This week Universal Music Sweden, through ABBA – The Site – The Official Website, announced the release of a new box set, ABBA – The Albums.
This new box set includes ABBA’s eight studio albums in their original international formats, with no bonus tracks, plus a ninth bonus CD of single A and B sides.
Except for the Swedish versions of ‘Ring Ring’ and ‘Waterloo’, no non-English recordings or alternate versions of songs are included.
It’s not surprising that fan reaction has been split: there are those who see this as an interesting addition to the ABBA catalogue, and those who see it as another rip off of fans’ hard-earned money.
It’s probably a perfect time for this release, with thousands of people seeing Mamma Mia! at the cinema wanting to investigate the original ABBA recordings, wanting more than what’s on ABBA Gold, The Defintive Collection, or Thank You For The Music, but aren’t interested in having the same songs in Swedish, German, French and Spanish that they have in English, or alternate mixes and live versions.
Many fans have said over the years that they would like to see the studio albums released without any of the B-sides and foreign versions of songs as bonus tracks tagged on the end, which they say “ruins” the flow of the albums, especially the later ones such as Super Trouper or The Visitors.
It’s funny that many of the fans complaining that this is “another repackage of the same shit” are the same people who will pay a fortune for an obscure ABBA compilation from Canada, with songs they already have on other albums and singles and a sleeve with photos they have elsewhere, or a New Zealand pressing of Super Trouper, with the exact same tracklist and sleeve as the versions they already have from Sweden, the UK, USA, Japan, and a dozen or more other countries.
As I’ve said for years, if you feel that you have enough copies of ABBA’s songs, and this or any other compilation doesn’t add anything that you want, then simply don’t buy it. It’s your choice – no one is forcing you to buy this or anything else.
But if you want to buy this as another addition to your collection, that’s your choice too.
ABBA – The Albums is released on 27 October 2008. See ABBA – The Site for contents and details.