I’ve been an unapologetic ABBA fan my entire life. It’s pop on steroids, incorporating strands of disco, glam rock and musical theatre, making Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid the queens and kings of Swedish pop. There is no point dismissing their musical genius for the sake of being cool. Dressing up as Anni-Frid Lyngstad for my eighth-grade school disco remains one of the best nights of my life. And the “Waterloo” dance” I learnt for the law revue is permanently implanted in my kinaesthetic memory.
Deciding on a favourite ABBA song is an endless source of contemplation! In a recent conversation with my sister:
It is. Then my mum joined the conversation. After considering “The Name of The Game,” then “The Winner Takes It All,” we finally settled on “Chiquitita.” A hard-won fight.
There are so many reasons to love ABBA, including:
You instinctively know the rhyme. Every. Bloody. Time. In an uncertain world, there’s nothing like a glib musical reprieve.
They appeal to so many nationalities! Italy has “Mamma Mia!,” Spain has “Chiquitita,” “Fernando” and the entire Gracias Por La Música album. Unfortunately Australia got “Bang-A-Boomerang” but hey, we’ll take what we can get! Global marketing geniuses.
Their album art! Whether it’s their captivating photography, or my personal favourite, the illustrations of Hans Arnold.
One word: emotion. People complain the the latter ABBA albums are too bitter and twisted. And all I can say to that is: if you’re not prepared for pop with real emotion, then resign yourself to a lifetime of Creed and cynical studio-created boy bands. I tend to avoid melodrama in my own life, but I relish in the melancholy of ABBA. Their songs are much like the films of Almodóvar and Douglas Sirk. They all belong in the same category of heightened emotion meets kitsch.
Their interpersonal situation is…complicated. The women are singing songs that were written by their partners, about their own relationships. It’s deep, guys. Hella deep. You don’t understand a song? You will one day. Some songs held an anthology of adult possibility that gained clearer meaning as you grew. Everything from “Name of the Game,” to “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”
Benny’s smile. Cracks me up every time.
Although ABBA’s massive hits eclipse lesser-known songs on their albums, this playlist presents an array of songs that are all potential anthems. Here, we present Your Ultimate ABBA Playlist in chronological order. An ABBA playlist is nothing to mess around with:
Bonus points for counting how many times Agnetha and Anni-Frid wink at the camera during “Take a Chance on Me”: