Frida attended the Polar Music Prize 2008 at Konserthuset in Stockholm today. This year's winners were Pink Floyd and
opera singer Renée Fleming. Some more pictures available in the Frida photo album on the right of this page.
British music journalist Neil McCormick writes in his column that he hates ABBA. Read it here. I think he wasn't prepared for the huge reaction from fans worldwide, read more here. Tim Rice, who was the lyricist for B&B's musical "Chess" has added his thoughts:
I read your amusing and well-written piece about Abba today and
can understand your frustration about their continuing presence in your
life, but cannot remotely sympathise with it.
Obviously I have to declare an interest but I feel most strongly
that their music (if not their English lyrics) is way up there with the
best. The very best. They are certainly much closer to Lennon-McCartney
than they are to Stock-Aitken-Waterman. In 1974, almost the only way a
non-British or American act, in particular one from Sweden, could hope
to make any impact outside their own territory was through Eurovision,
not a route that encourages subtlety. Having made it internationally,
their work developed remarkably - most of the songs you have a go at
are from their very early days.
But leaving Abba aside, and here is my obvious bias, have you
heard Chess, the musical I wrote with them in 1984? You may think my
words for the project or the project itself dire but I would be amazed
if you could say that the music is without merit. Some (I believe
virtually all) of the tunes (and there is a huge variety) and
orchestrations are quite outstanding - sophisticated while retaining
the very elusive quality of memorable melody. Cock an ear to Pity The
Child, Anthem or Endgame. Or even the instrumental opening to One Night
In Bangkok. Then there is their Swedish language opera Kristina från
Duvemåla which is a magnificent achievement, far outstripping attempts
by other pop writers to move into classical fields. I don't think that
Status Quo, SAW or even Paul McCartney could do what Benny Andersson
has done in both musical theatre and opera. He also has a very
successful folk-influenced orchestra.
Abba was brilliant (I accept you don't accept that) but just as
Waterloo and Honey Honey were stepping stones to The Winner Takes It
All and The Visitors, the group was a stepping stone to other fields.
I fear you may get a lot of stick for your article which will
delight your editor. Much of it will be pretty inane but I hope my
respectful comments give you cause and pause to re-think
Andersson-Ulvaeus if not Abba.