The most enduring Swedish import since the Saab

By Dave Karger
Updated January 21, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

ABBA revivals have come (Erasure’s 1992 EP Abba-esque) and gone (1994’s Muriel’s Wedding; 1999’s star-studded cover album, ABBA — A Tribute: A 25th Anniversary Celebration). But if the current hysteria in Britain over anything involving the ’70s Swedish hit machine is any indication, 2000 promises to offer the mother of all ABBA resurgences this side of Waterloo. April 4 sees the release of The ABBA Generation, the debut CD from the cover band A*Teens, four Gen-Y Swedes who mimic (from left) Bjorn, Agnetha, Anni-Frid, and Benny’s harmonies on top of Britney-ish synth-pop beats. After Generation topped the charts and went triple platinum in Sweden last year, its first single, ”Mamma Mia,” broke in the U.K. and reached No. 12. Adding to A*Teens’ fuel was the record-breaking response to the London stage musical also called Mamma Mia!, a light romance set entirely to ABBA hits. Since opening last April, Mamma has resulted in endless lines and nightly sellouts. In May 2000, the musical will hit Toronto, after which a run on Broadway is being planned. ”In the past it was [fans] becoming re-energized,” says MCA Records president Jay Boberg, who signed A*Teens unaware of the hit musical. ”Now, 9-, 10-, 12-, and 14-year-olds are discovering it. A great song’s a great song,” he adds, ”whether it’s Elton John, Lennon & McCartney, or ABBA.” The Fab Four and ABBA in the same breath? Mamma mia!