“The Day Before You Came” might not be one of Abba’s most famous songs, but it is one of my favourite golden hits. Maybe because I love routine or appreciate details. And I’ve never seen a movie or read a book or came across any kind of art that portrayed routine like this song did.
It’s amazing how this 5 minutes song makes you live the details of how a lonely woman spends her typical day. With everything that happens between leaving the house at 8am and going to bed at quarter after 10 while yawning and hearing the sound of rain. Those who hate routine will find this song slow and absolutely boring. But I think that the beauty of it lies in its slow pace that never changes from the first second of the song to the last one.
The sense of boredom is not only obvious in the typical boring details of the day, like clearing the desk or signing heaps of papers. You don’t have to read between the lines to realize how uninteresting her life was, as every now and then she mentioned it in different ways: Because I always do, I’m certain, I must have, no doubt, the usual, undoubtedly. And how she stated that it’s “a matter of routine” half way through the song.
Mentioning the exact time of some tasks puts you at ease and makes you sure that no surprises or unusual events will suddenly happen and break the schedule. What could possibly happen while having lunch at half past twelve or lighting her seventh cigarette by half past two?! Leaving work at 5 and opening her front door at 8 everyday will not make you doubt that “life was well within it’s usual frame” like she said.
The most interesting part of the song is being specific. She didn’t only pick food on her way back home, she picked Chinese food. She watched Dallas and read a book for Marilyn French. Those titles added some excitement and lessened the dryness of the habitual day.
“And at the time I never even noticed I was blue” she said. This one line makes you realize that everything seemed fine to her back then. She only discovered how lifeless her life was, after she met him. And that realization is what formed a line between The Day Before You Came and what came after.
A beautiful song that will always be one of my favourites.. Abba – The Day Before You Came..