Staring at the ceiling, wishing she was somewhere else instead
Stephin Merritt: I think of it as that small genre of Swedish reggae. Ace Of Base have done reggae, sort of reggae, ABBA has done sort of reggae. I'm sure a-ha have, but I don't remember.
Daniel Handler: I'll ask my wife. She's a big a-ha fan.
ABBA have dabbled in various genres - "Fernando" and "Chiquitita" both have Latin touches, and "Ring Ring" and "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" are tributes to Phil Spector's girl group pop - but perhaps their most unexpected genre choice is reggae. "Tropical Loveland" is a cute trifle - the drums and guitar utilize the standard reggae rhythms, sure, but the song is incredibly white bread. It's too clean and not sweaty enough to be authentic, but that's hardly the point - ABBA are in the pop business. Six years later, they used a vaguely reggae beat for their track "One of Us," which seemed to serve as a prototype for the career of Ace Of Base.
Also, I should point out that when it was performed live, "It's a Crime" had a Motown-esque chorus of backing singers. Swedish reggae, Motown soul, electropop...man, that is so freakin' meta.
ABBA - "One of Us"