After Voulez-Vous the single Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A man after midnight) was released. It had an even louder beat. It stood out, it was new. Now, many years after, it just stands out how timeless this song is. And that counts for the other songs as well. In the beginning years of ABBA they were a typical example of the Middle of the road - stream. Not the society criticism of the sixties, but you know, just good music. L’art pour l’art. In the course of the seventies the optimism faded and togetherness in our society changed into the justifying of assertiveness. Music and dance became the escape from this world. Remarkably the personal lives of the ABBA-members seemed to mirror the trend. Read the lyrics through their repertoire. And at the end of the ABBA-epoque some lyrics even refered to the cold war.
Through all the changing times their secret was they felt the spirit of the times and processed it into their work. The secret behind the still ongoing popularity nowadays is the opposite: the timelessness of the music. I think it’s timeless because there is so much in it, not only the elements of the time spirit then, but also their personal inputs. That remains. What sounded new then, is of course not new anymore. The enormous beat of Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! doesn’t draw our attention anymore, but what remains is the craftsmanship of incomparable music.
This is the last piece in a mini-series about competitive challenges. Of course there is more to tell about ABBA. The next article will appear on february 1st, 2015.
© 2014 Reinhard Beskers