without a song or a dance
what are we
so I say ‘Thank You for the music’
for giving it to me- Abba

The first Abba song I heard was ‘Dancing Queen’ on VH1. It was long ago- back when they played actual music videos. I loved  it! I was already a wretchedly uncool teenager, with my Star Wars fishing hat; white platform shoes; a Dr. Seuss Blue Fish t-shirt (that I purchased from Wal-Mart); and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fascination that I fed by purchasing weekly TV Guides and reading the 2 sentence show synopsis. Adding an Abba obsession only served to reassure my few friends and peers that I would forever be a creature deserving of deep pity and sympathy.

Happily I grew up and remain a fan of all things mentioned above (except white platform shoes- nowadays it’s hot pink or black stilettos) without the goofy attire and TV Guide crutch. So it goes without saying that when I purchased ‘1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die’ by Tom Moon, I was thrilled to find out that Abba’s album Gold  was the first one in the book.

I used to explain my enjoyment of Abba with disclaimers that included my more eclectic tastes in music. Now I just don’t care if people look down on any of my musical preferences.  But it is slightly vindicating to have their (Abba’s) greatest hits album on a rather extensive and definitive list of recordings that you should hear before you die. Zone in on those words. Any of our clocks could stop ticking at any moment. This is one of those recordings that is worth carving out some of our precious time to experience.

Personally I think what captured me was the immediate accessibility of the music. The lyrics, while not particularly profound, are well-composed; the vocals are a notch or two above most pop music; and the sound is very polished and ‘actually moves through time’ (that is the only way I really know how to describe how the sound moves, changes and is in real time).

The music of Abba didn’t and will never change the world, but because they were one of the groups to do pop music best, they have managed to bring a lot of actual happiness and enjoyment to a lot of people. And in world where stress is a daily fiend to be battled, the reprieve provided by Abba is always worth the time you spend listening.

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