May 12

Bjorn Free

FT8 comments • 462 views

I’m going to try and get new Popular entries up too, but there will be a LOT of writing about pop by me this week on the One Week One Band blog, which I’m taking over for a second time – this time to talk about ABBA. Rather than pick songs to write about all by myself, I asked people on Tumblr for suggestions, so I’ve got a very eclectic range of assignments – from “Soldiers” to “Happy Hawaii”. I’m starting later on today – wander over and have a look!


  1. 1
    Chewshabadoo on 28 May 2012 #

    Are you going to tackle the “forgotten” single, Summer Night City?

  2. 2
    swanstep on 28 May 2012 #

    A couple of suggestions from Abba’s more indie-rock side:
    My Love, My Life from Arrival (Kiwi band Bike did a great cover here)
    Disillusion from Ring Ring.

  3. 3
    Tom on 28 May 2012 #

    Disillusion’s on the list already. MLML is a good one. Amazingly nobody mentioned Summer Night City – I’ll try and find room for it.

  4. 4
    swanstep on 29 May 2012 #

    @Tom, Excellent. I’ve really enjoyed your first couple of entries (and I also really enjoyed Marcellos’s piece about the Abba’s Greatest Hits collection recently, esp. his big-upping of ‘So Long’ which I’d never quite given credit to before).

    I assume it’s outside your remit, but I recently came across this performance from Frida in 1967. She’s prodigiously skilled and poised. Looking at that it’s easy to imagine Frida fans from the ’60s (and her teachers perhaps) originally tut-tutting that with Abba she was squandering her talent on pop music for kids, and that she was ‘slumming it’ by signing up with Benny and Bjorn in the 1970s. And one wants to say things like ‘Well-played B&B. What were the odds that Sweden would turn up two world-beating singers and beauties at the same time and that one band would get both of them, let alone be able to bind them tightly enough to stop them flying away to work with other people?’

  5. 5
    swanstep on 29 May 2012 #

    @Tom, in your OWOB entry you credit Eagle to Arrival, but it was on their end-of-’77 entry, Abba:The Album. (I seem to remember this exact mistake coming up before in some Popular comments section, where it was surmised that Arrival’s Tiger was the source of confusion.)

  6. 6
    Tom on 31 May 2012 #

    How weird that I made the mistake twice! It’s obviously lodged in my head. If it was shonky pirate MP3 labelling I’d understand it but no, it’s all CD rips.

  7. 7
    Rory on 31 May 2012 #

    swanstep @4 – oh wow, those high notes at the end! Wonderful stuff.

    Which reminds me of another set of Frida’s high notes at the end: very glad you included “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room”, Tom.

    Your entry on how ABBA were perceived in the 1970s reminded me of a kids’ book I owned back in the day, an Usborne Book of Music or something like that, which gave ABBA as an example of the pinnacle of pop music at that time, appealing to all ages. This would have been circa 1977, when I was listening obsessively to my tape of Arrival and would no doubt have agreed. Wish I still had the book to confirm – I remember it was accompanied by a cartoon illustration of the band in their white spangly outfits.

  8. 8
    swanstep on 5 Jun 2012 #

    @Tom. I enjoyed all of your OWOB entries, esp. perhaps the final entry on The Day Before you Came. Loved the Shangri-Las comparison there (I think the Shangs’ melodramatics were one of Abba’s pole-stars).

    Unrelatedly, I’d like to recommend something to Popular mavens.Talk Less, Say More is a new-to-me band that overall sounds a bit like Fad Gadget and Chris Knox (vocals may require some acclimatization in other words!), and also a bit like Talking Heads, The The, and The Beta Band. Their (net-only) label has made their whole album England Without Rain downloadable free/pay-what-you-like here. The album is 12, roughly 3 minute songs, and it gets poppier as it goes along (w/ Sky Over Everything, Black Eyes, and Double Helixxx being early standouts). Worth a listen.

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