Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ethnic music

Mamma Mia! opened in London in 1999, premiering as a musical mixing the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA and borrowing the story from the 1968 film Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell. It has grown in immense popularity, with productions all over the world, including Broadway and Utrecht, the Netherlands.

I've never seen it.

I do have the option to see it now, though, with a Hollywood film adaption of the play, starring the ever graceful Meryl Streep and he-hunk Pierce Brosnan. I doubt I will, however. It's not that I dislike musicals; far from it. Heck, you can throw some tap dancing in there if you like, and I'll watch it. No, after seeing the film promoted heavily on American television news magazine shows, I have decided that Streep's singing is akin to one of MacBeth's witches screeching out a recipe, while Brosnan doesn't so much sing as shout. It would be almost funny if the story wasn't so heavily saccharine.

In any event, just like the birth of the play, the appearance of a feature film has put ABBA back in the spotlight. Nevertheless, hearing 10 second clips of various ABBA songs was driving me insane. I personally consider that the biggest of all cockteases. I hate when radio stations do that for promos, I hate when commercials do that to sell songs, and I hate it when "news" programs do it about ABBA. I do own an ABBA album, Gold, and to relieve myself, I played the disc for the first time this decade. Literally.

I rediscovered what a catchy band they were. Lots of terrible music came from the disco era, but ABBA produced quite a number of memorable, and maybe even pleasing, pop songs from the mid-to-late 70s. Not so much that their music will be a regular staple in my audio diet, but hey, once every 9 or 10 years, why not break out the ABBA?

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