ABBA – The Vinyl Collection

Pop fans, this one’s for you: All eight ABBA studio records plus a ninth LP containing extra tracks. The latter record, ABBA Tracks, features the five A-side singles not included on the original studio albums, a selection of B-sides, plus a rare track, “Put On Your White Sombrero,” that first saw the light of day in the late 90s. A 50+-page booklet delves into the band and albums.

The Vinyl Collection is notable in that all of the albums are exact replicas of the original Swedish editions. Hence, three of the earlier LPs contain inner sleeves featuring Swedish advertisements. Of course, in listening, it quickly becomes evident that this is not an audiophile box set. Then again, ABBA was never an audiophile band—the group was recorded and mixed for radios, cheap record players, and the mass market. So the sound is a little lacking in dynamics, which boast something along the lines of a “wall of sound” approach. On the plus side, the records here are sourced from the original analog masters. The sonics won’t blow your socks off, but the bass is a mite fuller and the mids a touch more detailed than the original issues. The pressings are appreciably quiet.

Yet what matters most is that this box set is a testament to the purity of pop and my assertion that “Dancing Queen” is the best pop single the world has ever seen. Go ahead—have the time of your life. –Paul Rigby

9LP Box Set