Why you should care

Just in case you get bitten by an ABBA, you need to know where to find the antidote.

There used to be a commercial shorthand for all things Scandinavian, and it had to do with clean, simple lines and a certain wholesomeness. Musically, ABBA was the embodiment of the latter — their signature song “Dancing Queen” really was about being young and sweet, only 17 years old and, in all likelihood, female. If you were only a casual cultural observer, anything else you knew about that part of the world probably involved either Ikea or Ingmar Bergman.

Until 1987 hit, and Army of Lovers changed the tune of Swedish pop.

Formed by a former sex worker, Alexander Bard, Army of Lovers (who took their name from a documentary film about a German gay rights activist) was everything Sweden had not heretofore been known for: ribald, campy and uncensored. Their song “Israelism” was a huge hit in Israel while not being super supportive of Israel. Their sexuality indisputably bent around genders. And their biggest hit, “Crucified,” which charted all over the world, got them banned from MTV for a time and was an anthemic club hit strong enough to pull them out of multiple retirements over the years.

They were everything Sweden had not heretofore been known for: ribald, campy and uncensored.

Including? May’s huge Eurovision song contest which, though they lost, was enough to keep them unretired at present. And on July 1, “Crucified 2013,” a remixed/revised version of the original, became the official anthem of Copenhagen Pride 2013.

Oh, did we forget to mention that they are also going to Kazakhstan to record a duet with the daughter of the country’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev?

Well, we can only hope it’s half as good as THIS.

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