ABBA – SOS. How can I even try to go on?
Friday afternoon I get home from work early, pay the baby sitter and start making pancake batter for the evening meal for my two daughters. They come into the kitchen and ask for some music to dance to. Usually it’s “ABBA, but something we haven’t heard before”. Tonight it was SOS and this prompted a flurry into their bedrooms to get changed into their ballet dresses and pumps.
Then it’s back into the kitchen for some full-on prances , arm waving, and studiously copying the dance moves on the screen. Tonight we tried SOS. They bravely danced around for a bit before asking for Supertrooper, the one in the film Mamma Mia”. That satisfied them. Give them time, and they will get around to this one as well, I’m sure. I’m pleased they like ABBA – great music and a gateway drug into so much more.
It’s a bouncy song with a terribly sad message in the lyrics. A bit like Leonard Cohen’s Diamonds in the Mine. Jumping around to Agnetha singing about a relationship gone loveless. Mind you, Supertrooper – about the travails of life on the road touring, is hardly a barrel of laughs.
How do you carry on through the daily circle of life, sleep eat, work, childcare, food shopping, cooking, cleaning? Moments like this, at the end of the day, on my own, doing something completely for myself, no matter how much of a chore it seems at times to keep up yet another daily ritual, are cherishable, if nothing else for the chance to immerse myself in music and the free association that comes from that.
Benny’s piano playing is really good. Bjorn’s guitar playing isn’t bad either. But it’s about halfway through, when there is a lovely piano ripple up the keys, that the song really catches fire for me. I like the way the piano riff starts and stops the song as well, book ending it, and at the same time letting the song flow endlessly, just like Finnegan’s Wake, though yes with yes more music and yes fewer words.
Agnetha sounds so forelorn. Even in the rousing chorus, there is a bittersweet melancholy in her voice, a bit of manic desperation, echoed by the piano runs, Sometimes the calls for help can be hidden in plain sight. In the rush of life, how to hear them?