Swedish palindromes make good music

It was sort of inevitable that at some point after going to Scandinavia I would be praising ABBA. It’s in the water or something. Nah, but everyone my age back home makes fun of ABBA because it is so sappy or upbeat. I will agree with that to some degree, but it’s also very melancholy in a subtle way. Like, you’d think it’s just disco music for slow teens, but it really isn’t. This stuff exudes a deeper quality that’s only found in spectacularly good pop songwriters like Elton John, Queen, or even Judas Priest. They write songs that reflect really endearing, bittersweet emotions that are accessible and intrinsic to childhood but the tunes still manage to retain their full potency as you age. It’s quite impressive, because you can hear this stuff when you’re a kid and find it just as accessible as when you’re an adult.

Is this an actual promo shot??It are pretty good album. Head Over Heels, etc.

I would use that as a qualifier for what makes good pop music. Does it appeal to kids? The first songs I remember consciously liking were Michael Jackson songs from the ’80s and Queen‘s Greatest Hits. However, it would seem that most popular music is marketed toward specific stylistic niches. I would like to think the bands I mentioned transcend such a demographic limitation (you have to remember, Judas Priest basically invented the whole metal-leather genre association. It wasn’t an established fashion archetype until they became popular.).

I don’t like what passes as dance music these days. I think digitally over-produced club beats are obnoxious and unmusical. But ABBA’s stuff was recorded before they had digital studio standards, so even the recording is really charming, because it’s cutting-edge for the 1970s (the drums are incredible, really) and the synth sounds they use are gorgeous. Also, for pop-singers the girls are awesome. Like, they hit the right notes, have nice voices, have charming accents, plus – this is the important part – they never ever go off and do that stupid Aguilera/Beyonce, post-post-Motown, Generation Y vocal soloing/masturbation (you know what I’m talking about!).

I know most of you are thinking, “ABBA sucks, bands like Blur/Radiobrain/Muse/[random-weepy-cowardly-music-for-giving-up] are so much better.” And I’m sure I have a bunch of friends who will say ABBA sucks before they actually listen to it. It’s really too bad, because every last one of you is wrong times, like, a million. I don’t have solipsist musical tastes (or do I?), but I am extremely interested in investigating how deeply inspired musicians and artists are. So I don’t care what genre or time or style they emanate from. Quality burns/shines into the next world.

I guess I approach this stuff from a composer’s direction sometimes and “forget” that a lot of people listen to music for different and personal reasons (Notice that I’m really restraining myself in analyzing other people’s taste here *bites fist*). ABBA’s music is not like a lot of [modern] pop music, in that it is not saying you should hump at a club with a bunch of scanty girls because “dancing is fun”. I don’t think ABBA applies to this, even in songs like “Dancing Queen”. I don’t even think ABBA is aimed at teenagers.

Because: The problem with the world is that everyone behaves like a teenager (and consequently doesn’t like ABBA*). Everyone wants to have sex, do drugs, and get rich. Well excuse me, but: Zzzzzz…. ABBA is for people who aren’t damaged and tricked into following such shallow pursuits.

Watch this performance of “Waterloo”. This is one of the finest pop songs and live pop performances ever. No joke at all.

But just when you think it can’t get any better: A performance of “Waterloo” on German TV — in typically harsh German! ZOMIGOSH!!

Someone you know owns ABBA Gold. Trust me, someone does. Everyone does. You do. You’re listening to it now. Gold and Queen‘s Greatest Hits I are the two finest hit song collections manifesting in temporal space-time.

____

ABBA also did albums in German and Spanish, despite being from Sweden (?!).

*I’m lying because everyone actually loves ABBA. Even your mom. It’s the plain truth.

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~ by chaosrexmachinae on November 6, 2007.

One Response to “Swedish palindromes make good music”

  1. They, like, sing melodies that are thought out and well composed. Generations of people across the globe are fans. They came from an era in which plesantness was achieved through an understanding of how to write music well…that’s gay. COWBOYS FROM HELL!

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