Tuesday, March 5, 2013


YEAR:  1982
LABEL:  Atlantic
TRACK LISTING:  Tell Me It's Over,  I See Red,  I Got Something,  Strangers,  To Turn the Stone,  I Know There's Something Going On,  Threnody,  Baby Don't You Cry No More,  The Way You Do,  You Know What I Mean,  Here We'll Stay
IMPRESSIONS:  The album's very pink.  This and Frida's membership in the extremely poppy ABBA would give the impression of bubble gum.  However, from the opening track's driven, rock-oriented (albeit early 80's) sound, Frida announced that she was going for a harder-edged sound.  And while the album features it's fair share of softer ballads, Frida managed to give us a surprisingly eclectic mix of rather strong material provided by a bevy of superstar songwriters.  By this point, ABBA was spending less and less time together and Frida was going through her divorce with bandmate Benny Andersson so she decided it was time to do a solo album; this time in English and designed to appeal to the current international music scene.  After obsessively listening to Phil Collins' solo album "FACE VALUE" and the "In the Air Tonight" single "...non-stop for eight months...", Frida's record label Polar Music approached Collins and offered him the producer's chair for her album.  Collins accepted and Polar Music announced the project and solicited suitable songs from publishing houses and songwriters around the world.  Over 500 songs were submitted and songs by Stephen Bishop, Bryan Ferry, Rod Argent, Giorgio Moroder & Pete Bellotte among others were selected for the project.  Frida asked future Roxette member Per Gessle to set Dorothy Parker's poem "Threnody" to music and she also chose to cover "FACE VALUE" track "You Know What I Mean"; a song which had become very important to her.  The album closer was to be a cover of the Sonia Jones 1980 Eurovision Song Contest pre-selection "Here We'll Stay" as a duet with producer Phil Collins.  The "FACE VALUE" Phil Collins sound is extremely evident in the gated drum sound, the brassy brass stings of the Phenix Horns (all over contemporary Phil Collins and Genesis albums) and the harder-rock sound of some of the songs.  However, while some songs evoke the sound of "No Reply At All" or "Turn It On Again", the album features a vast array of styles from the cod-reggae beat of "I See Red" to the dreamy "Strangers" to the chilly cold early 80's sound of "I Got Something" to the incredibly lush romanticism of "The Way You Do".  Some tracks naturally work better than others (the duet with Phil Collins is particularly weak) while others stand up to this day (the phenomenal hit single "I Know There's Something Going On", the mandolin-like "Threnody", the aforementioned Bryan Ferry confection "The Way You Do").  The album itself has quite a few features which mark it as a "divorce album"; both Frida and Collins were going through divorced in which they both claimed to be the injured party.  Perhaps that contributes to the nice edge in the listening experience.  All these years later, "SOMETHING'S GOING ON" remains a surprisingly strong and entertaining album.  The album received mostly good reviews with Billboard magazine saying "ABBA's auburn-haired songstress makes a bold solo project a stunning success" and Rolling Stone's Album Guide calling it "...a sharp, rock-oriented, delightfully eclectic album."
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Tell Me It's Over,  I See Red,  Strangers,  To Turn the Stone,  I Know There's Something Going On,  Threnody,  The Way You Do
GUEST ARTISTS:  Phil Collins (producer, drums and percussion, songwriter on "You Know What I Mean", vocals on "Here We'll Stay"),  The Phenix Horns (brass)
FACT SHEET:  SOMETHING'S GOING ON is Frida's first solo album in English; her previous solo albums were in Swedish.  Frida's real name is Ani-Frid Lyngstad and she is one quarter of the Swedish super-group ABBA.  The album was produced by Phil Collins with Hugh Padgham as sound engineer at Polar Music Studios in Stockholm.  Earth, Wind & Fire's horn section The Phenix Horns came to Stockholm for two days to record their brass section.  Strings, orchestra and harp were recorded at Sir George Martin's Air Studios in London with Martin and Paul McCartney in attendance.  "Tell Me It's Over" was written by Stephen Bishop.  "To Turn the Stone" was written by Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder for Donna Summer's 1981 double album "I'M A RAINBOW" which would remain unreleased by Geffen Records until 1996.  "I Know There's Something Going On" was written by Russ Ballard.  "Threnody" is a poem written by Dorothy Parker set to music by future Roxette member Per Gessle.  "Baby, Don't You Cry No More" was written by Rod Argent.  "The Way You Do" was written by Bryan Ferry.  "You Know What I Mean" was written by Phil Collins.  The cover portrait of Frida was painted by Yves Poyet.

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