The aptly-named Arrival being the quartet's fourth, ABBA had perfected its approach, and few acts can match the melodic power the world's most famous Swedes pack into less than four minutes on every winner here. First and foremost, this hit disc heralds the unveiling of "Dancing Queen," the Hope diamond of hot pop, demonstrating Bjorn and Benny were the Beethoven and Bach of bubblegum. Carl Magnus Palm reveals in his superlative linear notes that "Dancing Queen" grew from "Rock Your Baby," George McCrae's sole smash, and the rhythms of Gumbo by Dr. John. The beauty of the backing track and production of "Dancing Queen" even brought tears to the eyes of Frida when she heard it for the first time. Speaking of crying, in "Knowing Me, Knowing You" the band delivers more poignant angst in one succinct song than every alternative moaner in the 90's coughed up in their entire career. And as always, ABBA spruces the piece beautifully, razor-sharp rock guitars cutting through haunting vocal imagery. "Money, Money, Money" may not be quite as perfect, but still maintains the peerless level of song-craft (It is funny, as all four now lived in the "rich man's world," which somehow still doesn't seem so sunny.). The songs between the singles aren't as blindingly brilliant, because then Arrival would simply be the greatest record ever made. But make no mistake, "When I Kissed the Teacher," "My Love, My Life (inspired by "I'm Not in Love" and planting the seeds of "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes")," "Dum Dum Diddle," "The Tiger (shades of Rocky Balboa)," "That's Me" and "Why Did It Have to Be Me (classic boy-girl vocal trades)" are definitely worthy of your time. This lushly refurbished edition adds the immortally impassioned anthem "Fernado" and closes with a pop postcard from "Happy Hawaii." Arrival brings many happy returns.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC