Has it changed over the years? Do you favour them even more today. Or less? How often do you want to listen to them?
As I've stated before on this forum, the main reason why I love ABBA is the singing of Agnetha and Frida, separately, and especially together. If I'm being honest, I prefer more Beatles songs to ABBA's, but I find the girls' voices so special, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed them just as much singing some Beatles songs - or anyone else's for that matter. But somehow - and I'm glad about this - my attitude to pop/rock music has changed over the years, and I'm far less into 'my favourites' and more able than before to appreciate music from whoever. I can accept, without fuss, that other artists appeal to me more in this or that area of music - and are (problematical word, admittedly) simply 'better' in those areas.
So how do you feel about ABBA nowadays, and in relation to other artists perhaps?
My attitude? I still love the group and most of the music as much as I ever did. More, even. In some ways, I think their music is yet to be fully appreciated. Yes, really.
I listen to a song or three most weeks. I think Benny's 'Piano' album reignited my love for those melodies. Stripped bare, it gave new insight into how beautiful they are. They stand alone as exquisite pieces of music without guitar, drums and even vocals.
I have respect for all the members. Let's be honest- they're living legends. Hackneyed expression but true nevertheless.
My appreciation of ABBA over The Beatles is patently obvious. In every way, their songs are better and way more complex. The varied subject matter...and their killer ingredient- Agnetha and Frida's voices! The Beatles were NEVER going to appeal to me when four blokes fronted the group. Their songs sound dated. ABBA's arent- they're timeless. Of course they influenced BennyBjörn but they took the baton, ran with it and WON the race. Of course this is only my subjective opinion. However, I'm fairly certain The Beatles are not as revered as die-hard fans might wish to believe whereas ABBA have that kudos. Play an ABBA song to a young person who has never heard them and they're most likely to be impressed- to become a fan, even. This is NOT the case with The Beatles. That's my impression, anyway. Besides, it's not a competition. It's possible to be fans of both. Basically, ABBA's music sounds better to me - it pleases my ears. It's pleasurable to listen to them. The Beatles don't activate that pleasure centre in my brain. Hope that makes sense? My feeling is that ABBA's legacy and influence will continue to far surpass that of The Beatles - which was firmly rooted in that era.
And having said all that....well, I would do, wouldn't I? I'm biased! To me, my strong conviction is that ABBA were the best pop group that ever were (or are, given that two new songs are imminent).
As regards other singers/groups. Well, I don't really compare them to the same degree. I have many other "favourite" singers and derive as much pleasure from listening to them as I do ABBA. It depends on my mood- one day I may want to listen to 80's then another day rave anthems from the 90's. Then I'll throw it all up in the air and binge on folk or torch songs. I basically like a bit of everything!
Although I prefer more Beatles songs than ABBA's, I don't consider myself biased because, despite both groups' qualities, I actually prefer other artists quite often. It can certainly depend on my mood as to what I appreciate at any given time. And it think a lot of it is down to stylistic preference: I don't look for rocky or bluesy influences in ABBA's pop; and don't expect the wonderful quality of vocals of Agnetha and Frida - and the incredible layering of such vocals - from The Beatles. Even so, The Beatles could produce some beautiful harmonies - they were by no means slouches in that department; and the underlying harmonic structure of many Beatles songs are certainly not less sophisticated than ABBA's. I felt l should point that out.
For me, it's the girls' vocals, above all else, that make ABBA a delight to listen to.
Apart from their music, my admiration of their characters has only increased. In a world consisting of a lot of brazen, seedy, vulgar celebrities, the ABBA members, in striking contrast, are the epitome of class, reticence, modesty, and intelligence; respectful to each other, and genuinely admiring of other musicians, I think.
But, strangely, it's their attitude to their music and 'legacy' which sometimes puzzles me: 'Nothing left' (in the vaults); the tease, spin and delay of the avatars/new songs project. And then there is the wonderful contribution to the ABBA legacy of the Mamma Mia! films Seriously, I've no moral objections to already rich people acquiring even more money - I only wish I had some of it! - but this? But Benny and Bjorn seem fine with it, and I'm sure lots of ABBA fans have enjoyed the films, so maybe it's me.
Ah! Mamma Mia! I'd forgotten about that. The one blip on ABBA's legacy. I truly believe this. To me, it does ABBA's memory no favours. I know people love it but I think it's appalling. It's the one thing I can't get my head around. I don't include Agnetha and Frida in this (although I understand Frida is or was an investor in it?) but I definitely get the impression it is mostly BennyBjörn's "fault". I don't like to think it was about money- I'm sure the intention was to keep the music alive and all that and I know it's been phenomenally successful but it just isn't my cup of tea. I'm talking about the films, not the stage show.
Oh well. We can't all like and agree on everything.
I suspect the level of fame and wealth some of the ABBA members have achieved has inevitably made them detach somewhat from the reality of life for every day people. That's the impression I get anyway. I suppose that's only to be suspected when money isn't a problem. I can't locate the quote but I do recall Frida making a statement at one point that revealed quite clearly how her privileged position as a result of her wealth and success showed her to be. How naive she was concerning the things most normal people can't afford. I wish I could recall the quote! There was no malice of course-she's a lovely woman, but it kind of left me feeling something along the lines of, "We don't/can't all afford to go skiing every year, Frida!" That isn't it- like I say, I've forgotten the gist of it, but it revealed how out of touch some famous/rich people can become, even when they come from humble backgrounds. Still, in all probability it was probably an off the cuff, thoughtless remark and if it was in English. .well, it's not her native tongue so allowances have to be made.
