no doubt reminiscent of Sade, especially of songs on Lovers Rock. If you listen carefully, you will realize that the melody is also reminiscent of Duran Duran. Simon Le Bon could have easily sang this song, well suited for his range and style. Elofsson and Nordahl (the producers of “A”) do a great job with the production and arrangement that make Bubble feel very Agnetha despite my comparisons. It is a “wow” song displaying more gorgeous vocals by Agnetha, dreamy/ambient-trance/atmospheric-like production, and nostalgic undertones. A+
I Keep Them On The Floor Beside My Bed This song proves that Agnetha can truly write beautiful songs. Very Beatles-eque/E.L.O-ish, the melody is loving, sweet, soft, and nostalgic, with hints of resignation and peace. It is obvious that Agnetha wrote the melody originally thinking the song would end-up being a children’s lullaby (as she mentioned on a recent interview), but the lyrics work well non-the-less. I can completely hear her craftsmanship and writing style, so much so that if in Swedish, I feel this song could have been on one of her Swedish solo albums, Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus. It is unfortunate that she did not write more songs for this album. Beautiful! A+
The rest of the songs are Dance Your Pain Away (B+), a fun and irresistibly catchy & camp “disco” tune with potential to be a Dance hit; When You Really Loved Someone (B+), the song chosen as the 1st single, showcasing a great soaring chorus and nice verses and bridge, but something is missing; and two songs that are just OK: Past Forever (C-) and Back on Your Radio (C-).
6 outstanding songs, 2 great songs, and 2 OK songs not bad!
To those who may not understand the overall beauty of this album, I leave them with Agnetha’s last words on this album, “Why is love so hard to understand?”… Expand
Jul 19, 2014I bought A based on JKM's review and several of the critic reviews here on Metacritic. I agree with most of JKM's review and some of the critics, except that I feel like Agnetha's voice should have been showcased more throughout the album. The production should have been more bare and simple, for example with guitar and piano only. It is a very beautiful album deserving of a 10, butI bought A based on JKM's review and several of the critic reviews here on Metacritic. I agree with most of JKM's review and some of the critics, except that I feel like Agnetha's voice should have been showcased more throughout the album. The production should have been more bare and simple, for example with guitar and piano only. It is a very beautiful album deserving of a 10, but because of the production I give it a nine.… Expand
MojoMay 20, 2013If you crave that ineffable something Abba achieved, then it's only glimpsed here. [Jun 2013, p.84]
May 15, 2013This is stately, sweet Europop, the kind that could have been released any time over the last 30 years, but it's given a warm, reassuring quality by Agnetha Fältskog, who retains an appealing, easy touch that separates her from her successors and still resonates all these years later.