Today marks the 4-year anniversary of when I moved to Sweden. I came with a few suitcases loaded heavily with winter clothing, and a lot of anxiety (luckily the airline did not charge extra for that). 4 years has flown by, and this week as I have been jamming to Abba with the little guy, I realized that I have not always liked Abba; it kind of snuck up on me.
Growing up in the US, references to Abba in the 90’s were usually as a snarky expression or dig at our parents who grew up during the era when Abba was in it’s it’s prime. “Look at those clothes!” “Nice hair” “Oh My God, it’s disco! hahahaha!” Basically it was too soon for us to appreciate them – instead we appreciated stuff from the 60’s.
In Sweden, everyone has tremendous respect for Abba. Of course they deserve it, they came from little-old-Sweden and made it in the big-bad-world with their music, right? People do not ironically like Abba here. They like them. Love them. There’s a bit of nostalgia attached to them – maybe like baby boomers and the Beach Boys in the USA.
I should point out here that if you think Sweden is this cute little country where music is funny and special, and they rarely make it outside of Europe, think again. Sweden is a major global player in the music world, and some of the most influential musical producers, writers, and artists come from Sweden. If you are interested in reading more about it, go to this article in The Atlantic, but basically musicians range from Abba, Robyn, Roxette, Europe, and many many more. There is also one of the biggest writers in the music world named Max Martin, who has written or produced for everyone from Britney Spears to Katy Perry. Read more about him in this New Yorker article. And above all, I think it is fascinating that Sweden, with it’s 10 million people, is the 3rd largest exporter of music in the world, behind the US and the UK. Interesting, isn’t it?
Anyway, moving on to Abba. Somehow, I think the culture, mindset, and the lifestyle – basically everything it means to be a Swede – all these things I have been learning for the last 4 years – has finally culminated into really liking Abba. It came on suddenly, the other day in the car, on my way home from the supermarket with the little guy. “Money, Money, Money” was on the radio and I was transfixed. I wanted more. MORE! MORE ABBA!!!
So off I went back home, logged into Spotify (also Swedish), and got on an Abba playlist. And we have been going for it and really enjoying it all week. So, I guess Abba really is great after all. Either that, or we can blame it on my mild case of sleep depravation 😉