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ABBA’s songs are an escapist treat in melancholy times

THERE is a scene in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” in which Harry (Colin Firth) is snoozing through contract negotiations. They have been going on for 14 hours and, frankly, there’s somewhere else he would rather be. His interlocutors scold him: this deal could make his unspecified business the biggest in Europe! But Harry cares not. After some cheesy lines about the importance of family, he flees the boardroom and within moments is singing with old chums by the azure waters of Greece.

Harry’s getaway is analogous to the experience of watching the “Mamma Mia!” films, the second of which was released last week. For two hours the viewer gets to trade in their own dreary life for melodrama, Hollywood celebrities and ABBA songs. It is pure feel-good entertainment, as soothing as a Swedish massage. The films challenge the mind only to the point of wondering what tune the actors might launch into next. Escapism is the name of the game.

The same is true for listening to ABBA’s music, which, while often dealing with sad…Continue reading

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