Okay, here it goes; “Hi, my name is Andrea and I like ABBA”. My Sunday night damn-it’s-work-the-next-day blues were forgotten after watching the film adaptation of the West End’s Mamma Mia! production. I think the film brought on the blues for my poor husband who turned to Devil Driver for consolation in an attempt to deABBAfy his system. The fact that I have been singing Super Trooper since nine o’ clock last night has not helped his cleansing process. The poor man. I will not even venture the suggestion of going to watch the Mamma Mia! stage production – I risk decapitation, which would suck because that would mean no more ABBA karaoke for me. When husband interrupted Merryl Streep’s rendition of Slipping Through My Fingers with, “Are you actually crying?”, I realised that I had overstepped some line. Sheesh! Talk about a hater. Merryl singing to her soon-to-be-married daughter – it was a beautiful moment. He even had the cheek to call it cheesy. How rude! What’s wrong with cheesy anyway? It has its place.
I admire the vocal and songwriting talent of the Swedish quartet but there is something else. ABBA evokes a sense of nostalgia. The band is attached to some of my favourite memories. I remember my dad blasting the vocals of Anni-Frid and Agnetha from the record-player on Saturday mornings. I remember spending hours making up dances with my cousin to Knowing me, Knowing you and Voulez Vous, and then performing the routines for my mom and my aunts. **Cringe**. My mom, a history teacher at the high school I attended, even sang Waterloo at school once – I nearly died. In standard six, it was all about being inconspicuous – about not drawing attention to the fact that I was the daughter of the crazy history teacher … and what does the crazy history teacher go and do? Perform freaking ABBA in front of the entire school. **double cringe**. She was really quite good actually and her performance was a definite a crowd pleaser. As a twenty-six year old woman, I look back on it and love my mom for doing it, but this was not possible as a thirteen year old teenager. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
The fact that Mamma Mia! was one of the top ten highest grossing films of 2008 proves that there are many closet ABBA fans out there. Even, dare I say it, closet metalheads who love ABBA. If you fall into this group, I am here to tell you that there is no need to feel ashamed. You are not alone. There are others, like you, who suffer from the occasional bout of pop-appreciation. Pop-appreciation is sacrilegious for a metal devotee and the inner conflict that plagues an ABBA loving metalhead is no laughing matter. This metal-loving-occasional-pop-appreciator is loathe to succumb to an industry propelled by the mass consumption of easy listening music pumped out by radio stations, which dictate taste and promote the likes of Clitney Spears and Hillary Muff – who possess average vocals, who cannot write a lyric or a chord, and yet easily draw in the platinum album sales with their pouting lips and pronounced cleavage – lame I think. However, as much as it pains me to say it, it cannot be denied that there is some pop talent out there. Michael Jackson, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake sit in between Deathstars, Killswitch Engage and Slipknot on my CD rack. Why must everything be so exclusive? F that S! I say: like ‘cheesy’, pop has its place, so bite me!