Abba, “Love Isn’t Easy (But it Sure is Hard Enough)”

About a year ago, I began posting videos from YouTube under the heading Song of The Week, occasionally with commentary, more often without much. Going forward, I’d like to try out a series of these under a new heading, Obscurity Knocks: lesser-known singles and album tracks by well-known artists.

Beginning chronologically naturally means kicking it off with Abba. Although few could deny the fearless foursome’s worth as a singles band, their catalogue contains a lot of hidden gems–not necessarily consistent albums, mind you, but surely enough to produce a compilation at least half as great as Abba Gold (Abba Silver?). Take this single from their first album, Ring Ring, released about a year prior to their international breakthrough “Waterloo”. Although as grating¬†and cheery as a chewing-gum commercial and containing a grammatically clumsy title that will appease the band’s skeptics where their “English as a second language” lyrics are concerned, the song still showcases Benny and Bjorn’s way with a hook. Actually, multiple hooks: the ladies’ commanding bridge to the chorus, the BOOM! right before the title (wonderfully accentuated by the ladies in the video above), xylophone precisely highlighting each note of said title,¬†and the lovely “sweet, sweet, our love is bittersweet” harmonies immediately following it.

It would all teeter towards an excess of dopey aw-gosh bubblegum love song-ness if it weren’t so tightly constructed. In hindsight, knowing that within the next decade each couple in the band would split makes the song a little more perceptive than it initially seems. According to Wikipedia, it didn’t seem to chart anywhere; although not nearly as sophisticated, it’s almost the earlier, happier flipside to “Knowing Me, Knowing You”.