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Sorry, Agnetha – it's nul points this time...

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Displaying an impeccable sense of pop timing Abba's Agnetha (the non-bearded blonde one) releases her album just as Eurovision fever grips the country.

(Okay. Work with me here). As Eurovision fever grips... er... Strabane. What finer way for Derek Mooney to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Abba's Waterloo triumph.

 

EFFIGIES

Zillions of Abba sales later, the superstar opted to live in seclusion on a tiny Baltic island, presumably crocheting hot-pants and effigies of her former husband Bjorn Ulvaeus (the one with the guitar, I think. But I could be wrong. That might have been Benny). Or am I thinking of tribute act Bjorn Again? Damn. It's not easy being a reviewer, I tell you.

This isn't Agnetha's first solo album apres Abba. Her last one was released nine years ago. They all sold well to a world pining for the magic of the group that did more for silver platform boots and shiny spandex trousers than Ziggy Stardust.

Agnetha and her colleagues' most enduring legacy is not Chiquitita, Waterloo and Winner Takes It All. It's the template they established for Swedish pop schlock supremacy. The hideous epidemic of Grand-Guignol self-delusion that infects the honest lamebrain karaoke of reality television talent shows.

 

PSYCHODRAMAS

But you won't hold that against Agnetha as you trawl her latest 10 singalong kitchen-sink psychodramas. You always knew that home-loving Agnetha would wobble her tonsils again. After all she promised in As I Am, her '96 biography, that she hadn't "closed any doors".

And here it is, a (I promised myself I wouldn't use this word, but what the heck) smorgasbord of delight, dialectic and drivel.

She's ready "to risk it all once more" on the mini-symphony The One Who Loves You Now. You'll be reassured to learn that "life changes, re-arranges" on the orchestral swell that's When You Really Loved Someone. Gary Barlow obligingly pops up on I Should Have Followed You Home.

Despite the disco zing of Dance Your Pain Away, this is unlikely to inspire a rash of cheese-fondue-and-car-keys-in-the-fruit-bowl parties in Rath- farnham.


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