OK, so if you didn’t get it from the end of the last post, this is going to be all about ABBA. If you don’t love ABBA, please stop reading now, you’ll just be wasting your time.
Every Friday I spend the morning at a client’s office in Tema. For some reason they are never able to connect my laptop to the internet, and whatever work I am given, I usually finish within one of the four hours I sit there. So yesterday, after doing the client’s work, then office work, as I was about to take care of my private work, I remembered I had my MP3 player with me, turned it on and felt the power of music, as in top quality, hairs raising, goose bumps creating music.
This only happens when you’re listening to either a song that takes you back to a particular event or when listening la crème de la crème – in this case: ABBA.
Don’t be confused, I am not an ABBA novice, ask my parents, they’ll tell you I have been a fan since I could stand on my own feet.
But as I was listening through earphones, a rare occurrence for me, the sound of ABBA hit me even harder, deeper than usual.
‘Our Last Summer’, which H really introduced me to and is now one of my favourites, displays such a beautiful melancholy of remembrance, particularly at 02:49 (come on, dig out the song so you know what I’m talking about). We’re meant to be wowed by the electric guitar solo but the piano steals the show and sets the tone of reminiscing. The drums at 03:20, Aw!
The lovely piano plonking at 01:37. What can be said about the almost comic “and your name is...Harry!” in the last verse? Each instrument, note, word, so intelligently thought through and put together to create magnificence.
In ‘Fernando’, H calls me sentimental, but my favourite line is the beautiful “I can see it in your eyes how proud you were to fight for freedom in this land”. Once again (as always) Bjorn and Benny display excellence by selecting and coordinating melodies and instruments to characterise each aspect of the song.
The pan-flutes, the instrument of South America, ensuring that before we hear a word of the song we know which continent to link it to. The drumming, resembling drumming your way into a battle, of course reminding us of Fernando’s battles. The chorus links to Sweden in a way only a Swede would know by jumping from the South American influence of the verse to classic dansband’s (Swedish country/folk music) beat that takes our minds to Sven-Ingvars and Vikingarna.
When listening to ABBA I feel I never need to know any other music.
Agneta and Frida personalise each song with Swedish pronunciation and enunciation as only those with English as a second language could. ("it was the age [aich] of no regret” in ‘Our Last Summer’).
E G-A made me love ‘the Name of the Game’. Once you start loving it, there’s no going back. The great base I’d expect to hear in a good hiphop song or at a crucial point of excitement in a movie, the “schu, schu, schu, schu” beat of the drums throughout the verse, the beautiful harmony of Agneta and Frida’s voices in the chorus, the “du, du, du, du” whilst Frida sings “and you make me feel...”, the desperation of “if I said I care for you, would you feel the same way too”, the background “one smile and the sound of your voice” while the chorus is being sung. The saxophone behind “ would you laugh at me" that culminates at 03:31 to 03:46 (of the cut version, actually prefer the longer one but don’t have it on my MP3, only on the original LP). So many segments to one song, my words come nowhere near describing the magnitude of it!
Geniuses! Bjorn and Benny, where did this talent that made you musicians extraordinaire come from?!
We fans really can only say thank YOU for the music, what would the world be like without the music of ABBA?