They call it a guilty pleasure for a reason. You may feel guilty when you listen to it, especially if you get caught, but it certainly brings you lots of pleasure. I’m pretty sure I won’t come across a more guilty of a pleasure than today’s album, “The Definitive Collection”, by the Swedish legends, ABBA. The album itself wasn’t released until 2001, but as a greatest hits compilation album, I tried to sequence this at the peak of their run, and with “Dancing Queen” being released in 1976, today is the day. Apparently, they believe in guilty pleasures at Rolling Stone, as this album is rated #303 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Putting this record on this morning was truly pure happiness. Yes, it was Monday… and yes, I had another grinding day of work ahead of me, but once I heard the incredibly catchy harmonies from Agnetha Faitskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, the day just started to sail along. The album contains almost 40 singles, in sequential order. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to prefer their earlier work, when they weren’t trying as hard to make disco-dance songs, and just focused on their infectious melodies. If you have seen the musical “Mamma Mia”, which I will fully cop to, you understand why we all love this music so much. I naturally picked up a half step when one of my favorites came on, but for at least the first 20 songs, I didn’t hear a single song I didn’t love. At the top of the list? The best of their best… “Ring Ring”, “Waterloo”, “SOS”, “Mamma Mia”, “Fernando”, and of course “Dancing Queen”. My all-time favorite ABBA song? It has always been “Take A Chance On Me”, and while that hasn’t changed, I have to admit that today’s listen moved “The Name Of The Game” right up there near the top as well.
As noted above, most of the later dance-era songs aren’t quite as catchy to me, but one song reminded me of one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed. I won’t go too far into the reasons as to why, as it isn’t quite right, but you haven’t really lived until you have seen a grown man wearing a fluorescent-green construction vest, carrying around a full-sized stuffed Bugs Bunny, singing the hell out of “Voulez-Vouz” to a stunned bar full of people. It is a sight I will never forget, and I’m pretty sure Christie, Dan and Lori won’t ever forget it either.
So yes, I love the music of ABBA and absolutely enjoyed this album. And if you are being honest, you will admit you love them too. Oh… and if for some reason you try to tell me you don’t love ABBA… I won’t believe you for a second.