The Day Before You Came

Do talk back
User avatar
chrischrischris
Posts: 839
Joined: 04 Aug 2003, 20:32
Location: Kent

The Day Before You Came

Postby chrischrischris » 27 Jul 2011, 21:00

I've never really given a flying fig about Abba, but I've been listening to TDBYC a lot recently as it's become a riddle for me that I can never quite solve.
This song, ignoring the dodgy grammar and tenses, truly captures both the magic and despair of love. 

The mundanity and blandless of life is expressed so nonchalantly that it almost reads as a chat with a neighbour over the fence: "I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so, The usual place, the usual bunch." 

But the ominous, funereal music, along with the fragile, exhasperated vocals add a sense of menace and impending doom that imply this isn't just about the day before you met a lover.

Beyond 'the day before you came' nothing more is explained as to what happened next. There's an implication that it was something precious and beautiful that changed everything. But the self doubt in Agnetha's performance, coupled with the pathos of the production, screams at you that something darker happened afterwards. 

There's a brief review by the Guardian's Stephen Emms that beautifully captures this song, but cuts short and doesn't quite nail it: http://m.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/sep/30/abba-day-before-you-came?cat=music&type=article

I'd just be interested to read your thoughts. Is it just naiive Anglo/Swedish translation? Is it a love song? For me, it's one of the saddest songs ever written... I just don't know why.
Last edited by chrischrischris on 27 Jul 2011, 21:09, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The Prof
Composing a revolutionary symphony
Posts: 45210
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 18:32
Location: A Metropolis of Discontent

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby The Prof » 27 Jul 2011, 21:02

Mmmmmmm I thought there was going to be a link to a mashup with a Joy Division song :(

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46918
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby Quaco » 27 Jul 2011, 21:08

As has been noted here about The Hollies' "Bus Stop" as well, lyrically it purports to be about something positive but the music suggests something so utterly different that there has to be something the narrator isn't saying. Indeed, it feels most like she is thinking back before he arrived from the position of him having left her, or even having died. I seem to recall a quote about this from Bjorn, who was generally responsible for the group's lyrics, about this juxtaposition. I'll see if I can find it. I'm sure it wasn't an accident. I'm sure it wasn't a love song that was mistakenly set to moody, ominous music. :)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
TG
Posts: 3736
Joined: 30 May 2006, 23:41
Location: Boss Angeles

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby TG » 27 Jul 2011, 21:16

Quaco wrote:As has been noted here about The Hollies' "Bus Stop" as well, lyrically it purports to be about something positive but the music suggests something so utterly different that there has to be something the narrator isn't saying.


One of my favorite songs from that era and has been since that era. I've never had the feeling that there was anything amiss. What do you think it is about the music that suggests the lyrics are a beard? The only thing I can imagine is the bridge -

Every morning I can see her waiting at the stop
Sometimes she's shopped and she would show me what she bought...


- which goes to sevenths and minors, I think, and might sound a bit blue. Otherwise, I'm bewildered.

P.S. - I don't know the Abba tune. Sorry for the derail.
Jeff K wrote:Not at all. I love TG. I might be the only one on BCB who does but I don't care.

User avatar
chrischrischris
Posts: 839
Joined: 04 Aug 2003, 20:32
Location: Kent

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby chrischrischris » 27 Jul 2011, 21:21

Quaco, I agree it is that juxtaposition of the music and lyrics that confuses me. And the, almost, disinterest in the lyrics. And the repeated mention of it raining before they met.

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46918
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby Quaco » 27 Jul 2011, 21:28

TG wrote:
Quaco wrote:As has been noted here about The Hollies' "Bus Stop" as well, lyrically it purports to be about something positive but the music suggests something so utterly different that there has to be something the narrator isn't saying.

One of my favorite songs from that era and has been since that era. I've never had the feeling that there was anything amiss. What do you think it is about the music that suggests the lyrics are a beard? The only thing I can imagine is the bridge -

Every morning I can see her waiting at the stop
Sometimes she's shopped and she would show me what she bought...


- which goes to sevenths and minors, I think, and might sound a bit blue. Otherwise, I'm bewildered.

P.S. - I don't know the Abba tune. Sorry for the derail.

The whole thing is in a minor key, and every time the sun peeks out ("Came the sun the ice was melting..."), it always goes straight back to it. For example, I don't feel the "Led me to a vow" line feels like a great, positive proposal of marriage. It almost sounds a bit sinister. That bit you quote ("Every morning...") is so affecting, so much deeper than the mundanity of the lyrics. The whole thing sounds sad to me, either like she left him thereafter, or he's making the whole thing up.

To me, it doesn't sound minor in the sense of a bluesy rock song like Gouldman's "Heart Full of Soul", but almost like a tragic minor-key ballad.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
TG
Posts: 3736
Joined: 30 May 2006, 23:41
Location: Boss Angeles

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby TG » 27 Jul 2011, 21:36

Quaco wrote:The whole thing is in a minor key, and every time the sun peeks out ("Came the sun the ice was melting..."), it always goes straight back to it. For example, I don't feel the "Led me to a vow" line feels like a great, positive proposal of marriage. It almost sounds a bit sinister. That bit you quote ("Every morning...") is so affecting, so much deeper than the mundanity of the lyrics. The whole thing sounds sad to me, either like she left him thereafter, or he's making the whole thing up.

To me, it doesn't sound minor in the sense of a bluesy rock song like Gouldman's "Heart Full of Soul", but almost like a tragic minor-key ballad.


That is very interesting. I'll have to relisten when I get home and see how it sounds armed with these new ideas about it. I kind of see where you're coming from but wonder if it's intended as a tragic minor key ballad or if it's just a song that happens to be in a minor key because it sounded good when written.
Jeff K wrote:Not at all. I love TG. I might be the only one on BCB who does but I don't care.

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46918
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby Quaco » 27 Jul 2011, 21:41

I do think in this case it probably just sounded good, maybe inspired by "Things We Said Today" or something along those lines, and inadvertently ended up suggesting other, stranger things. I don't picture a young Graham Gouldman working too hard at the subtleties of these things. I think he was probably more concerned with the craft, the music and lyrics all fitting and telling a story, and cranking the stuff out. His later work in 10cc doesn't suggest he would ever think of doing a subtly tragic song like that.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46918
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby Quaco » 27 Jul 2011, 21:51

chrischrischris wrote:Quaco, I agree it is that juxtaposition of the music and lyrics that confuses me. And the, almost, disinterest in the lyrics. And the repeated mention of it raining before they met.

Almost like someone making it up. When one is dreaming, often the details aren't clear. "I was reading something, I ate something ... and then you arrived." So there could be the feeling that the narrator is fantasizing through her drab, dull life about how it would feel to be thinking back about how boring things were before meeting the man of her dreams ... only he never does.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46918
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: The Day Before You Came

Postby Quaco » 27 Jul 2011, 21:59

There's a brief bit regarding the song in this interview. Second clip, at about 1:10...

http://www.torgen-am-morgen.com/2007/10 ... -bjrn.html

Typically, they don't actually say what they meant by the song, but it's interesting anyway.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -