I grew up hating ABBA without really listening to them. Truth is I loved Dancing Queen and The Winner Takes It All and Fernando – and then, a few years on, when my brother returned home from uni with a copy of ABBA Gold I was sold. But that’s mostly all I’ve ever needed. I mean someone gave me a copy of the self-titled album on cassette tape, as a joke I think; I listened to it seriously. And I was kinda into it – but I haven’t really bothered with the ABBA albums all that much; Gold is all you need and some days (still) it’s far more than you need. Much as I can tell you that I like ABBA something like that fucking film Mama Mia will put me right back off.
Well anyway, all of that is to say that when I recognised that Elvis Costello’s song Oliver’s Army couldn’t have existed without the influence of ABBA I was in; the best way to justify any interest in ABBA seemed to be in talking up the songwriting. Actually, and true though that is, the best aspect of the band is the drama, the tension. That’s why songs like The Winner Takes It All are just so good.
Well, here’s the band’s last album – unless they reform and release a new studio album (I know it’s always talked about but let’s hope it doesn’t actually happen). And so I had never heard this, really didn’t know much of anything about it. But I’m hooked on it from first listen. Helps, I guess, that I’ve grown completely out of shame with music, no guilty-pleasures to confess, no secrets. There’s just music I like and listen to, music I love, music I should really get to and music I have no interest in. I have a huge interest in ABBA. Now more than ever. I’ll probably work through all the albums. But really all I think I need is the greatest hits. And (now) this.
I’m going through the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and playing all of the albums I haven’t (previously) heard. It’s a pointless goal, but it’s my goal…