CM – The ABBA way of life: A Journey Back In Time Shows The Band Achieved Awe and Awkwardness-Entertainment News, Firstpost


The release of Voyage, their first album in 40 years, is a reminder to reluctant fans to acknowledge that ABBA has actually done more good than harm to the music world.

In #TheMusicThatMadeUs, lead journalist Lakshmi Govindrajan Javeri documents the impact musicians and their art have on our lives, how they shape the industry by rewriting its rules, and how they make us the people who we become: their greatest legacy

In the entire universe of modern music fans, there can be no more elitist or haughty kind of music lover than those of classic rock.

Since I am one myself, I want you to know that I’m good at my right to call them exactly what this music mocks: self-appointed authorities with blinders. This is especially and deliciously ironic, as rock as a genre has built its whole raison d’etre on questioning what is the norm, or worse, snobbery The 1970s was so rich in experimentation with rock n ‘roll, blues and soul that it spawned generations of subgenres. Even today these hold the test of time and bring the sounds to newer and younger pastures, even if rock is no longer as important as it used to be. Given all of the social and societal boundaries rock has tried to break down, one could imagine that its supporters would be more likely to welcome anyone else doing the same.

The Swedish band’s overwhelming and enduring legacy has its roots in the fact that even at the height of their prime, loving ABBA wasn’t cool. Why? Because the Guardians of Rock and its various offshoots did not think so. It’s another thing that ABBA has steered its identity in a previously unknown direction – a mix of the best in pop music, glam rock sartorial and classic rock attitudes – and rolled it in a way that hadn’t been seen until its inception .

The fact that ABBA just couldn’t care which costumes, which melodies, which music technique or which moves fit the mood perfectly at the time contributed significantly to their popularity.

They are the first group out of one English-speaking country that has consistently featured in the charts of English-speaking countries including the US, UK, Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

40 years have passed since their last album was released and the Swedish band is now back with an updated but nostalgic form of their music. Once again we watch their comeback with cynicism, because this time we have to deal with their new music as well as the New Age, but creepy « Abbatars ». The release of their latest album Voyage will lead to a series of virtual spectacles where realistic VFX versions of the band members who have perfected their every move and sound will mesmerize their fans. These virtual concerts, slated for summer 2022, are a creation by Industrial Light and Magic, founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas.

ABBA has once again found a way to arouse awe and awkwardness alike. While their digital theatrics are in the interests of the younger generation of music lovers, those who have been their most ardent fans are more curious about the new music than the concerts. The most important part of the ABBA audience today will be those who mocked them in their prime and found over time that the band had a lot more substance than was attributed to them.

The reluctant fans, like us are those for whom nostalgia strikes the most. Let’s face it: ABBA was a big part of our childhood, and now, in our 40s and 50s, we realize that this sugary, dazzling quartet that got you dancing even when you didn’t want them had more than looks and feel Synthesizer sound. This is also because we are almost always consumed by their happy hits like « Mamma Mia », « Dancing Queen », « Happy New Year », « Gimme Gimme Gimme » and others.

But the more you think about it Indeed, ABBA’s repertoire has often delved into shades of melancholy far removed from what we commonly find in the blues sound of rock music: the African American voice. Hailing from a nation where it snows for six months and the sun goes away for a few months, ABBA is well positioned to write and score about the severity and depression its roots offer. Since it was mostly two married couples who made up the band, their dynamics and those of their individual marriages also found their way into their art. Look no further than the entire latest album The Visitors and songs like « The Winner Takes it All », « When All is Said and Done », « My Love My Life », « The Way Old Friends » Do ‘,’ The Day Before You Came ‘,’ I Wonder ‘,’ One of Us’, ‘Our Last Summer’.

But – ABBA fueled this up a bit too – we can’t see beyond their bling and movements ( or hear). In the official ABBA biography, Björn Ulvaeus revealed that her clothes were more than just personal preferences; it was tax breaks. The book mentions that ABBA actually got a tax break for donning outrageous outfits. Swedish tax laws allowed the cost of their costumes to be tax deductible, but only if they were wild enough that they couldn’t be worn for everyday use. And history shows how successfully ABBA has used this.

Nevertheless, every glow star has to lose its shine over time. When the touch of their Midas wore off in the early 80s, it found resonance in the US and UK gay community as it represented everything they longed for: unbridled freedom, disdain for social mores and a generous helping of dancing queens! </ Aside from the fans, ABBA has influenced pretty much every subsequent pop band. Her distinctive sound has found fans in Madonna, Bee Gees, Kurt Cobain, The Cardigans and many more. ABBA paved the way for Madonna to fly solo while experimenting with pitch, tone, and presentation. Elvis Costello has previously admitted to having saved the piano riffs of "Waterloo" and "Dancing Queen" for his song "Oliver's Army". Pete Townshend of The Who said in interviews that “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “SOS” are two of the most perfect pop songs ever written and produced. Ray Davies and John Lennon are also ABBA fans.

The ABBA model of musicality has inspired many cover bands like Abbacadabra and Abbaesque, in films like Muriel’s Wedding, Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mamma Mia etc. which includes an ABBA sample, Cher’s cover and many other references to ABBA made by great artists over time.

And over 40 years the world has changed. Just like our ears for music. ABBA’s two new singles served as teasers for Voyage, an exploration, if you will, to help us meet our expectations for a new ABBA with an old soul. Whether or not experimentation works is a different story.

The release of Voyage is a reminder that ABBA did more good than harm in the music world. It wouldn’t make us any smaller to admit that.

Senior journalist Lakshmi Govindrajan Javeri has spent a good portion of two decades recording art, culture and lifestyles.

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November 06, 2021 9:56:38 AM IST


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