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Music / Waterloo (Album)

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Waterloo - finally facing my Waterloo...
Click here for the present version of the cover with the ABBA logo and standard lettering 

Waterloo is the second studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, released on March 4, 1974.

It is notable as being their first release after their victorious win in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. It takes its title from the song of the same name, which they won the contest with. It is also their first album where they began calling themselves "ABBA" (on their last album they had been marketed by the rather clunky moniker of "Björn, Benny & Agnetha, Frida").

The songs themselves are notable for containing quite a few elements from the Glam rock era, which was in full swing around the world during the time of its release. However, much like Ring Ring, Björn and Benny have shown disdain for most songs on the album, particularly "King Kong Song", which they declare as one of their weakest tracks. However, the record more than makes up for it by including the international chart-toppers "Ring Ring" and "Honey Honey", along with several album tracks which have become popular with fans, such as "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong" and "Suzy Hang-Around".

Track Listing

Side One
  1. "Waterloo" (2:45)
  2. "Sitting In The Palmtree" (3:39)
  3. "King Kong Song" (3:14)
  4. "Hasta Mañana" (3:05)
  5. "My Mama Said" (3:14)
  6. "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)" (3:05)

Side Two

  1. "Honey Honey" (2:56)
  2. "Watch Out" (3:46)
  3. "What About Livingstone?" (2:54)
  4. "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong" (3:35)
  5. "Suzy Hang-Around" (3:11)

2001 CD re-release Bonus Tracks

  1. "Ring Ring (1974 U.S. Remix)" (3:06)
  2. "Waterloo (Swedish Version)" (2:45)
  3. "Honey Honey" (Swedish Version)" (2:59)

Note: "Waterloo (Swedish Version)" appears as the first track on the Swedish version, with the English version after Suzy Hang Around. "Ring Ring (1974 Remix)" appears as the last track on the UK and US releases.

  • Benny Andersson – piano, keyboards, vocals, Moog synthesizer, mellotron, and Record Producer.
  • Agnetha Fältskog – vocals
  • Anni-Frid Lyngstad – vocals
  • Björn Ulvaeus – acoustic guitar, guitar, vocals and Record Producer.
  • Ola Brunkert – drums
  • Christer Eklund – tenor saxophone on "Waterloo".
  • Malando Gassama – percussion, conga on "Sitting in the Palmtree".
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – bass
  • Per Sahlberg – bass on "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)".
  • Janne Schaffer – guitar
  • Sven-Olof Walldoff – string arrangement on "Honey, Honey".
  • Michael B. Tretow – engineer
  • Ola Lager – photography
  • Ron Spaulding – original album design.

Tropes included:

