126. ABBA – ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’ (1981)

“Half awake and half in dreams
Seeing long forgotten scenes
So the present runs into the past”

Taken from the album The Visitors

Also released on Thank You For The Music and The Complete Studio Recordings

A gentle music-box melody and a ticking clock form the sparse backing track for ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’, the final track on the final ABBA album. It is also the only ABBA song to feature just one vocalist, Frida, making this one of the most minimalist and simply beautiful songs in the group’s entire discography.

The surreal, strange story told in the video tells of the vocalist lying awake in a state of semi-dreaming, seeing visions and possibly nightmares, their past and their future. The lyrics make me think of a life flashing before someone’s eyes, furthering my theory that the angel in this song is the Angel of Death, and that ‘The Day Before You Came’ is a prequel to this story. Consider the songs as part one and part two, with the frustratingly normal day coming to an end just as the narrator falls into a completely different state of mind, a nightmarish trance in which she meets the angel, eventually slipping into death herself. The switch in solo vocalists from Agnetha to Frida is to symbolise the change in mood and scene. That’s what I think anyway.

‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’ was far too weird for single release but remains a firm favourite among fans and critics, and was covered by Madonna for her 2000 album Music, although it didn’t get used. The song, which leaked on Madonna’s 50th birthday, layers the song and gives it a heavier production, and it certainly would have been better than some of the track that ended up on the album (‘Amazing’ and ‘Runaway Lover’, I’m looking at you). But of course the original is the best, you can’t beat that haunting vocal performance, and that ever-ticking clock.

Audio:

Madonna version:

One Response to “126. ABBA – ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’ (1981)”

  1. Rabbitbunny Says:

    Zounds! What a beautiful song! Good Ol’ Madge does a beautiful job on
    this sweet and sad Abba tune. Angel Passing Through My Room is a beautiful artwork because it encapulates what Madonna is all about. Recorded for Music, this beautiful ballad is Maddy’s best unreleased tune because Angel Passing Through My Room is relatable to Madonna’s
    life, existence and Brilliance. The song is also very sad-the wherewithal of her mother’s death, unrequited love, friends scorched by AIDS and an unbearable sadness-but that’s what makes this ballad beautiful. Maybe someday Angel Passing Through My Room will get released in some form or when the rest of her Warner artwork gets remastered. Come on, Warner! Don’t you owe Madonna some kind of explanation or apology for the way it went down for her? You shouldn’t treat Lady Madonna that way
    or like that. Madonna changed music because she made it Dance and Sing again but now she is going it alone. Warner Brothers used to be a record company that took pride in its roster! Now the music business is a complete and unmitigated joke. Now the game is over for the record industry in their business suits who know nothing about music!
    Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone won because she will always be
    an Angel who passes through our rooms every day because of her feisty personality, her knowing smile and the most important aspect she’s known for-her music. Madonna changed the world and she’ll never be forgotten. Game over-Madonna wins.

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