Growing up in Miami to immigrant parents one would think that the mornings, evenings and weekends were filled with the likes of Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, big horns and bongo beats; however, my mother was always the exception. The likes of the Beatles, Neil Diamond and the effervescent Abba filled the airwaves with their memorable hooks and melodies. Abba was always a favorite of mine. I remember a long, long time ago when I was in the fourth grade the A*Teens released their debut album, The Abba Generation. The A*Teens brought Abba’s music to a new generation and the songs were perfect pop confections that littered life with legitimate ear glitter. Growing up as a passenger in my mother’s Buick LaSabre, the likes of Abba blaring from the speakers made after school rides home magical. The songs were big, beautiful, immediately addicting. A gay boy’s dream.
Considering the upcoming Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again film and my undying love for Abba, I’ve been re-emerging myself in Abba’s discography and all I have to say is that Abba Gold doesn’t even do their career justice. There is so much material that was never released as proper singles, and we’re just going to focus on a few of those moments.
If It Wasn’t for the Nights: who knew divorce could sound so fun? Written by Björn Ulvaeus, the song described his state of mind after his divorce. Hidden in the layers of bright strings, bass, and harmonies were lyrics drenched in deep despair. “Even I could see the light, if it wasn’t for the nights.” It was to be the lead single of the album, however, Chiquitita won the battle and If It Wasn’t for the Nights was never released as a single.
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight): Did you know that Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) never charted in the United States? Also – it was edited beyond recognition by their American record label? The song was eventually given a second life when Madonna sampled it on her monster hit Hung Up off her last good album, Confessions on a Dancefloor.
Our Last Summer: Super Trouper is an amazing album. The album itself could be the reason why this album deserves to be heralded as an eternal pop masterpiece. Our Last Summer is also housed on the album and was never released as a single. This nostalgic retelling of a love affair that has since ended is a grand and sweeping mid-tempo ballad.
Questions: Did you know that the parent album for the essential Abba confection, If It Wasn’t for the Nights, Voulez-Vous only peaked at number 19 on the US charts? Why does the United States hate good pop music? Why does the UK appreciate good music so much more? Please help me understand!