I came across with a great performance “I Should Have Followed You Home”, a duet sung by Swedish former ABBA member Agnetha Fältskog and British singer-songwriter Gary Barlow and produced by Jörgen Elofsson.
“I Should Have Followed You Home” is a song about friends reuniting.
Barlow persuaded Fältskog to come back on stage in 2013 and this was an important event in the pop music world. For the past 25 years Fältskog got tired on being under the spotlight and she wanted to live an ordinary life, somewhere away from the noisy public life.
Wanting to get back from her exile, Fältskog accepted the project proposal to release a new album “A”. She committed to taking up the project and went back to singing lessons, to get her voice back on track.
The project was a challenge, but not a difficult job for someone like her, who started her career at 15 as both songwriter and singer. Mastering the performance of catchy ballads, Fältskog enjoyed the project and both public and critics noticed the CD release immediately.
While Fältskog felt at home in studio she was frightened on stage and this is, perhaps, the reason of why such a brightest and loved but reluctant pop icon, become the most private singer.
Everyone is familiar with ABBA story. It took a while to ABBA to be fully accepted by the pop music critics and perhaps the first step was made when they won the Eurovision contest with Waterloo, in 1974 and afterwards when they released their first major hit, “Knowing me, knowing you” in 1976.
Fältskog stopped song writing during the ABBA’s years. Perhaps she passed the job to the ABBA boys. In an interview she admitted that her song writing did not reach the quality level of the two male ABBA members.
Fältskog understood that, performing even pop music, one has to act and therefore perform with the heart, so that emotions go straight to the heart of the audience. If the emotion is not in, the performance is just a dry moment and does not touch people.
There is a cost when conveying emotions through music and Fältskog paid the price. She said that “it affects you when you get too much” of the public attention and fan obsessions, which were especially visible while touring Australia in 1977.
A musical performance is just a dry art attempt if the performer does not convey any emotions. The art of connecting to the audience comes from the performer’s ability to lead the song story straight to the audience hearts, to enable people to understand and feel the song story. Emotions empower a song and fill it with energy, which helps audience get the song message.
In a BBC interview Gary Barlow acknowledges Fältskog’s voice role in ABBA group:
“It is really all about the lead vocal. You can put great drums, guitars, whatever, but if that lead vocal isn’t amazing, it just does not connect with people. That sound I heard all my life, we heard it on the radio for all our lives… the sound of three or four generations really. That’s how important her voice was to those records…”
He also said “it sounds effortless when you listen to a piece of ABBA’s music, but actually is very complex what’s going on in there. As a singer I particularly always avoid ABBA’s songs because they are actually so hard to sing.”
I enjoyed discovering the song “I Should Have Followed You Home”. Both performers manage to reunite old and new good music, as Aflie Boe says:
“There shouldn’t be a distinction between opera and musicals, (…), only between good music and bad music” (Classicfm)