The Visitors (ABBA album)

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The Visitors
ABBA - The Visitors (Polar).jpg
Studio album by
Released30 November 1981
Recorded16 March – 14 November 1981
Polar Studios, Stockholm
Length37:39 (Swedish original release)
LabelPolar
Epic (UK)
Atlantic Records (US original release)
Producer
ABBA chronology
Super Trouper
(1980)
The Visitors
(1981)
The Singles: The First Ten Years
(1982)
Alternative cover
2001/2012 re-issue. The cover uses a slightly different picture, has been color-corrected and the group's logo and the album name have been enlarged and centered.
2001/2012 re-issue. The cover uses a slightly different picture, has been color-corrected and the group's logo and the album name have been enlarged and centered.
Singles from The Visitors
  1. "Slipping Through My Fingers"
    Released: June 1981 (Japan promo)
  2. "One of Us"
    Released: 7 December 1981
  3. "When All Is Said and Done"
    Released: 31 December 1981 (US only)
  4. "Head over Heels"
    Released: 19 March 1982
  5. "The Visitors"
    Released: April 1982 (US only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Blender5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork(8.6/10)[3]
Sputnikmusic5/5 stars[4]

The Visitors is the eighth studio album by Swedish pop group ABBA, and their last before their 35-year hiatus. It was released on 30 November 1981.

With The Visitors, ABBA took several steps away from the "lighter" pop music they had recorded previously and the album is often regarded as a more complex and mature effort.[5] The opening track, "The Visitors", with its ominous synthesizer sounds and the distinctive lead vocal by Frida, announced a change in musical style. With Benny and Frida going their separate ways, the pain of splitting up was explored yet again in "When All Is Said and Done". The major hit single on the album, "One of Us", also depicted the end of a love story. Elsewhere there were current Cold War themes—highly topical at the time—and further songs of isolation and regret.

The Visitors was one of the first records ever to be recorded and mixed digitally, and was the first in history to be pressed on the new CD format in 1982 (though in terms of commercial release dates, it was predated by the Japanese release of Billy Joel's 52nd Street).[6] The Visitors has been reissued in digitally remastered form three times—first in 1997, then in 2001 and again in 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set.

The Visitors Deluxe Edition was released on 23 April 2012. As with previous releases in the Deluxe Edition series, this version of ABBA’s final album offers a DVD of archive material along with CD bonus tracks – including the demo medley "From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel", the first previously-unreleased ABBA recordings since 1994.[7] It was ABBA’s last album until their reunion in 2018.

Recording and release[edit]

Recording began on what was to become ABBA's final studio album on 16 March 1981.[8] By this time, tensions in ABBA had heightened. Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog had divorced the previous July, while the band's other couple, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, announced their divorce in February 1981, adding strain to the musical partnership. Ulvaeus mentioned in retrospect that the sessions were troubled, noting, "It could be frosty sometimes." Lyngstad also commented that they were beginning to tire of working together.[9]

The members of ABBA and their personnel have memories of the recording sessions for this album being rather difficult. To begin with, their sound engineer Michael Tretow had to become accustomed to using the new 32-track digital recorder that had been purchased for Polar Music Studios. He said, "Digital recording...cut out all the hiss, but it also meant that sounds were sharply cut off below a certain level. The sound simply became too clean, so I had to find ways of compensating for that." The first three tracks for the album had already been recorded using analogue tape and therefore Tretow had to transfer all subsequent tracks from digital to analogue and back again to avoid a difference in quality.[10]

On its release, The Visitors reached the top of the charts in a number of territories but was not as successful as their previous albums.[11]

The Visitors was released as a Deluxe Edition on 23 April 2012. As with previous releases in the Deluxe Edition series, this version of ABBA's final album offered a DVD of archive material along with a CD featuring the original album (although a different mix of "Head Over Heels" was used) and bonus tracks; one of the bonus tracks included was the demo medley "From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel", the first previously unreleased ABBA recordings since 1994.[7] Pitchfork gave it an 8.6 grade, saying "even as the band's commercial star faded and its professional relationships quietly unravelled, they were perfectionists. ABBA's music on The Visitors is more pristine and ambitious than it had ever been, its themes darker, its personal politics more tangled."[12] The Arts Desk: "The Visitors is not their best, but it is their most interesting [album], pointing to where Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson would go next."[13]

Album cover[edit]

The studio of Julius Kronberg at Skansen in Stockholm.

