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Monday, May 13, 2013

Agnetha Faltskog's A

Agnetha Faltskog's new album, A, finds the diva working with producers Jorgen Eloffsen (who has famously worked with Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears) and Peter Nordahl. It will be released tomorrow in the USA.  Eloffson wrote all the songs on this album with the exception of "I Keep Them on the Floor Beside My Bed" (no, not a song about condoms), co-written by Agnetha and Eloffsen.

The result is a sweet album tailored for Agnetha, reflecting both the shy vulnerability of her persona, and her soft yet solid vocals. "Some of you might know Agnetha Fältskog from her work with a little-known Swedish pop group called ABBA, who apparently had some hits back in the'70s," UK's The Guardian said tongue-in-cheeky-like.

Her ABBA roots are showing on A's sensational "Dance Your Pain Away," perfectly designed for club remixes. It restores Ms Faltskog to Dancing Queen status, fronting a disco beat and a melody that alternately recalls a variety of ABBA hits while not slavishly imitating any of them. ("[G]uaranteed to get your mum under the glitterball," The Telegraph snarked.) Along with "When You Really Loved Someone," it is one of the intended singles off the album.

But it is the song, "Back on Your Radio," where certainly Dj Buddy would like Agnetha to be, that is a very contemporary-sounding ballad conjuring up Madonna, as well it should because Madge is very strongly influenced by the now-63-year-old Swedish songstress (evident in Madonna's 2005 single, "Hung Up," which samples ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)").

Agnetha Faltskog had a successful 1968 solo album before joining ABBA and finding a larger international stardom. She claims, as musical influences, '60s "girl singers" Connie Francis, Lesley Gore and Marianne Faithfull.

The numerous ballads on A (Agnetha's first album in almost a decade) convey those influences as Ms Faltskog makes her way through a number of soft ballads that are endearing if, perhaps, not displaying sufficient variety. And the aforementioned "I Keep Them on the Floor" is a tearjerker, surely, for anyone who lends an ear.

Released by Universal International. Available on cd or download. (The cd includes a pamphlet of liner notes with lyrics and photograhs.)


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