ABBA are often dismissed as nothing more than catchy cotton-candy fluff, but in reality the majority of their songs are actually quite dark and depressing. And nowhere is that more starkly evident than on this, the last song they recorded before their breakup…it makes “The Winner Takes It All” look like “Dancing Queen” by comparison. The lyrics are just the details of a woman’s hum-drum daily life before an undefined event happens (all she ever says is ‘the day before you came’). But the sound of the music is chillingly creepy…this is some of the most haunting, hair-raising Pop music you will ever hear. From the lyrics alone, the optimistic interpretation is that she’s singing about the day a new love came into her life and freed her from all this dreary routine, but that’s definitely not what the music suggests. And because we’re never given any information about what she means by ‘the day before you came’, an infinite number of possibilities, many of them unspeakably horrifying, inevitably flash through our minds. There’s nothing scarier than the unknown, and this song really knows how to harness that. Also, it may just be the fact that this was the band’s very last recording together, but the singer sounds absolutely heartbreaking here. If anyone still tries to dismiss ABBA as a kitschy Bubblegum act, just play them this song…if they’re that ignorant, they probably deserve the nightmares it will give them.
Verdict: The ultimate proof of just how dark and serious this band can really be.