  • Acting Your Intellectual Age: Averted in "Suzy Hang-Around". The boys that make fun of Suzy for being "too young" think they're this, but are ultimately showing the listener that they're more immature than the nine-year-old Suzy.
    Suzy was nine and I was ten — right at the time that boys like to think they're men.
    She used to follow us from school; we really thought that she was a little fool.
  • Alliterative Title: "Honey Honey", "King Kong Song" and "My Mama Said".
  • Apron Matron: The mother sounds like one in "My Mama Said".
  • Break Up Song: "Hasta Mañana".
  • The Cameo:
    • The girls in "King Kong Song".
    • The boys in "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)".
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The narrator of "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong". Her male friend's relationship is falling apart and he stays over at her house until the heat blows over. She decides to sing to him to relax him, then confesses her love for him, and secretly hopes that he stays over for the next few days.
  • Convenient Slow Dance: "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)" has this element because the couple in the song are about to break-up when their couple song can be heard and decide to spend their last night dancing along.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: The narrator of "Sitting In The Palmtree", depending on your interpretation.
  • "Double, Double" Title: "Honey, Honey"
  • Exiled to the Couch: The narrator in "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong" has her male friend move in with her while his relationship with his lover starts to crumble.
  • Face on the Cover: The group standing in a room smiling with their hands on their hips (Frida looks a little off, though). Hmm... Who's that short guy in a uniform looking out that window?
  • Genre Roulette: The album has rock & roll ("Waterloo", "King Kong Song"), reggae ("Sitting In The Palmtree"), 60s jazz-pop ("My Mama Said") schlager (The Latin-tinged "Hasta Manana", as well as "Dance Whilst The Music Goes On"), Motown-inspired pop ("Honey Honey") metal ("Watch Out"), a children's song ("What About Livingstone"), a dramatic ballad ("Gonna Sing You My Love Song") and folk-rock ("Suzy Hang Around"). The group said that they wrote all manner of songs as potential Eurovision entries, though ultimately decided to go with their favorite ("Waterloo") which was praised for NOT copying the trends of the time.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "Hasta Mañana".
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Björn's costume in the "Waterloo" video, which was so tight he couldn't sit down.
  • Informed Loner: Suzy in "Suzy Hang-Around" is probably this. It's kind of hinted in the title that she just hangs around places, but she probably isn't, but the older boys call her that to be nasty and make her leave them alone.
    One day we said to her, "We don't want to hurt you, girl, but you better
    Look for a friend of your own, Suzy Hang-Around!"
  • In-Series Nickname: Suzy Hang-Around.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The ten year old boys towards Suzy in "Suzy Hang-Around".
  • Location Song: "Waterloo" only mentions the city incidentally as a metaphor for defeat, just how Napoleon was defeated there.
  • Love Triangle: The narrator of "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong" to her sad male friend, who's in a relationship with another woman.
  • Love Will Lead You Back: "Hasta Mañana".
  • Luminescent Blush: The narrator of "My Mama Said" when the mother angrily admits that she knows about her secret relationship with a boy named Fred.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Waterloo". A cheerful song about a woman realizing too late that she's entered a terrible relationship.
    • "My Mama Said". A relaxed song about a teenager being denied hanging out with her boyfriend by her parents.
  • My Beloved Smother: In "My Mama Said", while the mother makes some reasonable requests, she gets overly dramatic about other things.
    My mama said:
    "If you want to hurt me, go ahead"
    My mama said:
    "I suppose you'd rather see me dead."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The narrator of "Waterloo" upon realizing that she's entered a terrible relationship.
    Waterloo — finally facing my Waterloo.
  • Nice Guy: The man the narrator is talking about in "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong".
  • Questioning Title?: "What About Livingstone?"
  • Rearrange the Song: “Ring Ring” was heavily remixed and carried over to this album’s track listing. It’s much slower and more droning, and in the case of the US release, prominently features a saxophone.
  • Re Release The Song: “Ring Ring”, while a smash hit in the band’s native Sweden, didn’t do so well overseas (though it did really well in Australia when it got released there in 1976). To counter this, they remixed the song, filmed a video for it and released it on international editions. The song still stalled on the international charts.
  • Soprano and Gravel: "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)" has this between a boyfriend and girlfriend. It's very helpful that Agnetha is a soprano and Björn is a baritone.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • "Sitting in the Palmtree". The narrator (aka Björn) climbs up a palm tree just to watch a girl through her window. Yep, totally not creepy at all...
    • The narrator of "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong" towards her sad male friend whose relationship's falling apart.
  • Step Up to the Microphone:
    • Björn in "Watch Out" and "King Kong Song".
    • Benny in his only lead-vocal song "Suzy Hang-Around".
  • This Is a Song: "King Kong Song" is about a songwriter writing a song about King Kong for his band.
  • Tree Top Town: Probably how the narrator of "Sitting In The Palmtree" lives.
  • Unrequited Love: The narrator of "Sitting In The Palmtree" towards the mysterious Jeanie.
  • White Void Room: The videos for "Waterloo" and the remixed version of “Ring Ring”.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Lampshaded in "King Kong Song":
    Then I had a very funny notion, yeah
    I really had to write a song about it
  • Win-Win Ending: Discussed in Waterloo. Is it really losing if it feels like a win?