This is my translation of an article that I received thanks to Jeffrey de Hart and Frank Axelsson.
What's important to me? To give birth to my child and keep the family together
On one side of her latest LP, Agneta Fältskog can be seen wearing a long dress by the grand piano, on the other side she’s wearing jeans. In both cases, her long hair hangs down, she’s barefoot and placed against a background that hints heavy romance like German medieval castles. On the album cover Agnetha is spelled with an H.
The album’s lyrics and music are similar to the album cover: ”Dröm är dröm och saga...” and “Många gånger än…” in which Agneta hopes to sit in front of the TV with her loved one “having a glass of red wine” many more times.
Now one expects the reality to be like this image of young happiness, a young girl’s charm and melancholy romance. We’ve seen photos of Agneta and her husband Björn Ulvaeus in other magazines. In 1969, the couple’s wedding was “The romance of the year”, in 1971 they moved into their own house, in 1972 they’re expecting “The baby of the year”.
The house is one of many similar terrace houses, built in squares, with a garage and a small area with grass. And the interior doesn’t reveal much about the owners’ personalities. Not that the rooms have a hotel room’s restful objectivity, it rather seems like a borrowed house, a temporary place to live: sofas to sit in, the piano which is Agneta’s work instrument, a bed to sleep in, a table to eat at and Björn’s comics. And the little, steady bulldog.
Agneta herself is wearing black pants, black sweater, red clogs and a small golden crucifix around her neck. And of course the long, blonde curtains of hair. She’s difficult to talk with. I.e. she’s compliant and gives straight answers to all the questions but she seems really uninterested. I loosely try to talk about current issues of interest: equality, a woman’s role, the environment, painless childbirth and so on, but have to give up after hearing Agneta’s argument:
-You see, I rarely feel like familiarizing myself with the debates.
Isn’t there anything you want to change? Anything you think is wrong?
-Yes, that issue about people working and working and never getting enough for it. “It has to be worth it to work” like Folkpartiet (Swedish political party. Claes’ note) says? Yes, exactly.
Eventually I get her interested in painless childbirth and daycare. Those are subjects that Agneta herself have to deal with soon.
-Important? What’s important to me? It’s probably to give birth to my child. And after that, to continue working and keeping my family together.
It’s probably with Agneta as it is about Svensktoppen (Swedish radio chart. Claes’ note): it should be about the very private.
-Yes, she says. Svensktoppen should probably be about things that we all encounter in daily life. There are so many lonely, unhappy people who need to be comforted. I received so many letters after “Om tårar vore guld” (=”If tears were gold”), mostly it was older wives who wrote: This describes me, this is how it feels.
And if your listeners then read about you, maybe they’ll feel more comforted? The girl who knows a lot about loneliness and being abandoned has now found happiness and fellowship?
-Yes, that’s probably true.
Svensktoppen’s secret, I think, is probably this: a vicarious wording of suffering and happiness. All of us have experienced sorrow, loneliness and sometimes happiness. The Svensktoppen artist sees it as his/her duty in words and tones formulate these emotions for us. But also, the “substitute” can’t cloud the image with too many of his/her own, distinctive, even deviant traits and thoughts. It has to be so vague that the description fits as many as possible. Just like horoscopes.
Agneta is probably the perfect Svensktoppen artist.