Something's Going On
|Something's Going On|
|Studio album by Frida|
|Recorded||15 February‒31 March 1982
Epic (UK, Ireland, Israel, Italy)
Universal Music (2005 reissue)
Something's Going On is the third solo album by Swedish recording artist Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), a founding member of the Swedish pop group, ABBA, and her first album recorded entirely in English. Her last two albums had been recorded in Swedish.
Recorded in 1982 during the final months of ABBA, Something's Going On was first released in September 1982 and has since been re-released several times, including the 2005 remastered version with bonus tracks.
Featuring a much edgier and rock-oriented sound than that of ABBA's music, the album was met with good reception both by critics and the public with sales in excess of 1.5 million copies, making it the best-selling solo record of any of the ABBA members to date.
The promotional videos from the album are included in the 3.5-hour DVD documentary entitled Frida - The DVD.
In 1982, Frida felt it was time to record a solo-album again, this time in English and aimed at the international market. ABBA were spending less and less time together. Going through her divorce from Andersson, Frida had heard Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight," and then "listened to the album (Face Value) non-stop for eight months." As Collins himself put it in a TV interview: "Frida and I had something in common as far as our divorces were concerned. We were both the injured party." Polar Music approached Collins, asking if he would be interested in producing Frida's new solo album. He accepted the offer, thus making this his second album to be recorded in the Polar Studios, the first being Genesis' Duke (1980).
Polar Music sent out invitations to publishing companies around the world, announcing Frida's plans and asking for songs suitable for the project. The response was overwhelming; more than 500 songs came into the Polar Music offices in Stockholm. Among the composers who made it to the album's final tracklist were Bryan Ferry, Stephen Bishop, Rod Argent and Russ Ballard. The Giorgio Moroder/Pete Bellotte composition "To Turn The Stone" was originally written for Donna Summer's 1981 album I'm a Rainbow - a double set for Geffen Records which for various reasons would remain in the archives until 1996. Frida also asked Per Gessle, later of Roxette, to set Dorothy Parker's bittersweet poem "Threnody" to music. A re-interpretation of the Face Value track "You Know What I Mean" - a song especially close to her heart, both musically and lyrically - was also included. The song "Here We'll Stay" had previously been recorded and performed by singer Sonia Jones for the UK pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 1980 . On the album, it was recorded as a duet with Phil Collins although he wasn't credited. When it was decided to release the song as a single in 1983, Collins declined to be associated with the track, and Frida re-recorded the song as a solo version.
Recording began in the Polar Studios, Stockholm, on February 15, 1982 and continued until March 31. Earth Wind & Fire's horn players (the Phenix Horns) - also an important part of the Face Value album - came to Stockholm for a two day visit. Strings, orchestra, and harp were later recorded at Sir George Martin's Air Studios in London in the attendance of both Martin and Paul McCartney. Produced at a time when most commercial recordings still used only analog technology, the album was one of the few to be both digitally recorded and mixed.
At the time of recording Something's Going On Frida wanted to distance herself from the "typical ABBA pop sound," (according to Lyngstad herself). She wanted to break away from being associated with the group and make a fresh start both as an artist and as an individual. The new songs, new musicians, and new producer gave Frida a new identity. Collins' production and especially his unique gated drum sound heard throughout the album as well as the rough and raw guitar riffs of the lead single "I Know There's Something Going On" made it perfectly clear this was no "lightweight" ABBA record. All backing vocals were sung by Frida and Phil. The album closes with their duet "Here We'll Stay."
Swedish Television, SVT, documented this historical event, by filming the whole recording process, from day one in the studio to the release party when the album was completed. The result became a one hour TV-special, including interviews with Frida and Phil, Björn & Benny from ABBA, as well as all the musicians on the album. It was directed by Stuart Orme and executive produced by Phil Collins' manager Tony Smith. This documentary is included in Frida - The DVD.
