The original Scandi noir

From 1980’s Super Trouper, by which time ABBA were getting into the bleak stuff, comes this magnificently pessimistic new year song. Oddly enough, although there’s plenty of writing out there about all the dark stuff that found its way into Abba songs, this particular track always seems to get overlooked. Sod “Auld Lang Syne”, these people know that birth is a curse and existence is a prison, and every new year is just the prelude to another twelve months of disappointment and misery.

Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool…

And then there’s the desperate emptiness of the chorus, an ode not to optimism but to denial as a coping mechanism…

May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die

This is why ABBA were effing brilliant. I mean, I fully expect the “reunion” songs to be a you-can’t-go-back disaster of Carry On Columbus proportions, and I have no interest in going to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!, though I did quite like the first film, but sometimes they just totally got it…

Link: “Happy New Year” by ABBA

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