Sunday, March 27, 2011
ABBA is the world's only supergroup.
They are the greatest pop band to ever form, then break up, then enjoy unexpected late-career success connected to a Meryl Streep film. They are Sweden's greatest export. The world was a darker place before they arrived from Heaven.
The name ABBA comes from an abbreviation of the name of the rarest and most valuable metal, Abbatanium. It is so rare that only two people in the world have jewelry made from it. Who those people are is a secret, but pay attention to Henry Kissinger's pinkie the next time you see him in a delicatessen.
There are four members of ABBA, although they each have enough cool for two people. So it would be scientifically accurate to say ABBA has eight members, on a cool-o-meter scale.
The eight members of ABBA are:
Also known as “the blonde one”. She is called that because she is the blonde one.
Her hair is blonde, presumably everywhere, although I have certainly met fair-hued ladies who have more of a tawny brown tone to their action hair. People are really fascinated with the idea of action hair matching the hair on the head, and I guess it is disorienting when it really, really doesn't match. A girl with jet black hair who has a soft blonde tuft in her underpanties is wrong somehow.
Despite my advanced age, I am still too young to know the glory days of pubic hair. It seems like everyone these days is trimming or shaving, and generally practicing grooming and good hygiene. It's a real shame. Unruly pubic hair reminds me of European girls who smoke thin cigarettes while they're naked, and yell at you when you apologize after climaxing. I think of hazy, backlit, black and white photos of a girl with bangs and dark bags under her eyes. She's hungover from too much wine, but is still going to the farmer's market, because she wants fresh leeks in her eggs. She's a busy girl, and she ain't got no time to mess with shaving down there.
Those were the days, my friends. We've let soft-core porn and sorority girls with fake tans lead us down a sad, curl-free path.
Look into the eyes of the perfect soldier. This is Bjorn.
They say that one in one-hundred humans are born without remorse, or human empathy. These people shine on battlefields; the hesitation and guilt that plague other soldiers does not exist in them. Bjorn is an example of this type of natural born hunter.
Placed in a Stockholm military school while still a child, Bjorn quickly rose to the dominate his classmates, commanding a respect normally reserved for silverback gorillas. Through sheer force of testosterone-fueled power, he became the youngest cadet to ever win the Steel Panther, the most prestigious student olympian award in Northern Europe. His skills on the pummel horse were matched only by his skills in the boxing ring, the pole vault, the cross-country skiing routes, and the firing range. Known for a combination of deadly accuracy and pure physical power, at age thirteen Bjorn was taken into secret training by the Swedish government. This program, called Operation Thor-storm, was designed to create the perfect Swedish military operative; a soldier who could kill with his bare hands, deliver a baby in a hurricane, and topple third world governments, all before Hot Cocoa hour (the traditional Swedish mid-morning naptime).
Bjorn's actions on behalf of the Swedish Secret Service are confidential, but it is known that he was present at most key battles of the conflict in Korea, and he was spotted in Cuba shortly before the Bay of Pigs. Released from service after a decade of covert operations, Bjorn began a second life; crafting the beautiful harmonies and song stylings of supergroup ABBA.
And so it was that Bjorn mastered two fields, as one of the deadliest assassins ever to live, and as part part of humanity's greatest pop quartet. A secret Nobel Prize was awarded to him in 1995; it is unknown for which field the honor was given.
I was born in 1976, which was apparently a pretty crappy time in this country. There was a gas shortage (I think?), everyone was all sassed up about Richard Nixon going crazy or something, and there were lots of tight clothes and synthetic fibers.
I remember absolutely nothing about the seventies. Does anyone remember anything from ages Birth to Four? I know that STAR WARS came out when I was a year old, and it was a big deal. It had Mr. Spock and a magic laser gun, and it soothed the wounds of a nation still stinging from bad stuff that happened in Indochina. There was NATIONAL LAMPOON, which was way funnier than anything before or since, but by the time I was old enough to read it, it was a shadow of itself. I can't personally recall anything about the seventies. My brain was still soft, I suppose.
The most significant early memory I can muster is going to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK at the theater in my hometown. My oldest brother took me; he would have been sixteen or so. The STAR WARS films dominate much of my earliest memories, in a way that is almost depressing. This is the sad story of most of my male peers.
I clearly recall the early scenes of that movie, set on a stark blue and white planet of ice and snow. There was a tactile darkness to the tunnels and spaceship interiors, adding a texture to the film that made it as real as the theater around me. It was hypnotic, and I remember details from that movie vividly, much more so than unimportant stuff like kindergarten, which is just kind of a stupid blur.
Sometimes I wonder if the extended adolescence I call a life isn't rooted in being so completely enthralled with a ridiculous fantasy world at age four. It's like my brain has never allowed me to fully step back into a world of root canals and debt and girlfriends who dump you in horrible ways. I've never really put much stock in the supernatural side of the Abrahamic religions I was raised in, but when Yoda says "Luminous beings are we...", it affects me deeply. I do not like this about myself.
Anyway, Benny was a famous musician in the seventies and he seemed to be having a good time.
Anni-Frid was also known as Frida, which is also the name of a character in PEANUTS who was obsessed with her hair. That was pretty much her entire personality.
The great thing about ABBA is the complete lack of irony. I don't know if anyone could have predicted, back when ol' St. Augustine was making stuff up, that there would be a time when everything was viewed through a cock-eyed lens of snickering and snide self-importance. A time when people know more about SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT than the Song of Solomon, and not because they actually love Burt Reynolds. Hell, I'm as guilty as anyone. I like plastic dinosaur toys, but only when they're terrible. Really beautifully crafted and scientifically accurate dinosaurs hold no interest for me. I like the garbage and the kitsch. I am not without sin.
But ABBA had sincerity in spades, and sometimes it makes me cry to listen to them. They are like an old gospel group; when they sing they mean it. They were corny, wore silly disco togs, and seemed to be genuinely loving every second of every bellowed harmony. Sincerity goes a long way, and they were up to their Swedish eyeballs in it. Abba is awesome.