Monthly Archives: March 2010

ABBA = Solid Gold

Hiram’s pal Ray Barker sent over this review of ABBA’s Gold, possibly to make us fall in love with him, but mostly because ABBA rules.

“Dancing Queen” ABBA

ABBA–Gold. The Swedish band ABBA (an acronym comprised of the band member’s first names) actually sold more records in the 1970’s than any other band, surpassing decade juggernauts like Queen, the Eagles, The Who, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Listening to this 19-track collection, or any of the many compilations and individual releases available, and you can hear why.

Certainly the band capitalized on the growing popularity of disco, but regardless of the genre, they had a near genius-like ability in composing unforgettable melodies. Trying to get the sugary hooks from their singles (“Mama Mia”, “Knowing Me Knowing You”, or “Waterloo”, for example) is as easy as getting stuck bubblegum out of your hair.

All of their most popular songs are both exuberant and sad, expressed in the ebullient female vocal harmonies. “Dancing Queen”, perhaps the most famous track here, details (essentially) the pinnacle of a young woman’s life in the disco, a joyous celebration of youth and innocence, vanishing as the night wears on.

Hearing ABBA’s music as a child (“S.O.S.”, “Fernando”, “Name of the Game”) I felt the wistful longing for a lost love, even before I was of an age to have a lost love.

ABBA’s music, in a way, is deceiving. On the surface you’re pulled in by the disco dance floor giddiness, the promise of mindless fun and ecstasy. But lurking behind the thump of the bass and whirlwind strings lays a tender sadness, a bittersweet melancholy that informs the listener of the fleeting and ephemeral qualities not just of love, but of life, too.

As the 70’s came to an end, so did ABBA’s decade-spanning career. Additionally, the two marriages within the band dissolved as well. By 1982, the beautiful romance was over.

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