Meaning of “Voulez-Vous” by ABBA
“Voulez-Vous” is French and it translates into English as “Do You Want?”. So the title of this song is actually a question. And the setting is some sort of social gathering akin to a drinking bar. The singers, ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, play the role of a woman who has locked eyes with a man from across the room. Thus begins a mostly-unspoken dialogue between the two of them where the man is more or less tasked with mustering up the wherewithal to approach the woman.
Apparently this is a scenario that both of them have been in before, as the singers make comments as “here we go again”, “you know the rules” and seemingly refer to themselves as well as the male as “masters of the scene”.
So the prevailing issue or inquiry throughout the song is if this guy actually wants the lady. She is there, open to his flirtations, and now it is up to him to make the move or lose the chance altogether. And if he does, what apparently will come about is an interaction between the two where there is “nothing promised, no regrets”.
Facts about “Voulez-Vous”
- “Amerika” was the initial title of this song. However, after it was recorded, it was changed to “Voulez-Vous”.
- “Voulez-Vous” was not only written by ABBA’s primary songwriters (Benny Bjorn) but was also produced by the duo.
- The English meaning of this track’s title is “Do You Want?”
- This hit single came out in July 1979. It first appeared as one of the singles from ABBA’s sixth studio album of the same name (Voulez-Vous). The classics “Chiquitita“, “Angeleyes” and “I Have a Dream” were also released as singles from this album.
- The song also features on a number of the band’s albums, including the iconic ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits (which came out in 1992).
- The track was recorded in Miami in February 1979. This gave it the distinction of being ABBA’s first single not to have been recorded in their home country, Sweden.
- The cast of the hit 2017 musical film Mamma Mia! recorded a version of this track for the film.
How did “Voulez-Vous” perform on the charts globally?
In 1979, this classic had an outstanding performance on the charts of countries like Belgium (#1), UK (#3), The Netherlands (#3), and Switzerland (#9). Its massive success on the charts makes it one of ABBA’s most commercially successful singles.
Are there any cover versions of “Voulez-Vous”?
Yes, there are. Numerous covers of this classic have been recorded and released by a wide range of artists. They include:
- Big Bang (1989)
- Erasure (in 1992)
- Nils Landgren (in 2004)
- Blue System (in 2006)
Did this ABBA classic win a Grammy?
No. As a matter of fact, despite ABBA’s exceptional success all over the world, none of their songs was ever honored with a Grammy Award.