Masters of the Scene: 15 ABBA Songs Ranked
A sense of expectation hangs in the air; after 40 years, the return of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Frida to the stage has reignited our love for Sweden’s biggest and most recognisable export.
In a year in which the Eurovision Song Contest propelled Italian rock band Måneskin to international fame, we now return to the 1974 winner whose hit “Waterloo” carved the name ABBA into pop culture. ABBA’s latest project, the studio album Voyage, is a long-awaited return which has rather unfortunately swung us back to those family arguments, debating the ultimate question: which is the best ABBA song? As I attempt this deathly task, don't shut me down...
15. “Our Last Summer” (1980)
One which touches on summer memories we cherish. It feels right for this ballad to take the title as a song which reminds us of picnics on the grass.
14. “The Name of The Game” (1977)
A bold, dramatic song of confusion and struggle, this song connects the catchy to the raw.
13. “Thank You for the Music” (1978)
One which encapsulates all ABBA has to offer, the wholehearted, “Thank You for the Music” encourages everyone to reflect: “without a song or a dance, what are we?”
12. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man after Midnight)” (1979)
The first of a string of songs from the 1979 Voulez Vous album, this club classic’s intro gets everyone up on their feet and burns the loneliness we often feel.
11. “Lay all Your Love on Me” (1981)
A song of desire and passion, the 1981 hit narrowly misses the top ten but like fellow others, it lights a fuse within us.
10. “Does Your Mother Know” (1979)
Taking the number 10 spot, ABBA teases us with yet another catchy intro. This charming, funny song about flirtation may be outdated, but by goodness isn't it a belter?
9. “Voulez-Vous” (1979)
In the 1979 fiery hit, ABBA, amidst French accents, lures us to a dance.
8. “One of Us” (1981)
Singing a song about the loneliness that comes with separation, Agnetha leads the group’s last major single with a heartbreaking and quintessentially ABBA ballad.
7. “Knowing Me, Knowing You” (1977)
The remorseful tone of this 1977 hit took the top spot in the UK. “Knowing Me, Knowing You” was one of the first ABBA songs to reflect on the devastation of a break-up.
6. “Mamma Mia” (1975)
An upbeat telling of the inability to move on, this 1975 hit matched the band’s initial success and remains one of their most notable hits.
5. “SOS” (1975)
This melodic masterpiece, which unites a classical interlude with Agnetha’s emotional tone, unsuspectingly begins as a melancholic ballad and moves into a bold, brashy chorus.
4. “The Winner Takes it All” (1980)
No ABBA song’s simplistic telling of sorrow affects us more than the 1980 hit, which spoke of both couples' strained marriages, conveying sheer defeat in lyric.
3. “Chiquitita” (1979)
ABBA’s ballad, which meticulously points us from despair to the joys of brighter days, narrowly missed the UK number one in 1979. However, I see it as one on which we can always rely to make us dance again.
2. “Waterloo” (1974)
As we turn up the volume, this supreme example of a pop rock song with an enriched rhythm makes us lose control. This classic won at Eurovision and is a near enough winner in my eyes, only beaten by this next smash hit:
1. “Dancing Queen” (1976)
Friday night and the lights are low in 601… enter the euphoric international chart topper reported to be singer Frida’s favourite. Constructed with the perfect layering of both female singers’ vocals, this unforgettable and timeless record conquers this ranking.
As ABBA return with a fresh new album without the platform boots and lycra, it is a joy to have this quartet back in our lives and let them sing once more.