I still think they're all the bees knees! As Richard pointed out, they're the epitome of class, etc.
I will always like ABBA I'm not as obsessed as I was when I was a child, I drove everyone mad because I talked about them all the time, even one of my school reports had "I hope her obsession with abba lessons a bit next year" LOL. I think after they broke up I moved on to other things. I was so happy when Muriel's wedding came out as Abba were in the spotlight again.
I love ABBA as much now as I ever did. I appreciate their music in a much more nuanced way than I did as a teenager. While the instant appeal of a song indicates its strength, it would be fair to say I wasn't objective because, from Summer Night City onwards I bought every new release without having heard it. Some of the songs that were favourites back then have been overtaken by songs that were slowburners. I no longer indulge in the breathless teenybop kind of fandom that demands EVERY song or album is to be adored.
I love a wide range of music but ABBA is the one constant that never disappears from playlists, and the CDs are guaranteed regular plays (sometimes even without skipping anything!). I still don't have any time for musical "sacred cows," and still haven't completely warmed to some of the acts or "legends" that I'm supposed to revere (with the maturity my age should have given me).
I like and admire the four members for what they bring to the table. Each one of them has qualities I really, really admire. Equally, each one of them has qualities that sometimes grate. They're only human, after all. I like that they have retained a level of inaccessibility and mystique - proper dignified star power - even if it sometimes frustrates that they seem to be speaking coyly through a filter. I have ideas of what they might be like as people but realise those notions could be completely blown out of the water if I was ever lucky enough to spend any time with them. I still know who I want to meet most - not that it will ever happen.
I have had to recognise that, alongside the art they have given us, ABBA remains a business. The little "registered trademark" symbol beside their name/logo underlines that quite starkly. The four members are - quite rightly - fiercely protective of that business. It contains so much of what they invested: their creativity, their money, their time, their individuality, their anonymity, their relationships, their personal security. They run that business on their terms. It's not a franchise or co-op run by fans. But that business has given me some of the most life enhancing products. Incredible entertainment through music and videos and books and a movie. The bits of their life stories that they've chosen to share has satisfied some of my prurience.
I still get pleasure from a lot of what they/their business representatives choose to release - picture discs, box sets, books. I'm looking forward to the new songs but, if I'm honest, I'm nervously ready for them to be not all that.
I want to make a remark. During ABBA's days all recordings and mixings were done with Michael B. Tretow. Benny also records and mixes for a couple of years already songs in his MONO studios. It looks like I can hear a tiny tiny different in the sound. POLAR versus MONO. Like in POLAR studio Michael did more overdubs, more filling the songs up untill the boarder.
I am not afraid the songs will disappoint me. I only hope they have as much POLAR/Michael sound as possible.
I don't think I'll be disappointed by the new songs but never say never. Just the sound of Agnetha and Frida singing together is enough to lift my spirits so I think that'll be enough. After this truly horrendous start to 2020 a little light in the darkness is what is needed. ABBA's songs, if released this year, would provide this.
I'm actually rather surprised we haven't heard from Björn and/or Benny? A little video upload? Still, I imagine they're self-isolating, understandably.
Maybe "disappointed" is too strong a word here. I'm managing my expectations, because I think it'd be unfair to expect something with the same level of vocal urgency and production edge as the heyday hits.
I suppose what I'm trying (badly) to say is that I noticed a shift in B&B's writing over the years since ABBA's heyday. It was most obvious to me with Gemini's first album - the approach to lyrics and melodies was less pop than before. Then Josefin Nilsson's album sounded dated - the production felt a few years behind what it should have been in 1993 - especially considering there were standard-setting legends behind the desk. Then the Mamma Mia!-related recordings surfaced and the production throughout felt a bit flimsier than anything ABBA ever released. Let's leave aside the vocalists involved: these were actors delivering lines in an actorly way. But the instrumentation and production sounded less. Finally, we have BAO's Story Of A Heart. It's a lovely song but it carries some of those bigger differences: it's very wordy; the production (pan pipes, anyone?) is melodic but old-fashioned.
I'm not expecting the new ABBA tracks to be in the same lane as Billie Eilish or Ariana Grande. I doubt I'll be disappointed in them: I have absolute faith in B&B's compositional abilities. But I wonder if it's reaching for the stars to expect a new Dancing Queen and The Winner Takes It All?
Oh yes. That's how I feel about Story of a Heart. Catchy, melodic ditty but someone please kill the pan pipes. I've always been allergic to them. There must be a place for them. Aren't they in Benny's 'Skallgång'? I can cope with them in that. They fit right in. Hmmmm. Actually, on second thoughts, I think its a flute- silly me. I actually adore that song (and the album it comes from - November 1989).
I don't expect Agnetha to be hitting the heights of The Winner Takes It All or Frida to achieve the sass of Lovers (Live A Little Longer) but I do think intricate harmonies are possible. I guess what I'm hoping for are meaningful, poignant lyrics. That, and to have them sung with real human emotion. And we already know how more than capable Agnetha and Frida are of that!
Last Edit: Mar 26, 2020 13:35:56 GMT by josef: Simple edit