Mamma Mia (Here We Go Again) aka Mamma Mia 2, has just hit the cinemas and it feels like the world has gone ABBA mad. Now I call myself quite the ABBA fan and you’d think all this attention on a band who are in my top 5 would make me annoyed, but, I love it.
ABBA have been seen as a “guilty pleasure” in the world of music for a long time, being born from Eurovision, and known for their outlandish costumes. But to me they’re more than just a band DJs play at weddings to get the grannys up, they have such a unique catalogue of music. To me they are the inventors of Happy Sad in the pop world. Mamma Mia, one of their most famous songs ever, to the plain ear feels like a happy, disco, upbeat, anthem. However delve deeper and its about heartbreak, building yourself back up and the ongoing questions one asks themselves in nostalgia...AND THERE’S SO MANY SONGS LIKE THIS BY ABBA.
I thought as my gift to the new found army of ABBA fans I would go through some of my favorite lyrics that have blessed our ears and now Spotify. (and in my case, cassette, vinyls and CDs...did I mention I bloody love ABBA?).
So let us dive in,
“When the summer's over and the dark clouds hide the sun
Neither you nor I'm to blame when all is said and done” - When All Is Said and Done, a beautiful song about aging and learning that in the moment things seem huge but when you look back everything is simple. A great song for learning to forgive and forget and also just bringing us back down to earth when we’ve spent too long in the fast lane. “There's no hurry anymore when all is said and done”.
“Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won't feel blue
Like I always do
'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you” - Super Trouper is about how lonely musicians get on the road. They express that “All I do is eat and sleep and sing, Wishing every show was the last show”. It’s bittersweet, they know that the fans are their friends and ask “how can anyone be so lonely” but all they want is to see that special someone. ABBA performed for YEARS, decades even and everyone saw them as happy go lucky, but they’re humans and get drained from performing all the time. However sad the lyrics are Super Trouper is still a BOP tho.
Alright it’s time. Lets talk The Winner Takes It All. Remember in the first Mamma Mia when Meryl Streep sang this with all her heart and soul to an awkward Pierce Brosman AND THEN climbed the steepest hill ever to get to a church FOR A WEDDING THAT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN?! Well honestly ABBA’S lyrics in this song are even more heartbreaking than seeing Meryl try keep the scarf out of her face in that scene. The Winner Takes It All is about a relationship where both people are so hurt and done, truly at the end of their tether. starting out with,
“I don't wanna talk
About things we've gone through
Though it's hurting me
Now it's history”
There’s lots of metaphors in this song of games. Rolling the dice, dealing cards, and playing god. They never blame each other, which is such a sad undertone and the only time they don’t talk in metaphors is the heart shattering line “But tell me, does she kiss like I used to kiss you?”. They even sympathise at the end and apologise, ABBA ALWAYS being the bigger people and bringing the anthems with them.
Now this next one comes from my favourite ABBA record, which I got on vinyl from my local Sue Ryder FOR 2 POUNDS. It’s Slipping Through My Fingers from The Visitors. This whole album is incredible, the instruments used are so poetic and compliment how much depth are in ABBA songs. Slipping Through My Fingers is love song from a mother who is watching her child grow up too quickly. It’s a reminder that parents are humans too and get sad, feel guilt and are sometimes afraid to be affectionate.
“Barely awake I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone, there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny”
It’s such a raw happy/sad song, she’s so nostalgic but there’s that fear of not really knowing or connecting with your child which i’m sure so many mums and parents in general can relate to. This used to be one of my go-to sad songs whenever I was homesick at University. “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture and save it from the funny tricks of time” a wonderful song teaching us to truly cherish every moment with your loved ones.
My last ABBA song that I’m going to cry over is Thank You For The Music. (Oh and every line from Me and I because the lyrics are very underrated and is all about being at war with yourself for being insane.) For anyone that used to read NME and they had the back page which was a really basic interview about like “what was the first cd you ever bought” and the “celebrity” would say how they remember buy some Oasis cd from Woolworths etc well anyway it always ended on the question “what song would you have at your funeral” AND THIS would be my funeral song. In Thank You For The Music she describes herself as a bit basic…”I'm nothing special, in fact I'm a bit of a bore, If I tell a joke, you've probably heard it before.” but then she goes on to say how music just fills her with such joy that she doesn’t even care. She sings about how instinctively she connected with it and the positives it’s brought to her life. It’s such an innocently optimistic song about being grateful for the little things.
“Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me”
I hope y’all have enjoyed my ABBA fan club, I’m hopefully going to see the new Mamma Mia with my mother and grandmother very soon. I’m sure I’ll write a whole thing on Cher after seeing it because whoever put Streep and Cher in the same film deserves all the attention.
In the words of our fave Swedish bois and gyals... “So long, see you honey,
You can't buy me with your money”
(remember if you have any music you want to send, a gig coming up or just general music chitchat you can get in touch via email@example.com or message me on Instagram @charlotte_s0metimes)