How is it possible that I am just now discovering the greatness of ABBA?! I mean yeah, I knew the classics: Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, and The Winner Takes it All, but I never took time to seriously listen to one of their albums all the way through. It’s not like I ever thought I was too cool for disco; I love disco. I just thought “ABBA can wait. I need to focus on *insert diverse list of artists that span different genres and decades* but no, ABBA can no longer wait. I decided to focus on one of their songs from their 8th and FINAL studio album, The Visitors. This was the first album I heard from ABBA all the way through, and I immediately fell in love with the first song on the record, The Visitors.
The song begins with a galactic synth and keyboard combo; Anni-Fred takes the lead vocal in the song, joining the synth and the keyboard, adding anticipation while stretching her voice on ominous lyrics. Percussion is added, quickly moving the song along till it has a sort of quiet explosion at the chorus. I straight up feel like I can picture a U.F.O landing on earth to this song, and as the aliens exit their ship, they blast this song and break out into an intergalactic disco party. Alas, I thought this was just a fun song playing with space themes, but it’s actually a protest song against the communist regime in Russia. Check out the lyrics below.
I hear the doorbell ring and suddenly the panic takes me
The sound so ominously tearing through the silence
I cannot move, I'm standing
Numb and frozen
Among the things I love so dearly
The books, the paintings and the furniture
Now I hear them moving
Muffled noises coming through the door
I feel I'm
Voices growing louder, irritation building
And I'm close to fainting
They must know by now I'm in here trembling
In a terror evergrowing
My whole world is falling, going crazy
There is no escaping now, I'm
The song is meant to show the experience that protestors faced in the Soviet Union. The Soviet police at this time acted similarly to the German gestapo during WW2; officers would show up at your door, ready to take belongings and anyone that questioned or protested actions of the Soviet Union. The Visitors was actually banned in the Soviet Union when it initially came out due to its lyrics and a message that was released from half of ABBA, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, that aired a couple of months prior to the album release. During this message, they spoke against the United States, saying it supported countries such as Russia, El Salvador, and Chile that were ran by dictatorships and communist regimes.
I almost feel like I can’t jam to this song in the same way after I discovered the meaning of the lyrics (key word: almost). I will still jam to this song, annoyingly talking about the historical origins of this song to anyone I listen to it with. Thank you ABBA for this track!