ABBA - “Dancing Queen”

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

O, my dearly beloved comrades, it is TIME for lyrics Appreciation!!

On the urgent need of compassion, of love, of the sweet sixteens in our society when i heard this song, by ABBA, of Dancing Queen, i knew it's music appreciation time again, of us swoon in and out of the things human animals do and sing 'bout.

ABBA - “Dancing Queen” Buy at amazon

Of which the song's lyrics, i present here:

Dancing Queen, by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson of ABBA, 1976.

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen

Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for the place to go
Where they play the right music, getting in the swing
You come in to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy
Night is young and the music's high
With a bit of rock music, everything is fine
You're in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance…

You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen
Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen

You're a teaser, you turn 'em on
Leave them burning and then you're gone
Looking out for another, anyone will do
You're in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance…

You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen
Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen

Folks, hark and look, the Dancing Queen is just seventeen. Young and sweet, ABBA says of humanity, and ABBA tells us, “See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen”.

O, we cannot but observe the language, that transmits to us the important aspects and nuances of our kind. It's a girl, not a boy, and she's dancing. And we are nudged to “watch the scene”, and “dig in”. And the girl is now described by the word “queen”, and this queen is seeking a King, and anyone will do. What is a Queen? A queen is a FEMALE partner of a King. And what's a King? A king is a the opposite sex of queen, and who's the biggest cock in town.

O, i cannot but feel the compassion, of the need of young female human animals, to engage in a ritualistic frenzy, simply because she's come of age, and beloved by all.

ABBA album cover
Buy at amazon

Lyrics Debate

Jim Lawton wrote:

I'm not convinced that [the phrase “dig in”] should not be “digging/diggin' the dancing queen”… [it] makes more sense.

“You come in to look for a king, Anybody could be that guy” could mean “any one of the boys there could turn out to be the king.”

although later we get: “Leave them burning and then you're gone\ Looking out for another, anyone will do”, but there she's looking for dance partners.

Digging sounds more fitting at first. However, listening to the song again, it more sounds like “dig in”, as the singer sung that phrase with two clearly distinct syllables, with the “in”'s tone emphatic.

If you consider digging, then the question is: WHO is doing the digging?

But if we consider “dig in”, it isn't exactly out of place in the lyrics. Consider “dig in” as in “get into it”.

(Apparently, some men confused “dig in” with “plunge in”. For apparent reasons, some men look upon everything as a hole.)

Now, the interesting question here really is the etymology of the slang “dig”, as in “you dig?”, “dig it?”. I wonder, if it have much to do with the act of digging, as in expending effort to excavate. Frankly, i think so. The act of digging is exactly the seeding of the slang. My guess is based on logic & ethology. Basically, think about it, digging is a sweating work. It takes effort. And, you wouldn't dig something if you don't really care about it. Dig?

Now, as to the exact meaning of the “dancing” queen in this lyrics. I have no doubt it is not about some girl looking for sexual partners or engaged in an orgy. However, it does not deny these implications neither.

The word “dance” as a type of dancing done in night clubs as in this song, always are tied to sex. In pop songs, it can simply mean dancing in a night club sans connotation to fcking, but it also often functions as a euphemism for fcking. For instance of the latter, Tina Turner has a song “Private Dancer” that puts doubts to rest. And, most often the exact meaning of “dancing” is left unsaid on purpose. For example, if you or a girl goes to a night club. Sure, you are going to dance. But are you really going to do it? Nobody is going to put a plan on it before hand. Such things you just let it happen, if it happens. It would be crude and cheap, if the song's gonna reveal what the dance of the 17 years-old dancing queen is really about. And the song would immediately lose all appeal if the dancing is made clear to be a pure aerobic exercise.

But finally, night club dancing is indelibly a sexual act. It is nothing but a sexual act. It is the physical manifestation of a sexual ritual, a prequel to copulation among a large percentage of human animals. A warm up to possible sex, so to speak. It is not a wonder, in dance places the sexes are dressed to kill, and the participants all have condoms at hand, with boozes to help their ways. In fact, the defining characteristics of a Saturday Night's Dancing, is not about aerobic exercise, drinking, dancing, nor acquaintanceship, but the getting together of sexes to sniff each other's butts.

So, is the song talking about orgy? about a whore? about sex? Of course not. But it is talking about dancing. Dancing in a frenzy of a nubile girl.

digital piano

Buy best headphone, Sennheiser HD 598