Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why I Hate ABBA (Part 1, I think)

“I can’t do disco, man. I’d rather sell vacuum cleaners. They make better music!”Dr. Johnny Fever, “WKRP In Cincinnati

I don’t hate disco. Far from it, actually.

But I do hate ABBA.

Or, okay. Given that I am a practicing Christian who genuinely does try (and usually succeed) at loving his fellow man, I suppose I shouldn't (and therefore don't) technically hate anything or anyone.

So, okay, I'll amend that thought. When it comes to to put this No. I hate them.

I was out the last night at a gathering and was talking with a couple of very cool pals before I left. We were talking about music and the stuff that did it for us. We mentioned all of our favorites and talked about what it was about music that pressed our buttons. Soulfulness, honesty, talent to be sure, connection with the fans, as well as that indescribable something that sets off tripwires in our brains and draws us forever to certain bands and certain singers. Certainly I've had many of those, one of which I wrote about it depth here a few months ago. It was a cool discussion, one I hope we continue.

But when we got around to discussing stuff we didn't like, I instantly offered up, "My absolute basement is ABBA. Nothing is worse than that for me."

They didn't object, but they were surprised. And one of them asked why. He was just curious.

And I...I had no real definitive answer.

I mean, I talked in broad strokes about how sanitized and phony it sounds to me, even telling him, "I'd rather listen to a truck backing up for three hours." I talked about how soulless it was, how squeaky clean and detached. But I didn't have that absolute locked down Grade A reason for it. Something like "They killed my whole family and left me alive to be haunted by it when I was a child." Or something maybe a little more harsh.

So. Why do I hate ABBA so damn much?


It's easier first to say what the reasons are not.

It’s not the super-heavy production. Hell, tons of legendary artists have had high levels of production gloss placed atop their music. Like, say, The Beatles? Or U2? Pink Floyd? Or Bruce Springsteen ever since he discovered Brendan O’Brien? And the results with all have been pretty amazing. So it’s not that.

It’s not that it's so wrapped up in disco or dance. Hell, I really like good disco. And dancing is good! I mean, no, I can't do it, and I dance like an arthritic goat on ice, but it's still a very good thing. As for disco, sure, there was a lot of slop offered up in disco's mid-70s heyday, but any moreso than all the lousy hair/glam rock of the late 80s? Nope.

And despite all the bad stuff, there were simply rock solid awesome tunes like "Don't Leave Me This Way" and "Turn the Beat Around" and "Jungle Boogie." Not to mention supreme artists like Donna Summer and Chic and, hell, the Bee Gees? No, no. The outright hatred of disco (despite Dr. Fever's noted objections above, which were obviously done for comic effect) were often rooted in homophobia and racism, and the blanket dismissal of it all (again, Johnny Fever made his comments in a sitcom for laughs, and plus he was a whacked out old rocker, so I'll excuse it) was highly unfair. So disco, dance music? No. Not why I can't stand ABBA.

It’s not that it’s pop. Again, weren’t the Beatles pop? Wasn’t Elvis? Isn’t U2? Hell, wasn’t REM and Nirvana before too long? All of them charted, and high. So no, it’s not that ABBA was so very pop.

It's not even that it sounds so...cheesy. I like cheese! (Scott doesn't, but that's just an issue for him to work out in psychotherapy). Musical cheese can be enjoyable and filling, if not exactly healthy. But take Barry Manilow. While my love of him isn't quite as far-reaching as Scott's (he knows Barry will one day come for him), I genuinely appreciate and enjoy Mr. Pincus. He's talented and he sings well and he has a good voice and seems to enjoy himself and seldom take himself too seriously. Cheesy can be good. Yes, it can be bad too (see Diamond, Neil).  But that's not the reason.

It’s not even the ridiculous costumes ABBA wore. Because lots of bands had ridic...



Okay. Maybe the costumes had a little to do with it.


  1. You canhate ABBA but you can like they song too

  2. But Abba wasn't always disco (or I wouldn't be a fan) and their earlier production wasn't so glossy.

  3. You like Lush? that's an Abba cover. Now heres the original with some real attitude and better singers!;)

  4. GO back to were you belong to HELL.

  5. GO back to were you belong to HELL.

    But...but...but I don't wanna go back there! The smoke makes my asthma act up somethin' fierce.

    Oh, you meant DT? Well, that's different. Yeah, that's cool, I'm okay with that plan.

  6. I hate them too. they make me sick.

  7. Boy oh boy it takes a real man to beat up on poor defenseless Abba

  8. Abba is one of the reasons I am the atheist, along with Kenny Rogers and Celine Dion. Abba is in the R&R HoF,but not Steppenwolf? No just God would allow.