Enchained by your own sorrow

ChiquititaOn 12 January 1980, “Chiquitita” by ABBA  peaked #28.

Brace yourself… it’s ABBA.  Admittedly, “Chiquitita“, which I’ve never heard before.  But, still, it’s ABBA, and we know what that means…

So, hit play on Youtube and wait…

And the first thing we get is a gentle, vaguely Spanish, guitar intro.  And a sweet Swedish voice, lilting quite beautifully over fingers delicately tripping over guitar strings and piano keys, asking a woman to share her sorrow, reassuring her, sharing in her sadness.  Maybe, just maybe, I have been deafened by “Dancing Queen” and all the other rubbish nonsense I’ve heard by ABBA into a misconception that they are loathsome.  I wonder to myself, “How could I have been so wrong?” as I continue to listen…

Until 1:45.

At 1:45 ABBA starts to sound like ABBA again, like a pair self-aggrandizing Scandinavian harpies strutting in perfect 4/4 time to a pompous march fit for any Teutonic oompah band to blast while marching down your street, while really you’re trying to have a tender moment with a loved one.

ABBA, you see, is mercifully the only famous thing to come out of the Eurovision Contest, and this is the classic Eurovision sound; unsubtle, bombastic, feel-good nonsense designed to be as distracting and easy to digest as possible.  This song asserts, with no apparent grounds that you, Chiquitita, will overcome everything bad in your life, because everything is really just wonderful if you put your mind to it.  Sing a new song as the walls come tumbling down (as they always seem to do in pop songs; where do songwriters live that walls fall down more often than they stay put like walls are supposed to?), turn your brain off, and join the harpies marching down the street.  Because, you see, ABBA didn’t really care what it was you were so sad about anyway — what something about love? Who cares?  Tomorrow’s a new tomorrow and there’s a new song (please!  a new song!) and Agnetha and Anni-Frid feel much better now that you’re pretending to be happy.

Well, Agnetha and Anni-Frid can go jump in a lake.  I want to hear what Chiquitita has to say.  I wanted to hear her tell me her sorrows over that limpid guitar.  I wanted someone to listen, actually listen to her problem and tell her that whether things go right or not, that person would be with her.  I wanted ABBA to be sensitive to Chiquitita’s problem, not to only be sensitive to the fact that she has a problem.



One thought on “Enchained by your own sorrow

  1. Pingback: Someone will be waiting down the line – While Reagan Slept

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