This is one of the best albums Abba recorded. Like some of the others, I bought it originally on vinyl, then upgraded to CD, then bought the re-mastered CD with three bonus tracks (including Gimmie gimmie gimmie, not listed on this edition but readily available on Abba compilations), but ignored the latest digipack version.
Two British number one hits came from this album. The first, Winner takes it all, is a very sad song about the break-up of a relationship. It was inspired by a marriage break-up within Abba, but was not itself autobiographical. As they admit, neither partner came out winners from the divorce. The song hits home hard, perhaps because Agnetha really felt the song. The second number one, Super trouper, is more typical Abba - very upbeat.
My favorite tracks are The piper, The way old friends do and Our last summer. The piper was put on the B-side of Super trouper. I felt that was a mistake - it would have made a great A-side. In fact, they could have used Put on your white sombrero as a B-side - it was dropped from the album and had only rarely been made available before its inclusion here. The way old friends do is a live recording which provided a great finale to the original album. With the bonus tracks, it no longer has that effect, but is still a great song.
Elaine was the original B-side of Winner takes it all but, like Put on your white sombrero, had rarely been available before, although both could be found on a 4-CD boxed set.
I thought Our last summer could have been a great single, but the only other British single to be released from the album was Lay all your love on me backed with On and on and on. They had proved popular on dance floors so were made available on twelve-inch format only.