“The Visitors (Crackin’ Up)” by ABBA

“The Visitors” by ABBA is based on a narrative of the sense of dread the singer feels due to being visited by an unidentified group of people. Among hearing the doorbell ring, she is gripped with fear, and amongst her concerns are relatively-unorthodox items such as her “books, paintings and furniture”. However, at this point, she still doesn’t know who it actually is. But she has concluded that it isn’t any of her friends since the visitors are trying to enter the house in a “stupidly impatient” manner, on top of the fact that her buddies apparently stopped coming to see her some time ago. However, in days past, they did come by in order to attend “secret meetings”.

Ultimately she concludes that “the visitors” have a sinister motive. She feels they have come to “take” and “break” her. However, they have not caught her by surprise, as their visitation was expected. But that does not minimize the overall terror that she feels, to the point of “trembling” and being on the verge of “fainting”.

Although the titular “visitors” are not forthrightly identified within the lyrics of the song, who they actually referred to were agents of the Soviet Union. And ABBA’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad is playing the role of a Soviet dissident who once again is gripped with panic upon hearing them knocking at her door. 

In other words, this track is meant to officially serve as a statement of protest against how officials of the Soviet Union treated such people and in a broader sense a criticism of all such oppressive regimes.

Lyrics of "The Visitors"

Listeners may notice that such content is not the usual ABBA fanfare. However, this track was released shortly before the group disbanded, and during that time, they became more political than they had been in days past.

Facts about “The Visitors”

  • “The Visitors (Crackin’ Up)” is the alternative title of this song.
  • Benny Andersson of ABBA and his bandmate Björn Ulvaeus are the sole writers and producers of this track.
  • This track’s recording was done somewhere in October 1981 and it was released in April, the following year. It was one of the 5 singles to be released from the group’s eighth studio album (also titled “The Visitors”). FYI, that album was the last album ABBA released before disbanding.
  • ABBA member, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, sings the lead vocals on this song.
  • “The Visitors” was a great success in Costa Rica, peaking at number 1 in that country. However, on the US Billboard Hot 100, it only managed to reach number 63.

ABBA’s “The Visitors” Album

The Visitors (Crackin ‘Up) is the alternative title of the 1982 hit single, The Visitors, by the Swedish pop group ABBA. Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson of ABBA are the sole writers and producers of the song. After its release, the song was viral in Costa Rica, peaking at number one on their music chart. It also peaked at number 63 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

The Visitors shared the same name with the album in which it was released. On November 30, 1981, ABBA released their eighth studio album, The Visitors, through Atlantic Recording Corporation. The album was recorded at Polar studio, Stockholm, from March 16 to November 14, 1981. Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson were the sole writers and producers of the entire album.

Other members of ABBA have characterized their memories of the album’s recording sessions as frustrating. Their sound engineer Michael Tretow stated that he had to get used to utilizing a new 32-track digital recorder that Polar Music Studios had acquired, which took a lot of time and energy away from him.

The album was very successful after its release, and it has earned multiple gold and platinum certifications in several Asian and European countries. It was number one on the UK, Swedish and Norwegian album charts. It also peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 chart. 

The Fate of Dissidents in the Soviet Union

From 1922 to 1991, the body of the Soviet Union, officially known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, had been established firmly and was involved in decision-making agendum concerning governance in Russia. 

The mission of the Soviet Union was to exterminate the conditions that led to the World War. And in doing so, enable nations and citizens to enjoy good external conditions while building communism and raising the element of socialism.

Despite the advances that the union projected, there were some who did not fully agree with some aspects of its ideology.

The Soviet dissidents from the 1960s began turning their attention to human and civil rights focusing on the ideas of freedom. They argued that restrictions set by the ideology of the Soviet Union denied many the basic universal rights they were entitled to.

The demands of the dissidents were not easily met as they faced stiff opposition. A majority of them were arrested and sentenced to severe and prolonged labor and incarcerations. Some dissidents faced harsher fates by being charged with treason and exiled. Their families were severely tortured and their supposed freedom cut short.

Dissidents suffered for merely voicing out the flaws in the ideology of the Soviet Union.

4 Responses

  1. Alison Venugoban says:

    I’m feeling sheepish at the moment – I have always thought, since hearing the song in the early 1980’s, that it was a reference to a woman waiting apprehensively for her latest menses! Because it’s appearance would mean all the awful pre-menstrual symptoms would abate, and also to prove that she wasn’t pregnant, she wanted them to appear (“I have been waiting for these visitors…”) and yet she dreaded their monthly appearance just because it’s so painful and tiring.
    Oh. So, some sort of repressive regime? I still think monthly menses were worse! Thank heavens for Menopause!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was about aliens from space.

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