Rune Söderqvist designed the cover and photographed the group in a room containing Julius Kronberg's painting of Eros. The room is the Atelje Studio in Skansen Park, Stockholm. The group are positioned apart and appear to be waiting solemnly in the shadows.[14][15]

Track listing[edit]

Source:[16]
All tracks written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."The Visitors"5:49
2."Head over Heels"3:45
3."When All Is Said and Done"3:20
4."Soldiers"4:38
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."I Let the Music Speak"5:20
2."One of Us"3:55
3."Two for the Price of One"3:36
4."Slipping Through My Fingers"3:51
5."Like an Angel Passing Through My Room"3:25
Total length:37:39

Singles[edit]

  1. "One of Us"/"Should I Laugh or Cry" (December 1981)
  2. "When All is Said and Done"/"Soldiers" (December 1981)
  3. "Head over Heels"/"The Visitors (Crackin' Up)" (February 1982)
  4. "The Visitors" (single edit)/"Head Over Heels" (March 1982)

Personnel[edit]

ABBA

Additional personnel

  • Ola Brunkert – drums
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – bass, mandolin
  • Janne Kling – flute and clarinet
  • Per Lindvall – drums (on "Soldiers" and "The Visitors")
  • Åke Sundqvist – percussion
  • Lasse Wellander – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin

Production[edit]

  • Producers: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
  • Arrangers: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
  • Engineer: Michael B. Tretow
  • Design: Rune Söderqvist
  • Remastered for the 1997 Remasters by Jon Astley and Tim Young with Michael B. Tretow
  • Remastered for the 2001 Remasters by Jon Astley with Michael B. Tretow
  • Remastered for the 2005 Complete Studio Recordings Box Set by Henrik Jonsson

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[38] diamond 66,439[38]
Germany (BVMI)[39] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[40] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 128,000[24]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[41] Gold 50,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Visitors". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  2. ^ Douglas Wolk. "Blender review". Blender.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  3. ^ Pitchfork review
  4. ^ ZackSh33. "ABBA - The Visitors (album review 2) | Sputnikmusic". www.sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 17 December 2017. Missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. ^ allmusic ((( The Visitors > Overview )))
  6. ^ "Philips celebrates 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc". Newscenter.philips.com. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  7. ^ a b ABBA – The Official Site Archived 18 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Magnus Palm, C: "ABBA The Complete Recording sessions", page 106. Century 22 Ltd, 1994
  9. ^ Magnus Palm, C: "Bright Lights, Dark shadows", page 444. Omnibus Press, 2001
  10. ^ Magnus Palm, C: "ABBA The Complete Recording sessions", page 109. Century 22 Ltd, 1994
  11. ^ Magnus Palm, C: "Bright Lights, Dark shadows", page 446. Omnibus Press, 2001
  12. ^ ABBA The Visitors [Deluxe Edition]
  13. ^ Reissue CDs Weekly: Carole King, Abba, Sheena Easton
  14. ^ Magnus Palm, C: "Bright Lights, Dark shadows", page 445. Omnibus Press, 2001
  15. ^ 1981 ABBA-THE VISITORS
  16. ^ http://www.abbasite.com/discography/album/the-visitors/
  17. ^ http://www.abbaomnibus.net/songs/whosings.htm
  18. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ a b "austriancharts.at ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  20. ^ "RPM: Top Albums/CDs". RPM Canada. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  21. ^ a b "dutchcharts.nl ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  22. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : ABBA". infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  23. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1982" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  25. ^ "charts.org.nz ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  26. ^ "norwegiancharts.com ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  27. ^ a b "swedishcharts.com ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  28. ^ "Abba | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  29. ^ "allmusic ((( The Visitors > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  30. ^ a b "Album Search: ABBA – The Visitors" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  31. ^ "ultratop.be Scatman John – ABBA – The Visitors" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  32. ^ "ABBA – The Visitors – hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  33. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  34. ^ a b "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  35. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1982 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 29 December 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 25 December 1982. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  37. ^ "Austriancharts.st – Jahreshitparade 1982" (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  38. ^ a b "Abba" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
  39. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (ABBA; 'The Visitors')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  40. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1983". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  41. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  42. ^ "British album certifications – ABBA – The Visitors". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 March 2013. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Visitors in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]