Being the textbook sort of musical snob I like to think of myself as, I have a hard time admitting to some of the more decidedly "un-hip" sides of my music palette. At least in public anyway.
Some would call my continuing fondness for overblown, pretentious seventies progressive rock bands like Yes, Marillion, and Peter Gabriel era Genesis a flaw in my taste for example. Hell, for that matter they would probably nail me for the fact that in this past year alone I've written about a disproportionate number of seventies classic rock bands period.
And what about that Springsteen guy, some may find themselves asking. You know, the guy whose continuing "relevance" was a subject of some debate recently right here at Blogcritics Magazine? After all, isn't Springsteen — the guy whose songs champion the values of the working class — a bloated millionaire liberal himself?
Well, why some might find themselves a little ashamed to admit to enjoying artists such as these, I myself choose to wave that fact as a flag of some honor. But for me, there is no guiltier pleasure in all of music than that of the perfectly constructed three minute or so pop song. I here and now confess that I am an absolute sucker for this type of sugary sweet ear candy.
You know the sort of songs I'm talking about. Many of them by one hit wonders such as The Raspberries ("Go All The Way"), and The Outsiders ("Time Won't Let Me") on the rock side, or a guy like Lou Christie ("Lightnin' Strikes," "Rhapsody On The Rain") on the more pop sounding side. Okay, so Lou Christie had more than one hit (actually so did the Raspberries).
Anyway, for me these sort of perfect little pop tunes can represent every bit the sort of audio bliss that something as meticulously constructed and put to tape as say, Born To Run or Pet Sounds does. And over the past thirty years or so, nobody but nobody has made a greater string of these largely unheralded little pop masterpieces than Abba. That's right, I said Abba.
So for this edition of The Rockologist, I am going to remove that particular hat, and replace it with that of the Popologist. Let's talk about Abba for a few minutes shall we?
First of all, what a lot of people don't realize about Abba is that they have more than a few fans amongst the more "respectable" members of the rock community. I remember meeting Nick Lowe for example backstage in the seventies at a concert, where I noticed he was wearing an Abba button. Lowe at the time was one of the most sought after producers in music, in addition to crafting his own little pop gems such as those found on his album Pure Pop For Now People. So when I remarked about his Abba button, Lowe gushed about how he was then producing an album for Elvis Costello and that the sound he was looking for would be to make an "Elvis Costello Abba album." That album tuned out to be Costello's brilliant third album, the pop masterpiece Armed Forces.