Saturday, December 12, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 2. The winner takes it all (ABBA)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #2, we find ABBA with The winner takes it all (#1 in 1980). Partially inspired by the real-life divorce of members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog, this great song presents a first-person account of the inevitable, painful feelings of loss that follow the end of a romance. The lyrics have a no-nonsense tone of dark emotion, which is further enhanced by an almost gothic melody. The recording pushes it into the realm of the truly unforgettable thanks to a heartrending lead vocal from Agnetha and an arrangement that builds from soft piano lines and background vocals to a grand operatic coda. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).