It happened as soon as I’d started our new car for the first time. I figured it was something left over from the previous owner. “Must have been an ABBA fan,” we chuckled as the first strains of “The Winner Takes It All” wafted unbidden through the speakers that night. It was easy enough to switch to the radio, so we thought nothing of it. When “Take a Chance on Me” popped up without warning the next time we started the car, we wondered if the previous owner had been Swedish, or maybe a distant relative of singer Anni-Frid Synni. By the time “Fernando” came on that third morning, my cheeks were flush from shame: Somehow, the car was accessing the playlists from my phone.
I didn’t admit this revelation to my wife at first. I was always quick to share my rap playlist (Biggie Smalls, Dragon Boy Suede) or collection of Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes, but my ABBA albums were a closely guarded secret. Some men harbor dark secrets or illicit affairs. Me? I hid the fact that I owned both the European and North American releases of the “ABBA Gold” albums. (The European version includes “Waterloo,” if you were wondering.)