For me, ABBA was never a guilty pleasure. It was usually a pleasure, period. Most of the group’s hits were great little soap operas sung in Berlitz lesson English to irresistible melodies with unassailable arrangements. It was pure pop for now people in the ’70s.
ABBA was never as big in benighted America as elsewhere, but that began to change with the 1999 Broadway debut of one of the most lucrative musicals ever, Mamma Mia! The plot, loosely strung together through a sequence of ABBA songs, concerns a fatherless 20-year-old girl about to be married. Reading her mother’s diary, Sophie gathers that mom was never certain of who fathered her.