Well, my first thread here and I'd welcome any input.
So, last night I was out and bumped into an old acquaintance, a nice lady in her late 60's whom I've chatted to on and off for a few years. Anyway, we're sat in the beer garden and there's a jukebox in the pub which I sometimes play ABBA on, not exclusively- I'll often play the likes of Goldfrapp, Portishead, Saint Etienne... a real smorgasbord. ABBA comes on, she suddenly says, "Oh, I hate ABBA!" I'm stunned. "Really?!" I exclaim. "Yes, they're too cheesy, I HATE them!" I was dumbfounded and struggled to know what to say. Her opinion, to which she is of course entitled, but I was shocked at the vitriol in her voice, it was so unexpected. I mumbled something about how wonderful they were, supremely talented and how I was perplexed that she would refer to the group that way when there are far worse culprits. But I left it there and we chatted about other stuff.
However, I wish I could have quizzed her more. And suggested songs in their catalogue which defy the cheese tag, but I didn't.
Anyway, how would you have dealt with it? Would you even bother to debate it? Do you think she made a fair accusation? I'm curious as to what fans think, being as objective as possible. Thanks.
I had the exact same experience with an old school mate of mine whom I bump into from time to time, we have a lot in common in taste and in outlook in general. I mentioned my fondness for ABBA and he discarded them as being, that's right: 'cheesy' (he actually used the English word)! I was taken aback at first, mostly because you rarely hear that 'argument' in Sweden anymore: even people who don't listen to them tend to have a huge respect for the group. I was on the verge of starting to argue my case, but I desisted, it felt pointless, somehow.
I don't think any less of this guy because of it, but it does show a certain narrow-mindedness, I have to say.
Alternatively we could spin it around, and could say we are very bias, I guess we have to be after many of us being dedicated fans for years. Therefore it's hard to hear when somebody else dislikes them. Personally ...its just their point of view, after all I dislike many other acts myself , for instance The Beatles, massive act, loyal fans, me take or leave, I guess I'd say something like " very 60s" it's not meant to be derogatory, but a point of view. However it might be how the dislike is said, which riles us.
I suppose for people with different music tastes, some of them won't let themselves like something outside of their range. It's very much a musical snobbery thing. I don't waste my time trying to convince them!
I can fully understand someone not liking something but what I didn't understand was the use of the word 'hate'. So vehemently used. It just seems so irrational and out of proportion. There are many things not to my liking but I can still appreciate the artistry. I suppose logic goes out the window when you develop a distaste for something. I agree there's no point in trying to convince someone otherwise but what frustrates me is the lack of explanation. I hate things like war...injustice...not a group whose music brought pleasure to millions.
Maybe it really is a musical snobbery thing.
I'd just like to understand why, that's all. I can accept a viewpoint but it does help if someone elaborates as to why rather than just a blanket statement of hate.
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2016 12:07:15 GMT by josef: Typo
That's very true, and I like cheese. Even Benny said something along the lines of how it's a wonder they weren't killed for being so corny. I'm supposing he meant their image but probably some of the music too.
I'm not bothered that the lady in question doesn't share my view, not in the least. I'm just curious. ABBA aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea. As I said, if she'd simply expressed dislike then I could have understood it but it was the venom which was shocking. I have a sense of humour and normally would have quipped something along the lines of calm down, did they steal your internal organs or something but I was gobsmacked because she's such a tiny little thing. Just goes to show don't judge a book by its cover. Maybe she's a Death Metal fan.
Anyway, I doubt I'll bump into her for another 6 months so I'll have to wait for any elaboration, by which time I'll probably not give two hoots anyway. I think I'll suss out who she's a fan of and say, "Oh, no. They're DREADFUL!" by way of a tease.
Last Edit: Sept 12, 2016 16:02:17 GMT by josef: Typo
I wonder what kind of music the people who criticize Abba for being cheesy would give as an example of a non-cheesy music? (and I'm putting the Shostakovich fans aside). There's as sense in which most of mainstream of rock/pop music is cheesy, at least if you go by the lyrics (the boy-girl aromatic relationship stuff etc.). Heck, I think that even heavy rock/metal is cheesy in its own way.
Post by thisboycries on Sept 13, 2016 13:45:38 GMT
To be scrupulously fair, the 'Waterloo' album is basically one big cheeseboard - with a couple of crackers (title track, 'My Mama Said') thrown in, of course. (The 'Chess' album, meanwhile, is one big chessboard...)
More seriously, one of the problems with the term 'cheesy', I think, is that no two people define it in exactly the same way. Ultimately, it depends who's wielding it (and why).
Usually it's a derogatory term, but, I like a lot of music others call cheesy. I listen to a lot of Muzak so what do I know....
It must've started out as a synonym for 'stinker,' given that the salient characteristic of most cheeses is a pungent aroma. Its meaning has probably broadened, as kitsch has been reassessed and gained a certain kind of critical standing in more recent years.
