"I Let the Music Speak"
Song by ABBA
from the album The Visitors
ReleasedNovember 30, 1981 (1981-11-30)
Length5:20
Songwriter(s)Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s)Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus

"I Let the Music Speak" is a song by ABBA, featured as the first track to side two of their 1981 album The Visitors. It is the fifth-longest ABBA track, after "Eagle", "The Day Before You Came", "The Visitors", and "Chiquitita".[1]

Synopsis

Billboard said the song "is the singer's personal acknowledgement of the wondrous transcendental power and sweep of music".[2] Abba - Uncensored on the Record says the song "suggest[s] that after all the good times and bad times, music will never let you down".[3]

Composition

The song opens with a "rolling and wishful piano figure", and includes a "warm synth string ensemble", focusing on the alto and tenor sections. The woodwind filigree is courtesy of flautist Jan Kling. The song also has an acoustic guitar starting in the second verse, which blend with Benny's grand piano, which is the "leading voice in the rousing musings of the chorus". The melodic design is quite angular - following the recitative medium. Frida's main vocals are assisted by Agnetha's "pouncing falsetto grabs" prior to the chorus.[4]

Critical reception

Abba - Uncensored on the Record notes the song has a "theatrical presentation" and doesn't sound like a pop song.[3] The song was listed among 4 others as one of the "best cuts" of the album The Visitors.[5] Managing Information, Volume 7, Issues 6-10 explains "Songs such as I Let the Music Speak', and the album's title-track [The Visitors] were a major break from their traditional style."[6] ABBA:Let the music speak describes the song as a "thespian ear-grabber" and "a rich tapestry of rhythmic contemplation, deftly easing from waltz to march time and back again".[7]

Legacy

Benny and Bjorn explained that "I Let the Music Speak" was an early example of their foray into musicals: "Songs like "Thank You for the Music" or "I Let the Music Speak" had a theatrical quality. You could see "Chess" as a development from what we did with Abba".[8]

I Let The Music Speak has lent its name to various media, including a 12-song album tribute to the songs of Benny and Bjorn by Anne Sofie von Otter,[9] and also a book about ABBA entitled ABBA: Let The Music Speak.[10]

The opening line "I'm hearing images, I'm seeing songs, no poet has ever painted" was included as the quote at the beginning of the chapter entitled "'I let the music speak': cross domain application for a cognitive model of musical learning'".[11]

Notable covers include:

References

  1. ^ Tesch, Christopher Patrick ; editor: Matthew (2008). ABBA : let the music speak : an armchair guide to the musical soundscape of the Swedish supergroup (1st ed.). Fairfield Gardens, Qld.: Christopher J N Patrick. pp. 79–80. ISBN 9780646496764.
  2. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-02-13). "Billboard". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b Tobler, John (2012-01-04). Abba - Uncensored on the Record. ISBN 9781908538239.
  4. ^ Tesch, Christopher Patrick ; editor: Matthew (2008). ABBA : let the music speak : an armchair guide to the musical soundscape of the Swedish supergroup (1st ed.). Fairfield Gardens, Qld.: Christopher J N Patrick. p. 80. ISBN 9780646496764.
  5. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1981-12-12). "Billboard". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Managing Information". 2000. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Tesch, Christopher Patrick ; editor: Matthew (2008). ABBA : let the music speak : an armchair guide to the musical soundscape of the Swedish supergroup (1st ed.). Fairfield Gardens, Qld.: Christopher J N Patrick. p. 79. ISBN 9780646496764.
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100106184654/http://www.nypost.com/p/benny_and_bjorn_talk_influences_TL8HumClHn6kIHSmwTd44O. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (2006-09-30). "Billboard". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Tesch, Christopher Patrick ; editor: Matthew (2008). ABBA : let the music speak : an armchair guide to the musical soundscape of the Swedish supergroup (1st ed.). Fairfield Gardens, Qld.: Christopher J N Patrick. ISBN 9780646496764.
  11. ^ Rebuschat, Patrick; Williams, John (2011-01-01). Statistical Learning and Language Acquisition. ISBN 9781934078242.