As far as I can tell (others more in-tune with the grapevine will be able to make more informed prognostications), a last album of completely new material is not likely to follow in the wake of the new tracks promised, but if ABBA were to be in the process of putting together an album parting-shot, what potential titles should they be considering for it? This kicked off in 'Can it be true?', but since there's been talk there of trying to corral and re-focus that thread, I thought we could have a dedicated thread ('PhotoShoppers', feel free to chuck in some mocked-up cover designs). This is what we've had so far:
'Restholm'. [...] Or how about 'Patience' [or] 'Patients'. [...] Or, in anticipation of possible critical slaggings in the wake of its release, and the improbability of it being able to live up to expectation in any case: 'Better Never Than Late'.
The first of Rich's there is definitely a goer, but if it was up to me I'd prune it and remove 'Last Arrival', since I think any direct references to earlier works would weigh down any final offering (self-referential 'tie-ins' tend to be a little too cute for my taste, at least when it comes to naming something substantial that will likely have lasting value).
Of course, it couldn't be used because it carries so much Beatles baggage, but inspired by the last track on Abbey Road: And in the end... An album title that both pays classy tribute to who came before them while also being precisely apt for ABBA. But of course it wouldn't be generally appreciated.
Yeah, nice one. 'Coda' makes perfect sense: punchy and logical (one-time Polar Studios recording artists Led Zep already used it, of course, not that it can't be used again). Another one-worder that's been used at least once before - by King Crimson - that I like, and that can be read more than one way: 'Islands'. A related alternative would be: 'Archipelago'- again an ABBA tie-in (the tucked-away song-writing hut - the engine-room of ABBA's 'golden' period), plus it has both 'ago' (past) and 'go' (imminent departure) subliminally built into it. I also like the wide-scale, aerial-view sort of quality that 'Stockholm' would bring.
Two (too!) obvious ones. The silhouettes would be the actual ABBA photographed as they are now, of course, but I like the idea of the figures beginning to become transparent/fading - suggesting that they're not quite fully present anymore. 'Dusk' could equally be called 'Evening'. The scaling/positioning would need work - these are quick knock-ups - and the 'Dusk' setting ought to be chillier and less glowing than the one I've used, and/or maybe more open (it's hard to grab a decent pic that doesn't have rights-managed logos plastered over it these days.):
I like the idea of them walking away from the camera, and in a grouping that suggests they're connected but independent and self-contained, at the same time. I just grabbed some silhouettes, but it's funny how you can tell which figure is which in that set - the more tactile and outgoing Frida and the peaceable Benny walking together, possibly arm-in-arm, Agnetha walking on ahead by herself, and Bjorn, lost in thought, dawdling slightly behind.
Given the references to trains and stations that feature in a number of ABBA songs, I think a train-themed final album cover would make sense, trains being a great metaphor for separating/leaving/moving on, all that sort of stuff. Also, the more I think about it, the more I think a cover image with group themselves absent (or as good as), for the first time, makes sense. I'm drawn to outdoor scenes, because they've featured hardly at all on ABBA album covers - the Greatest Hits 'bench' one being the only proper one I can think of (Ring Ring has an outdoor shot, but the close cropping doesn't make a feature of the setting, while on 'Self-titled' and Arrival they're outside, but contained within vehicles). I like 'Conduct' quite a bit as a title - a number of different meanings, there.
Self-referential pun titles never have legs in the long run (unless perhaps they're really tenuously oblique), that's the problem. Their appeal is instant, but they age quickly; they're the wrong way to go for something meant to have long-term,'permanent' value. So thanks, but no thanks, to: "Departure (I Shouldn't Wonder)", "Hisses Of Pyre", "Quit-itita", "Lovers Still Die", "The Reaper Takes It All", "Our Last Supper", "Happy Last Year", "On And On And Off", "Lay All Your Soil On Me", "The Way Old Friends Die", "Dead. Over. Deal.", "Now All Is Said And Done", "Not One Of Us", "Slipping The Rings Off Our Fingers", etc, etc (I'll obviously hold my hand up and say that Shoshin's suggestions were a lot more acceptable, no question, with the latter one being a genuine goer).
Oh, I don't know, orf. A swansong album title with a little built-in humour based around one of their past song titles would, I think, have legs. Fans, at least, I'm sure would retain the context in their minds and it would remain a charming, if sometimes, poignant, joke for them. I may be hopelessly wrong about that, however, and it would soon become an ongoing irritation. Agree about Martin's third suggestion.
Ah, there were three of them ('So Long' being a straight rip slipped by me!). Okay, you convinced me; it's a three-way tussle between 'Ring Ring The Undertaker', 'ABBA: The Ashes' and 'Respirez-Vous?'.
I don't think a humour thing would work. I'm reminded of Two For The Price Of One and how the 'joke' in that fell flat. ABBA don't really do comedy. Even Björn's description of Agnetha being 'as good as new' was cringeworthy. That isn't to say I don't think they all have a sense of humour. I'm sure they were in hysterics during the ABBA years (as exemplified by the many photos of them contorted with laughter).
Some of the suggestions here are right crackers!
I also like the idea of one or two words as a title. Pet Shop Boys did that a lot, too.
An 'insider' joke sounds fun but ultimately I'd prefer a serious approach. Mamma Mia! has made me long for ABBA to be taken seriously again.
Last Edit: Feb 29, 2020 18:30:41 GMT by josef: Typos
Two Philip Larkin-inspired ones (Clive James - RIP - nabbed the line used in the first one, first for an essay on Larkin and more recently for a book of his collected pieces on the poet, effectively ruling it out if someone ever tried to rule it in. Makes a wonderful title though):
Yeah, apparently an aubade is a song about lovers taking leave of one another after a night spent in each other's arms (Richard Linklater creates a sort of visual aubade at the very end of the film Before Sunrise, showing a number of locations that the Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke characters had wandered through in Vienna during a single afternoon, evening and early morning they spent together before parting, shown deserted in full morning light).
Like the 3rd cover option of the train . Maybe with a silhouette of each member in separate windows.... or party scenes in each window with the Abba members appearing in different windows with Other Abba musicians or icons. Could be called Journey or Journey’s end. Or maybe an Art Deco cover painting of a cruise ship from the 1920s like the Now Voyageur poster with the 4 members painted in dressed in 1920s attire and the album called Bob Voyage. Maybe not a spaceship though!😉
Like the 3rd cover option of the train . Maybe with a silhouette of each member in separate windows
If you look again you'll see I put silhouettes representing the group in - two in the windows of the train in the foreground, and two in the windows of the one in the distance (to start with I put them all in the windows of the foreground train, but then had another think about the cover being for a parting album). There's a fair bit of space separating the heads of each pair; in fact, they're each in a separate carriage. Four individuals travelling on the same trains together, alone. Here it is, made larger:
Edit: in case anyone's wondering, I should make it clear: I had no hand in creating the main picture itself, just found it and added some elements. I ought to find out who did do it - I think it may've come from an animation film. Looking at it again, I'm wondering if that's not just one long train, snaking its way around a particularly bendy stretch of track; I suppose even if that's the case, the gist of the idea of them being shut-off from each other is still conveyed (this is just a quick mock-up anyway: if it were to be developed, two separate trains could be incorporated).