Of course as with every other term, it's a matter of context what one would call "cheesy".
Personally, I associate the term with being fake, pretentious, forced etc. by exploiting common cliches in order to induce a certain predictable emotional reactions (and here's a definition which agrees with me www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cheesy). So I guess lyrically, a lot of Abba's song fall in that category, but I think it's much less so musically. There are of course exceptions like "Our Last Summer", which both lyrically and musically makes me cringe and so I would definitely call this song cheesy, maybe because it gives me an impression of trying to hard to convey emotions and therefore it's sounds forced and inauthentic.
But that's an exception, and I would say that generally, Abba's music is just the opposite of being cheesy in that sense, since its very unpretentious and uses very clever and and inventive musical means in conveying the intended moods/emotion, without much reliance on predictable formulae or cliches (and when they do, it's usually with some kind of twist and the special musical signature of B&B).
Because if you're going to accuse Abba of being cheesy, listen to Honey Honey and then listen to some of the tracks off the Beatles Hard Days Night.
I cant remember which song, but Bjorn and Benny more or less lifted the chords to the words "no other place in the world that I'd rather be" off one of those songs. Or maybe Benny stole it from the Beach Boys. LOL. I will say that Benny's fake orchestra keyboard sound in Honey Honey is the very definition of 70s keyboard cheese. It always make me chuckle... I like it.
My point is, cheesy is an odd term and all the great rock-pop bands that are revered from the 60s, wrote cheesy lyrics and music too.
But sure, there are those that scorn the Beatles and The Beach Boys too.
I suppose there's also a contrived bonhomie element to the term (the 'Say cheese' plaster-a-fake-grin-over-your-face thing). As far as that Urban Dictionary definition goes, I'd agree with unsubtle, but 'trying too hard' I think is wide of the mark. The Beatles certainly produced a bit of cheese early on (and late on, too - see Rocky Raccoon and Maxwell's Silver Hammer); but they never produced an album dominated by cheese, as the Ring Ring and Waterloo albums are.
Yes, I can think of those who would apply the descriptor 'cheesy' to virtually anything 'chart-friendly' or 'mainstream'. Personally, I tend to think of it as quite a lazy label that never really gets to the heart of a song's appeal (or its flaws).
Also, of the four Bjorn's cheesy grin was off the scale. Maybe that had something to do with it. I like cheese but some brands are too strong for me. However, I always thought me and blue cheese wouldn't get on but I had some recently and enjoyed it. So maybe a little cheese is acceptable but come on too strong and it turns people off?
So I guess it's all a question of taste and what your definition of cheese actually is. And some are good and some are bad, depending on your subjective taste.
Post by chelseacharger on Sept 15, 2016 8:23:50 GMT
We all have our thresholds when it comes to what is termed 'cheesy' or 'corny'. Overly sentimental, reminiscing over long lost love or battles gone by. A lot of it stems from the groups cultural roots and influences, Schlager/Scandinavian folk music. Melodrama and melancholy. I love the melancholy side of ABBA but there are one or two of even their best known songs that 'lay it on to thick'. Others can't get it thick enough. So yes, even if we know they produced some 'cheesy' stuff, then non-fans are going to have a much harsher view. I think though, most are basing their judgement on a select number of songs. If I felt that strongly about it, I'd make up a CD/MP3 containing 'SOS'. 'Knowing Me Knowing You', 'I'm A Marionette', 'The Name Of The Game', 'Eagle', 'The Visitors', 'Summer Night City', 'Should I Laugh Or Cry', 'The Day Before You Came'. Title it 'Cheese Free' and plonk that down in front of her.
She might think I'd taken her criticism a bit to personally though.
A lot of ABBA's songs are very 'sweet', aren't they? And that's not to everyone's taste. Hasta Manana, for instance (which I love).. maybe that's too cloying for some folk. Same with Chiquitita and I Have A Dream. It's laid on a bit thick.
As I said, I don't have a problem with anyone disliking ABBA (or anything I like- after all, I have some very strong dislikes myself) but what shocked me was the venom in her voice and her screwed up face. Anyone would think I'd just mentioned Gary Glitter or something!
I wish now I'd simply been strong and said something along the lines of, ''Oh ok, that's fine. But don't talk out of your backside; a song like Knowing Me, Knowing Me (or any of the ones chelseacharger mentioned) is nowhere near cheesy, don't be silly now.'' Then again, she might not have heard of most of them.
One thing is certain, the VERY NEXT TIME I see her, ABBA will be blasting out of that jukebox, just to wind her up!
Last Edit: Sept 15, 2016 16:23:06 GMT by josef: typos
She didn't explain, that's why I am a little perplexed. I will bring the subject up again when I next see her but I don't know when that will be and also I don't want to appear sweaty obsessive. I'll just casually ask her and hope she elaborates, at least a little.