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The Winner Takes It All (Abba) (Sweden)
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One of the best break-up songs ever.

I don't wanna talk
About the things we've gone through
Though it's hurting me
Now it's history
I've played all my cards
And that's what you've done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny

I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I'd be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules

The gods may throw the dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It's simple and it's plain
Why should I complain

But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say
Rules must be obeyed

The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

I don't wanna talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You've come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence
But you see
The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all...

Someone winner takes it all
And one loses has to fall
From a guide - from the side
Makes that feeling - someone here
Takes it all - has to fall
This is magic - someone here

WANNA= /wɒnə/ (informal) Want to.

GO THROUGH= To experience; to endure or suffer.

THOUGH= /ðəʊ/ Even if, although.

IT'S HURTING ME= (emotions) It's distressing me; it's grieving me; it's causing me pain.

PLAY (ONE'S) CARDS= (informal) To use the resources or strategies at one's disposal.

ACE TO PLAY= Play your ace means to do the thing that you know will bring you success. "Ace" /eɪs/ (see picture) is a playing card.

THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL= If everything goes to the winner. A situation or outcome whereby the winner receives all the prizes or rewards; a situation where the one who defeats others takes all the spoils of the conflict (idiom).

LOSER= /lu:zə*/ Person who lost, one that fails to win.

STANDING SMALL= Feeling small, defeated.

BESIDE THE VICTORY= Near the victory or at the side of victory.

DESTINY= /destɪnɪ/ Fate; a predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control. It probably means that the loser is dwarfed by the magnitude of the winner's victory, and that the destiny of the loser is to lose.

BELONGED= To be a part of.

I FIGURED IT MADE SENSE= I imagined or believed that it was coherent or advisable.

FENCE= /fens/ A barrier that serves to enclose an area (see picture).

FOOL= /fu:l/ Informal short for foolish, stupid or silly.

PLAYING BY THE RULES= (figurative) Behave fairly.

THE GODS MAY THROW THE DICE= It means the gods rule by making decision based on tossing dice (see picture). "Throwing the dice" is both something that you do when playing a game, and a metaphor for chance, luck, destiny, and fate. The idea is basically that your fate is determined by forces beyond your control (the gods sometimes play games with our fates).

AS COLD AS ICE= Extremely cold; it's not referring to temperature but the way that the gods are uncaring and uninterested in the lives of mere mortals, playing with their fates.

WAY DOWN= Deep, very low; "someone way down here" means someone feeling something deep inside, very depressed.

HAS TO FALL= (fall-fell-fallen) Has to come down.

IT'S SIMPLE AND IT'S PLAIN= Simple & plain; pure and simple, without any doubt; very easy to understand.

COMPLAIN= /kəmpleɪn/ To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction or resentment.

USED TO= To express habitual or accustomed actions, states, etc., taking place in the past but not continuing into the present.

SOMEWHERE DEEP INSIDE= An unknown place within you.

RULES MUST BE OBEYED= Obey the rules, comply with regulations, do what you're supposed to do. (opposite: break the rules)

THE LIKES OF ME ABIDE= People like me have to accept without opposition or question.

SPECTATOR= /spekteɪtə*/ Somebody watching an event, onlooker.

THE GAME IS ON AGAIN= The game starts again.

LOVER= /lʌvə*/ Sexual partner, the person you love (boyfriend, wife, etc).

COME TO SHAKE MY HAND= Reach to take someone's hands and shake them as a gesture of greeting (see picture).

APOLOGIZE= /əpɒlədʒaɪz/ To say you’re sorry or give excuse.

TENSE= /tens/ In a state of mental or nervous tension.

NO SELF-CONFIDENCE= Lack of self-confidence, insecurity.

Someone who sings about love and loss, and the pain of experience.

ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus wrote this after separating from wife and fellow band member, Agnetha Fältskog. "It's about a divorce where one person doesn't want to separate and clings desperately to the marriage". It put Agnetha in the strange spot of being asked to sing a breakup song written by her ex-husband. Ulvaeus didn't intend it this way. He explained: "I sang a demo of it myself which a lot of people liked and said, you have to sing that. But I saw the sensible thing of course, it had to go to Agnetha. I remember coming to the studio with it and everyone said, Oh this is great, wonderful It was strange hearing her singing it. It was more like an actress doing something when she sang it, but deeply moving. Afterwards there were a few tears as well."

Ulvaeus claimed that 90% of this song is fiction, which is why he didn't feel too bad about having his ex-wife sing it. Said Ulvaeus: "I had this image of a man walking through an empty house with all the furniture removed for the last time as the symbol of divorce and just describing what I see"


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