Vinyl Vibes: An a-ha! Moment; Beyond ABBA

My vinyl collection expanded quite a bit during Covid lockdowns and restrictions – the money I would normally spend locally on beer and a burger or going out of town was redirected to buying records or LEGO.

At the start of the year, I decided I would listen through my collection alphabetically, but only sort of. Rather than going through all the A artists first, followed by B and so on, I’m listening to a single album in A, then B, then C and so forth, until I get through the entire alphabet – then I will start over. This means I won’t be listening to only one artist for albums at a time (I own every ABBA album released on vinyl and tend to be a completist when collecting music from artists I like).

My alphabetic listen-through is contained to my rock/pop albums, although I might throw a movie soundtrack into the mix, and maybe even some jazz.

a-ha – Hunting High and Low: Everyone knows “Take on Me,” but this album is more than a one hit wonder. The first five tracks on side one are all quite good and show the band’s range. Side 2 starts with the excellent “The Sun Always Shines on TV,” although the last two or three tracks are somewhat forgettable.

The Bangles – All Over the Place: This doesn’t have the high profile hit singles the band is most known for such as “Manic Monday” or “Eternal Flame,” but it’s a solid debut album. This band was the soundtrack for anyone who grew up in the 80s.

Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood: This is the only Neko Case album I own on vinyl which makes no sense because I love her voice, lyrics, and melodies – the rest of her work I only own digitally.

Def Lepard – Hysteria: I’m old enough to remember slow dancing to “Love Bites” in high school. It and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” are the only two notable tracks on this album which is probably why I was able to pick it up for less than $10. When I posted this evaluation on Facebook, I got quite a lot of push back, with folks pointing out there were other singles from the album as well as other tracks they thought we pretty good. I think I need to give this album another listen.

Kathleen Edwards – Failer: I saw Kathleen Edwards play the Mod Club while promoting her third album, which I quite like. It was one of the best live performances I’d seen. This remastered first record for vinyl is a solid debut album, and recently released as Edwards returned to her a music career should put on hold for a while. I hope her other albums get the vinyl treatment, and that Edwards will produce some new music.

Agnetha Faltskog – Wrap Your Arms Around Me: The women of ABBA both had solo careers after the group split up. This was the only one I heard when it came out. It was a solid album with good singles although every track is basically about falling in love or a failed romance. The sound wasn’t that far from ABBA itself.

Gary Hilson is a freelance writer with a focus on B2B technology, including information technology, cybersecurity, and semiconductors.