I've always thought that it's one of their standouts, because it's a subject that could so easily have become schmaltzy, yet they boldly tell it from the parents' view in an almost egocentric way, if you will, managing to capture a universal feeling that most people wouldn't even admit to having. (I remember some people who didn't get it saying "What's the big deal? She'll be home in the afternoon, won't she?")
Out of all the 5,000 trillion pop lyrics done to date, very few would qualify as 'original', but this one comes close (related, of course, to The Beatles' She's Leaving Home). Well done, Björn.
It’s a nice song, and very unusual - possibly unique - in ABBA’s oeuvre in that the lyrics are considerably better than the melody (IMHO, obviously).
I remember being surprised when one of our members (Shoshin, I think) said it was his favourite ABBA song. That made me listen to the song more closely. I still don’t think the melody is very special, and I don’t like the affected voice Agnetha tries on one verse, but there’s no doubt that the lyrics are very touching. One of Bjorn’s best, I think.
...I remember being surprised when one of our members (Shoshin, I think) said it was his favourite ABBA song...
Thanks for remembering, and apologies for not getting round yet to explaining why DYMK is my least favourite
STMF is my overall favourite ABBA song when we do the 'top 100' type threads, for the reasons that you mention. I would tend to give marks for both music and lyrics, which pretty much rules out most of its competition. By and large Bjorn's lyrics let the side down to such an extent that no melody is exquisite enough to overtake STMF on balance.
A few weeks ago there was a thread discussing Benny's comment along the lines of 'there were only twelve or fifteen good ABBA songs'. I do know what he means, from a compositional point of view at least. As a songwriter, Benny is never going to be particularly proud of, say, Super Trouper, or On and On and On, or even Waterloo, because they rest on very familiar chord progressions. Even The Name Of The Game, which in its entirety is subtle and sophisticated, is mainly made up of elements borrowed from (or more charitably, inspired by) other artists. STMF, like SOS, doesn't seem to owe anybody (except for Bach maybe). In particular, the opening line 'Schoolbag in hand', switches from major to minor in the same key, which is quite an unusual way to start a song. I would bet that STMF is one of Benny's twelve or fifteen.
gary, it's interesting that so many people count I Am Just A Girl among the weakest of ABBA songs… I've always thought it was one of the better tracks on the Ring Ring album. And Benny is quite fond of it too. And as for Two For The Price Of One… it indeed sounds a bit inappropriate on The Visitors album but I don't think it is a bad song. Maybe it should have been sung by one of the girls though.
But back to Slipping Through My Fingers… it seems we all agree that the lyrics are extraordinary. I always loved the music (especially the chorus) too. The only thing that I never liked is the way Agnetha sings the final line.
Think her vocals are different at the end as the vocals are supposed to sound like the child referred to in the song. Dolly Parton does a more obvious example on ‘Me and Little Andy’. It seems like TFTPOO is not liked by alot of fans. I too feel that it spoils an otherwise fantastic album. Just remember at the time it was been considered for single release. Eek! The Visitors with a good video would have been a better choice than Head over Heels. Both TFTPOO and HOH aimed for humorous lyrics. Probably to lighten the mood of the album. Hey even the Beatles got it wrong with Yellow Submarine. Mind you I do love that daft Muppet song Mah na Mah Nah doo doo doo doo. Makes me smile everytime. Probably a good song to end team / board meetings with.