26th September 2004, 12:37 AM
Letter to Straits Times about ABBA published!
Feeling very excited and I just want to share this news with somebody. This was written in response to an article featured in the Sunday Plus section of Sunday Times dating 19 September. My letter is published in 25 September Friday Straits Times Life section page 7. Do take a look if you can.
The original content is kept, with some changes to language and sentence structure. When I flipped to that page today, my heart kept beating very quickly and I went back to read it after finishing reading the rest of the paper.
My heart continued to beat rapidly for hours after that. I have included the whole article below.
Readers write in about ABBA, chatty taxi drivers, bridal-salon owner Slyvia Kho and the youthful looking
ABBA had angst and an agenda
I refer to the article 'I'm an Abba-holic' by Wong Kim Hoh (Lifestyle, September 19).
I am also an ABBA fan and I found the article an entertaining read. However I don’t agree with some of the points raised.
Mr Wong says that ABBA's music lack depth, has repetitive lyrics and that the phrase 'ah-ha' is used in several songs.
It needs to be pointed out that these are only a few songs in ABBA's nine years of output.
It is today's Europop and Techno music that truly lack depth and are repetitive.
The 'ah-ha' used fit very well into ABBA's songs unlike the 'Yeah' and 'Baby' that pepper some songs to make the singer sound more R&B.
The writer also says that ABBA's songs have no angst, no gravitas and no social and political agenda.
It appears to be little known that ABBA created songs with serious themes in the later part of their career after 1980.
From the 1980 Super Trouper album, the song 'The Winner Takes It All' describes the divorce between Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus. From the 1981 'The Visitors' album, the song 'When All Is Said And Done' talks about Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson going separate ways.
'The Visitors' and 'Soldiers' from the same album talked about dissidents awaiting capture and soldiers fighting wars unwillingly, both songs being Cold War-related.
The lyrics from these two albums have well-written and meaningful themes.
One cannot deny the fact that ABBA were the first to make what were then called 'promo clips', long before Madonna and Michael Jackson did so in the 1980s.
The clips were made to promote their music without them travelling frequently to countries like Australia and New Zealand, and they made a total of 30 clips in nine years.
The director of most of them, Lasse Hallstrom, went on to become an acclaimed director of movies such as The Cider House Rules and Chocolat.
OH CHENG YU
<picture of ABBA>
TO ABBA’S DEFENCE: Songs by the Swede foursome dwelt on war and broken relationships.
26th September 2004, 01:01 AM
Oh, so you were the writer of that letter. I read it and found the insights on the how and why the songs were written particularly interesting. I still remember buying Abba cassettes when I was still in school....sigh...memories, memories.
26th September 2004, 09:48 AM
I have found the forum of the official ABBA site at www.abbasite.com very useful in finding out information about them. I learnt a lot from the members located worldwide who contribute actively to the forum.
There is an online petition to get ABBA inducted into the Hall Of Fame at http://www.petitiononline.com/abbabba/petition.html
26th September 2004, 10:34 PM
As a part of my humanities exam, I did music analysis.
Although I'm not really into the 60s music before, my exam opened up my eyes as I was forced to analyse a piece of music by the Beatles.
To what most people music from the 60s may sound lack of depth, lack of angst and gravity. You can't really blame them. Most of us are born in the 70s and the real history behind those songs (some of which revolved around social issues, wars, society, etc) are lost. The 60s is really an exciting era to be explored which most people are not really interested in.
For most people who don't really listen to songs, they would find oldies meaningless and boring compared to the repetitive, heavy beats of modern pop music.
Personally, 80% of a song's essence is in the lyrics with 20% in the music and composition. Some of those techno are really lame, although they are pretty good if u feel like dancing (and not a good dancer).
26th September 2004, 11:59 PM
27th September 2004, 08:34 AM