“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.