Music Video Relapse: "The Last Video" (2004) by ABBA

Posted by Adam Fairholm on April 1, 2014 in Music Video Relapse

Staff Post

As we've covered on the blog before, ABBA has an interesting history with music videos, using the form back in the late 1970s to spread their music to overseas markets. The videos, while pretty primitive, are well-done for their time, and they are almost all on their ABBA Vevo account, so we have relatively high quality versions of them.

But this music video relapse isn't about a specific ABBA music video. No, this is about something much more terrifying - a video recently released on the ABBA Vevo channel called "The Last Video." 

This video was made in 2004 for the 30 anniversary of Eurovision Song Contest, which ABBA won in 1974. It is a short skit centering around a record executive hearing pitches for new acts in his office. One of these acts is an older man who has four terrifying, possibly sentient ABBA puppets.

The first thing to know about this video is that these puppets were made by the Jim Henson Company, and they are impressive puppets, they just seem to have a dream-haunting quality to them. When they aren't singing they are sort of just standing there, smiling. If you aren't creeped out, I don't know what to tell you.

The skit itself centers around these puppets being brought into a record company office in 1974 to audition for a record executive. They impress him but they are too short to be a real act, although they just played several future chart-topping songs in his office and they are puppets. On the way out the real ABBA comes in and that's where we end it - apparently they impress the record executive with the same songs.

Where do these puppets go after being rejected? Obviously they have been bred specifically for this purpose. Is he going to repurpose them as house cleaners? Drown them in the river?

Unfortunately, as far as humor goes this is pretty painful, with each non-puppet character turning "hamming it up" to 11 and "gettin' silly," making Mr Bean looks like Louie CK next to this. The receptionist gets extra points for not embarrassing herself.

The striking thing about this video is how unnecessary it is. It feels like ABBA are determined to do everything they can think of since breaking up except play music together. 30th anniversary or competition we won? Better get some scary-ass puppets in here. People love puppets.  

In the end, the question is, would you rather the world not have a video of tiny ABBA nightmare puppets? I thought so.

Adam Fairholm is the co-founder and lead developer of IMVDb. You can find him on twitter at @adamfairholm.

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