365 Days, 365 Files: ABBA – When All Is Said and Done

I’ve pretty much said what I have to say about ABBA.

Even though I openly list them in my RYM vinyl collection, even though I list them in my CD collection as well, even though I think the London studio cast recording of Chess needs desperately to be remastered, I still refuse to acknowledge ABBA’s formative influence on my music fandom.

(It was ABBA, not Duran Duran, who were the first artists I saw on music video.)

Still, The Visitors is an album quite incongruous with the kitsch of ABBA’s heyday, and it’s a remarkable document of the band’s demise.

"When All Is Said and Done" has a weariness not even the sweet harmonies of Anni-Frid Lynstad and Agnetha Faltskog could sugar coat. The sunniness of "Dancing Queen" and "Take a Chance on Me" would be far behind the quartet by the time Anni-Frid sang, "In our lives we have walked some strange and lonely treks/Slightly worn but dignified and not too old for sex."

I was in the fourth grade when that single was released, and I didn’t really like singing along to that line.

While the darkness of the song would not put it in the karaoke canon of ABBA’s more popular singles, it is still an enduring and emotionally bare piece of music.

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