sat 25/05/2024

Album: Agnetha Fältskog - A+ | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Agnetha Fältskog - A+

Album: Agnetha Fältskog - A+

ABBA star's decade-old album reimagined to little useful effect

A case of the cover art being more elegant than the music

When ABBA split in 1982, Agnetha Fältskog went on to a solo career that was mostly overshadowed by the titanic popularity of her former band. By the 21st century ABBA’s status in pop, especially with the Mamma Mia phenomenon, had become iconic.

They were as big as it’s possible to be, now cemented by the continuing success of the holographic Voyage show in London. Fältskog also finally achieved widescale solo recognition and Top 10 chart placings across the world with 2004’s My Colouring Book, an album of covers, and its successor, 2013’s A. Her new album, A+ is a reimagining of the latter that is unpersuasive.

A came about because of Jörgen Elofsson, a bright star born of Sweden’s Cheiron Studios, the globe-storming shiny pop production house that closed in 2000 (alma mater of Max Martin). He’s created songs for Britney Spears, Westlife, Celine Dion and many more, and he brought Fältskog the set of songs that became A. The charm of A was that it combined Fältskog’s melancholic pop sense with old-fashioned - and at times heartfelt - easy listening. The pair unite again for A+ but this time the songs are shoehorned into an electronic chart-pop formula, which, while giving a contemporary sheen, sounds also somehow naff. It just doesn’t quite fit. The plasticity is whiffy.

At its best, on songs such as the regretful “I Was a Flower” and “Bubbles”, and doleful closer “I Keep Them on the Floor Beside My Bed” (the only song written by Fältskog) the M.O.R. synth-pop feel is faintly redolent of ABBA’s classic 1981 “divorce album” The Visitors. Most of the time, though, it veers between misguided suburban high street cocktail bar “club music”, as on “Back On Your Radio” and “Dance Your Pain Away”, the latter much more fun in its original retro-disco incarnation, while the only brand new song, “Where Do We Go From Here”, is youthfully fizzy but tackily saccharine. Anyone tempted to investigate Agnetha Fältskog would be best sticking with the original album.

Below: Watch the video for "Where Do We Go From Here?" by Agnetha Fältskog

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