By Chuck Klosterman
Originally gathered in Eating the Dinosaur and now on hand either as a stand-alone essay and within the booklet assortment Chuck Klosterman on Pop, this essay is set ABBA.
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Extra resources for ABBA 1, World 0. An Essay from Eating the Dinosaur
3 It’s difficult to say anything new or insightful about ABBA, mostly because they’ve already absorbed every possible criticism and accolade that a musical act can entertain. They first became famous after winning the televised Eurovision Song Contest, which is sort of an Old World precursor to American Idol; it took them three tries, but they finally won in ’74. Across Europe, that TV appearance raised their profile but immediately shackled them with a credibility deficit that was solely a product of the medium (thirty years later, Adam Lambert would relate).
The hooks are mammoth and the lyrics are unspecific. The songs are made for dancing in a very big room. Now, these traits can be found elsewhere (they’re just as present in ABBA replicants like Ace of Base, albeit recorded less artfully due to advances in technology). A. and London. They had an intense Tin Pan Alley professionalism (if Björn and Benny felt like writing an uptempo T. Rex song, they’d just sit down and knock off “Watch Out” in three hours), but they were also laissez-faire Scandinavian hippies who didn’t have to worry about crime or sexual mores or health care.
And London. They had an intense Tin Pan Alley professionalism (if Björn and Benny felt like writing an uptempo T. Rex song, they’d just sit down and knock off “Watch Out” in three hours), but they were also laissez-faire Scandinavian hippies who didn’t have to worry about crime or sexual mores or health care. 3 ABBA wanted to reach audiences in America, but they lacked a framework for what that entailed. Their best option was to make one up. They tried to create a simulacrum for how the American pop ethos appeared to objective Swedish outsiders.