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Abba - Love em or Hate em, they're back

Monday, July 28, 2008 - 01:28 PM

Abba is on the big screen (Mamma Mia was the #3 movie in the country this past weekend). Abba is on the Billboard charts (the Mamma Mia soundtrack is #3 there too). And Abba is on Broadway (Mamma Mia has been playing to full houses for 7 years). What year is this again???

I have to admit that I was never an Abba fan. (Yeah, I know I’m supposed to be spelling it all caps, but it just looks stupid that way.) But I can certainly understand why so many people were – even if it wasn’t my cup of glögg (I prefer actual glögg, see recipe below), I could see how well-constructed and well-produced their pop confections were.

So tell us why YOU can’t resist Abba, even if you want to. Is it nostalgia? Some crazy Swedish ear-worm thing they do?

Here’s something to get the old brain cells firing, briefly…

Glögg recipe: In a large pot, gently heat 1 bottle of red wine, 1 small bottle of akvavit (use vodka if you can’t find akvavit, but it just won’t be as authentically Swedish), a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and cardamom pods, and the peel of half an orange (all rolled up in cheesecloth so you can remove them later), and a healthy bunch of raisins. Do not let it boil. After 45 minutes, remove the spices in their cheesecloth wrapper. Do not remove the raisins. When you are done drinking your glögg, if you are still able to stand, then eat the raisins. There. Now even I would be able to enjoy Abba.

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Comments [3]

Hurd Hutchins

Schaefer's Soundcheck had a "scientific" analysis of why the songs of ABBA and/or the musical "Mama Mia" were so popular. Simple, repetitious and easy to remember lyrics, good, (simple) beat, choruses like Revival songs, and upbeat, sunny arrangements were some of the reasons. All of which overlooked the main attraction, which was simply that the popular ABBA songs have a good melody--a good, foot tapping, whistleable, lightweight, catchy (to say the least) melody. Thousands of songs w/ similar structure that Schaefer and his guests discussed appear every year and never go anywhere (usually) bec. they do not have this attribute. ABBA songs have lasted over 30 years simply bec. they do--as simpleminded as they may be. This music reminds me not of Def Leopard, as one critic noted, but Felix Mendelssohn, whose music is similarly simple, foot stomping, catchy, melodic, lightweight (and much criticized for this in his day), and immortal, tho this last word might be a little too hefty to apply to an ABBA ditty.
P.S. John Schaefer: your recipe for glogg is crazy bec. w/ 45 mins. of heating even tho under a boil you will evaporate all the alcohol. Better: mix all the ingredients together, then put them in a bottle or a flask w/ a cork or stopper for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature so the alcohol doesn't evaporate--gently shake or stir occasionally. Then when ready to serve, gently heat to a temperature under a boil and serve immediately. Whattaya want to pay for all that AL only to steam it off?

Jul. 29 2008 02:25 AM
L. A. Doyon

I am constantly in danger of falling into pretensious snobbydom, ABBA and other happy, simple, song producers save me from that terrible fate.

You have to be willing, but listening to ABBA can get the stick out of one's butt.

Jul. 28 2008 02:54 PM
John Cage

Frequency is the reason radio works as a medium to popularize music, or sell products or services. Think about it, have you ever disliked a song, and then heard it a few more times and started to like it?
So, when ABBA was able to release Broadway, the radio, in public on people's cell phones, on-hold messages, or in advertisements, not to mention word of mouth and girls running around singing that song. Repetitiveness sells, however, often it what sells it out.

Jul. 28 2008 02:26 PM

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