In the fall of 1982, Frida unveiled the results of these recording sessions by releasing the single and video "I Know There's Something Going On." An extensive promotion tour of Europe and the United States followed. Frida performed both the single and other songs from the album on major TV-channels throughout Europe. The album received positive reviews by critics. Billboard wrote: "ABBA's auburn-haired songstress makes a bold solo-project a stunning success" and Mark Coleman described the album in the third edition of the Rolling Stone Album Guide as a "sharp, rock-oriented, delightfully eclectic album".
Audiences around the world also accepted the new, rockier sound and both the album and its lead single soon started climbing the charts; the single became a No. 1 hit in France (where it spent five weeks at the top), Belgium, Switzerland, and Costa Rica, and reached the Top 10 through most of Europe. It also became a huge success in Australia and South Africa - it peaked at No. 5 on both charts. In the United States, "I Know There's Something Going On" reached a respectable No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 9 on Radio & Records airplay, with the track's video being heavily promoted on MTV. In all, the single sold some 3.5 million copies worldwide.
The album reached the Top 10 on the charts in several countries, and sold around 1.5 million copies in total. It was also a Top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at No. 18 (although the single failed to reach the UK Top 40). The track "I See Red" was released as a single in South Africa but did not fare as well as its predecessor, failing to reach the official Top 20 of the national charts.
- "Tell Me It's Over" (Stephen Bishop) – 2:52
- "I See Red" (Jim Rafferty) – 4:33
- "I Got Something" (Tomas Ledin) – 4:04
- "Strangers" (Jayne Bradbury, Dave Morris) – 4:06
- "To Turn the Stone" (Pete Bellotte, Giorgio Moroder) – 5:26
- "I Know There's Something Going On" (Russ Ballard) – 5:29
- "Threnody" (Per Gessle, Dorothy Parker) – 4:17
- "Baby Don't You Cry No More" (Rod Argent) – 3:02
- "The Way You Do" (Bryan Ferry) – 3:38
- "You Know What I Mean" (Phil Collins) – 2:37
- "Here We'll Stay" (duet with Phil Collins) (Tony Colton, Jean Roussel) – 4:03
2005 remaster bonus tracks
- "I Know There's Something Going On (Single Edit)" (Ballard) – 4:07
- "Here We'll Stay" (Solo Version) (Colton, Roussel) – 4:11
- " ("I Know There's Something Going On"/"Threnody") - August 1982
- " ("To Turn The Stone"/"I Got Something") - September 1982
- " ("I See Red"/"I Got Something") - December 1982
- " ("Tell Me It's Over"/"I Got Something") - January 1983
- " ("Here We'll Stay"/"Strangers") - June 1983
- Anni-Frid Lyngstad - lead vocals, backing vocals
- Phil Collins - drums, backing vocals, percussion, Prophet 5
- Mo Foster - bass guitar
- Daryl Stuermer - guitar
- Peter Manning Robinson - keyboards, horn arrangements, string arrangements
- The Phenix Horns -
- Don Myrick - saxophone
- Michael Harris - trumpet
- Rahmlee Michael Davis - trumpet
- Louis Satterfield - trombone
- Skaila Kanga - harp
- The Martyn Ford Orchestra - strings
- Martyn Ford - conductor
- Gavyn Wright - concertmaster
- Phil Collins - producer
- Hugh Padgham - sound engineer
- Hans Gunnar "Paris" Edvinsson - assistant engineer
- Digitally recorded and mixed at Polar Music Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)
- Strings and harp recorded at AIR Studios (London, England)
- Henrik Jonsson - mastering
- Leif Mases - mastering
- Yves Poyet - cover illustration
- Anders Hanser - photography
- Dick Nilson - album design
- Thomas Johansson - album coordinator
- Stig Anderson - executive producer
- Carl Magnus Palm: Bright Lights - Dark Shadows, Omnibus Press UK 2001, ISBN 0-7119-8389-5
- Carl Magnus Palm: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, Century 22 Limited UK, 1994. ISBN 0-907938-10-8
- TV documentary: Frida - Something's Going On, SVT 1982. Included on Frida - The DVD, Universal Music 2005.