I first heard of ABBA when I was a freshman college. My dorm mate was a big fan of them and his love spread to me. Another reason was because a lot of people I stayed connected with, also loved the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert. If you don’t know what the ABBA connection is in that movie, I suggest you find a copy of the film and find out. (Plus you get to see Agent Smith from The Matrix movies, play a big ole’ queen.) Muriel’s Wedding, which features ABBA music, also came out around this time in my life. It was as if there was a cosmic conspiracy to get me to like ABBA.
There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
It definitely took some time for me to like Fernando, but eventually I did. It was so dramatic and pretty. Definitely a song one should/can “act out” to. Maybe it was because it was females singing the song, but I always got the feeling that the song spoke to being in the “now” with someone. And letting the experience of “now” consume you, allowing the “now” to let you do things that you may not ever had done if you weren’t where you were at that moment.
For liberty, Fernando
For freedom we did this. For our freedom we engaged in this. For no other reason but that. To engage in now for the idea of being committed to now. No emotional baggage, or as little as we can muster. For remembering our mission statement that this is about fun, freedom, and connection and nothing else. Whatever else there is, will come when it comes.
Though I never thought that we could lose
There’s no regret
And even though we engaged in now, and it didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean we’ve really lost. It doesn’t mean we have to lose. We had the experience, we lived in the now. We enjoyed each other and the situation. Isn’t that enough?
So to me, the song invokes that feeling of fun and love with no baggage allowed because the relationship is in the now and emotional baggage is in the past, from the past. We can love, long- or short-term, each other without hurting each other. The point is to remember that this is where we are now. And FYI, if you want a future, you must make your effort now or you just might lose out and not get that future, like having a friendship after things are over. And when I say “love” I mean the natural connection between two people that creates feelings of warmth and connection between the two (or three, four, five, for some). To say something like boyfriend/girlfriend love is far too hackneyed for this type of emotional love connection.
According to Wikipedia, the Swedish version of this song is about the narrator trying to console a heartbroken Fernando who just lost his great love. And with a lyric like this:
The sorrow can be hard to bear, but the fact that friends let us down is something we all have to cope with.
I wonder if we got shortchanged with the English-language version.