mamma mia, here i go again/ABBA back together...

If only for an evening:


The four members of ABBA reunited for their first public appearance since 1986, gathering on the red carpet for the Swedish big-screen premiere of "Mamma Mia."

This excites me greatly.

Ok. I admit it. I LOVE ABBA. I love every song. Spandex aside, I actually find artistic merit in the work of Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus...they invented their own unique "Wall of Sound" by stacking and layering every vocal, instrument, and sound that was recorded, and then by slightly "detuning" one of the tracks to create a chorus track. This was done before ProTools and digital recording, before auto-tune, etc. It was all analog, and it was brilliant.

As songwriters, they dominated. They have sold 370 million albums worldwide. Countless hit songs, numerous number ones in countries worldwide. "Fernando" beat out the Beatles "Hey Jude" as the longest running number one song. Call them cheese nuggets, but they were an important part of pop music history in the 70s and 80s.

I grew up on ABBA records. They were my first love musically. As a kid, I would hole up in my room, turn on "The Winner Takes It All," and get lost in the story and the emotion in the lyrics. It was the first time I connected song with soul and realized that music could move a person in a powerful way... and I was only 9. I had no personal experience with heartbreak and lost love at 9 years old, but that song took me there. It so captured the essence of devastating loss that I didn't have to personally experience the emotion to know it and to feel it.

For me, their music was the beginning of connecting emotion to music, specifically as it was so flawlessly and skillfully delivered by the two singers, whose interpretation of the lyrics made you the first person in the story of each song. When I started singing at 13, I unconsciously drew off of these women, my first influences, and it made me the singer that I am today: interpretation is everything. The listener must feel the soul and the emotion of the song. It's everything.

So laugh if you want... but almost everybody secretly likes ABBA. Even Bono says that they were one of the most important bands in modern history.

I'm just happy to see them all together again. Maybe now that they're all on speaking terms again, they can be persuaded to do a reunion tour (they were offered $1 billion for a reunion years ago, but they refused!).... I would fly to Stockholm to see that.


Ed said...

ABBA's one of those bands that I, as a straight male, am slightly embarrassed to have in my iTunes, but damnit they could craft good songs. Plus, it reminds me of my childhood, probably because you were always listening to it! So it's like comfort music, in the same way that "A Prairie Home Companion" is comfort radio.

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