My friend Scott has a friend in Africa who can't listen to Abba because he says it's too sad. This is an odd thing to say at first, since the music has so many bells and whistles on it and makes everybody dance and go to crummy musicals.
However, last time I was wiping down the kitchen with 'Waterloo' running through my head noting the line 'I feel like I win when I lose' it lead me on to more serious contemplation. For instance is 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (a Man after Midnight)' any worse than the worst excesses of ACDC? Does it rank alongside 'Giving the Dog a Bone' as a feminist version? But there's more; the greatest tracks: 'The Winner Takes it All' and 'Knowing Me Knowing You' represent the utmost in misery; 'The Name of the Game' gives you another dose. I once met a Swedish woman in a restaurant in Kensington who was friends with Agnetha (or the other one, who cares) and she just shook her head and asked for more wine. There's 'SOS' and worse, 'Money Money Money' and whilst they clearly had a penchant for multiple conjugations of the same term, the rather desperate 'I do I do I do I do I do'. What can you make of that? Meanwhile 'Super Trouper' must surely be a critique on arch-modernist Bucky Fuller, underneath the angst of fame itself. Abba records might reveal that deeper northern European malaise, even though they sound like they don't. This of course, is the charm of the Eurovision Song Contest (you knew that was coming).
Would this analysis work with other fields of endeavour? Might the fortunes of Saab represent the collapse of the military industrial complex? Have Ericsson and Nokia, Swedish and Finnish respectfully, poisoned our minds with chit chat to show us the sheer awfulness of life itself?