ABBA. What an iconic, amazing and legendary band. I listen to ABBA’s album GOLD: Greatest Hits at least once a week. I love pop and disco, and ABBA is the quintessential representation of those two genres.
Their music is so good that it has been on Broadway in the musical Mamma Mia, a fictional tale sculpted from ABBA’s music. IT began in 1999 in London’s West End at the Prince Edward Theatre and still runs to this day. It’s definitely a show I and all ABBA lovers MUST see. The Meryl Streep movie is awesome, but live theater is the fucking shit, especially if there is song and dance.
I actually discovered ABBA through the A-Teens, a Swedish pop group formed in the late 90s that paid tribute to ABBA. Their first album titled The ABBA Generation consisted purely of ABBA covers. Their version of “Mamma Mia” was pretty huge for being a cover, but it’s such a good song that you’d have to be a complete idiot to fuck its cover up.
I can’t pick a favorite ABBA song, because it has changed so many times over the years. At first it was “Take a Chance on Me”, then it went to “Lay All Your Love on Me”. Next was the fight between “Money, Money, Money” for it’s theatrical, dramatic production and “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” for it’s relatable subject. Right now, I’m jammin’ on “Fernando” and “One of Us”.
Their songs encapsulate an often cryptic tale of struggling relationships. The four members of the group, Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad comprised of two couples: Ulvaeus-Fältskog and Andersson-Lynstad. The couples eventually both divorced and now claim to never reunite again. You can tell in the lyrics of their songs that even at the height of their fame, the relationships were ripe with disconnect and pain.
It’s also good to know that ABBA was not your modern day pop group. Benny and Björn played live instruments while the women sang live (what a shocker!). They worked on all of their songs obsessively until they sounded exactly right. The ladies, Anni-Frid and Agnetha would come in a make suggestions on the songs and ultimately had final say when it came to lyrics and lyrical melody.
I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty progressive to have a pop group with both men and women. They were all sexualized I’m sure, but it was the 70s so who wasn’t?! I like that the men and women are both showing skin, as opposed to just the women being made into sexual objects. Back then, everyone and everything was an equal sexual object. The only modern male-female pop group I can think of is the Black Eyed Peas, but I wouldn’t exactly call them progressive since I never see any of those men taking their clothes off with Fergie-ferg. Prudes!
Anyways, if you haven’t ever listened to much ABBA besides their karoake favorite “Dancing Queen”, you’re in for the treat of your life. Here are some videos of “Fernando” and a seriously awesome live clip of “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” from Wembley in 1979. Welcome to the best collective 8 minutes of your life.