Words: Amy Keresztes

As  a devoted fan of all things Swedish, I’m a real sucker for ABBA. A good ABBA cover, though, is hard to come by (and usually takes the ultra-kitchsy form of the musical “spectacular” Mamma Mia). Thankfully there’s Boy Friend, the musical partnership of Christa Palazzolo and Sarah Brown. Their Tumblr description says it best: “With a creative partnership that combines different stylistic preferences and attitude with a passion for fantasy, narratives and love-sick lyrics, their song-writing is led by strong lead vocal and guitar melodies layered in harmonies, ambiance, and thick atmospheric backdrops.” Tried, and true: their version of the ABBA hit “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” restored my faith in the integrity of the cover project. In their capable hands, this blissfully cheesy pop song has been reincarnated as a strong, gorgeous aural experience.

gimme gimme gimme – ABBA cover by Boy Friend

Boy Friend’s stripped-down, decidedly non-disco take starts eerie, haunting, restrained. The titular refrain sounds more like a mournful plea than a cheeky demand; when Boy Friend sings  “won’t somebody help me chase the shadows away,” we can actually feel the chill of standing alone in the shadows.  The deep drumbeats, hazy twinkling instrumentals, and soaring backing vocals fuse in the dreamiest ways; the result is a properly lovely swoon-pop gem that would knock the strumpor off of Anni-Frid, Björn, Benny, and Agnetha.

It’s amazing what a little change of tempo and removal of excess sound can do: listen to the original. Marvel at the fact that the original and the cover are in fact two entirely different songs.

(That said, fy fan, ABBA is so great. Look at how much fun they’re having.)


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