I let out a heavy, appalled groan over the weekend when I read that ABBA was going to release its first new material in 35 years. I suspect that I was not alone, and that elsewhere in the world husbands who have learned the disturbing news are bracing for the potentially devastating impact of new ABBA songs on their happy households.
It’s fair to ask why, after 35 years of blessed, ABBA-free silence, the four musicians in ABBA would see fit to inflict another bouncy, saccharine song upon the unsuspecting world. Don’t the carefully coiffed Swedes in their curious apparel realize that the world has enough troubles? Don’t they appreciate that only now, years later, are the ears and cerebral cortexes of human beings across the globe recovering from the inhumane punishment of the Mamma Mia! Broadway musical and follow-on film, which itself was one of the most devilish developments in the sad and sordid history of our species?
And that production, at least, was limited to old, familiar ABBA material. After years of hearing ultrapop songs like Dancing Queen and Fernando and Take a Chance on Me, the ABBA deniers have been able to erect mental defenses against those audio onslaughts and go to their own mental happy place to hear the strains of The Who’s Baba O’Riley or Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love instead.
But, alas, there won’t be any prepared mental defenses against new ABBA material. We’ll be walking down the street, passing a Starbucks or bakery, and the next thing we know we’ll be exposed unexpectedly to the new material and the shrill tones will become embedded in our brains where they will lurk forever.
The only good news is that ABBA has apparently recorded only two new songs, so the damage will be limited.