• Stepping Stones Kottla

Iconic band ABBA

By Agnes Eriksson.

In 1972 Abba was launched. The members are Agneta Fältskog, the A, Björn Ulvaeus, the B, Benny Andersson, the other B, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, the other A. Abba split in 1982 but they are still relevant up to this day. Abba’s breakthrough came in 1974 when they won the Eurovision song contest with the song Waterloo. The song is about how they were defeated, trying to say no to a romantic relationship. Since then Abba has produced many great hits like Dancing Queen in 1976, Super Tropper in 1980, Fernando in 1976, and many more according to Official Charts. All of these songs hit number one on the UK charts.

Personally, Abba came into my life in 2008 when the movie Mamma Mia premiered. My parents would play the song at home and at only four years old I tried singing along as good as I could. There are videos of me and my siblings performing mamma mia when I was around eight years old. At that time I didn’t know any English so it is very amusing to watch the videos and listen to my singing. When the second Mamma Mia movie came out last year I went to the movies and watched it with a friend.

When I lived in Shanghai, all nationalities felt a sense of community to people from the same countries. As a member of the Swedish community, we praised Ikea, meatballs, h&m, Avici, and Abba as our most valued Swedish things.

My friends and I watched Mamma Mia together and since that day we played Abba songs until I moved back to Stockholm. If I listen to the songs now it will bring back memories from my life in Shanghai. We have many inside jokes including abba songs and therefore abba will always be an important part of my identity.

I consider Abba as one of the most iconic bands of all time because their music has not only made it in Sweden but also into American culture. Merly Streep who stared in Mamma Mia won an Oscar for her performance in 2008 and all music in the movie was written and produced by Abba. Abba’s song Dancing Queen hit number one on the US charts and later went on to be one of the quarter’s absolutely most definitive songs.

Abba can also be listened to and enjoyed by both young and older people because their content is timeless. Their melodies and the lyrics are still relevant up to this day. I often listen to their songs at family gatherings together with my grandparents, cousins, and younger siblings. No matter how old the songs get or what taste in music you have, Abba will always be the kind of band you can listen to and enjoy every day of the week.

If Abba is compared to Billie Eilish the biggest difference must be that their songs have more variety than Billie Eilish. Most of her songs have a theme and are composed similarly. Abba’s songs have variety in range, tempo, and other things like instruments and consonance and dissonance. As an example, I would like to compare Abba’s song “My Love, My Life” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” The first song my love my life has a slow tempo of only 68 beats per minute according to Abba World whilst the second song has 120 beats per minute according to Tunebat. The first song has a long intro using vocals which really sets the mood of the song as downbeat and the second song has a powerful and upbeat intro using a synthesizer. This proves that Abba doesn't have to stick to one style of music and can do all of them successfully, which I would consider the greatest aspect of their legacy and the best part about their music.

The members of abba got married and then divorced during the time of the band. When Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were tying the knot in 1978, Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus were ending their relationship that lasted from 1980 around the same time. During the time of marriage, each couple has children. This is my biggest critic towards the band. Of course, you can’t control your feelings for someone but I still think that I would have more respect and like the band more if they would’ve kept their love life outside of the career. They were very public about their relationships and the struggles they wen’t through. I think a better way for the band to continue working together and produce music would be if they weren’t so transparent with their fans. If they stayed friends and friends only they would not have had to split the band. According to many religions, it is a sin to get a divorce and I would imagine that they lost many fans when they divorced. In my opinion religion does not play a part in relationship but I know that it does matter to many people.

I was not born at the time of their wedding and divorces so I don’t really know how it influenced their fandom and their career. According to Digital Spy, Abba split because of many factors but the main one was the divorce. Their split was to a beginning a temporary thing but then they started working with theater and decided that they liked theater more and didn’t see a point with reuniting. A theory is that they used divorce as an exuse to stop making music together, there might have been a loss in interest and divorce was something acceptable to blame their split on.

The worst part about their split is that it was a blurry line and they were not clear with that their breakup was temporary or permanent. They also confused their fans with their love problems and relationships. A way that they could’ve prevented the unclear split would’ve been if they did not get involved with each other in the band and also been better with their decisions and said that the break was permanent earlier because some fans are still waiting for the big reunion.

Abba has influenced many forms of art after they launched their group, they have had huge influence on movie culture because Abba produced all the music to the Mamma Mia movies and they are very successful productions. 92% of Google users liked Mamma Mia 2 and it has earned a 6.7 on IMDb.

Abba has influenced the culture of the last three centuries. Abba's big break was during the 70s and they became the biggest success of the century, they can be compared to the Beatles during their time. People will argue that Abba is the best pop band ever, but most of them are probably Swedish people. Abba has made major footprints on Swedish culture and has sold 375 million albums which is the most a Swedish band has ever sold. They are the main thing that defines Sweden and has influenced the way swedes live over the years. Abba is also a very equal band. The girls and the boys are just as important members. The band does not feature one gender over the other which also makes it an early feministic band. Their songs often sing about female dominance. One example is “Gimme, gimme, gimme, a man after midnight”. Which is about a girl who wishes for a man.

This explains why Abba is Sweden’s most successful pop group which not only has made it in Sweden but also globally and made it into the hearts of Swedish people. Abba has influenced my life and I feel nostalgic when I listen to some of their songs. Abba’s songs have a lot of variety but their split was unclear and I would have changed it if I could, but this does not change the fact that they are extremely Iconic and are praised to be the heart of Swedish culture.