– Mark E. Smith

Some greasy, scrawny, Annex-dwelling indie-rock snob labeled Abba “kitsch.” (And this in an article about mistress of feyness Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields!)

I thought back to a TV news report in which half of Abba flew to Toronto to ensure the songs used in our production of Mamma Mia<bang> were entirely unchanged from the originals… since the originals are perfect, which they are. I held that belief in 1992 and by God I hold it now.

“Soaring harmonies” is a cliché, but Abba had them, and they excused many excesses. It was a form of plusing before Pixar ever began, “heaping more and more good ideas on a structure that’s already working.”

But indeed is there another musical group whose backing harmonies excused even greater excesses – for whom backup vocals are what save the day rather than add hours to it? Why, yes, ladies and gentlemen: Bad Religion.

In fact, “Chiquitita” by Abba (for which I somehow envision Charo strumming “Fernando”) and the only BR song the punters know by heart, “American Jesus,” are so structurally similar as to be masculine and feminine alters of each other.

Don’t believe me? Listen to 30 seconds from each and tell me I’m wrong. Do your own research and criticism here.

“Chiquitita Jesus,” →2.7 MB AIFF or →1 MB AAC

However, I deny categorically that the foregoing excerpt constitutes a mash-up.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.07.03 19:58. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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