Jan 022024
james elkington the winner takes it all

On his new double album Me Neither, Chicago singer-songwriter James Elkington recorded an array of instrumental guitar improvisations, ditching words entirely in favor of 29 evocative soundscapes. 28 of those 29 are original compositions. The final track, however, is not. It’s a cover of ABBA’s classic “The Winner Takes It All”—although, without words, anyone not listening closely might early miss that. In Elkington’s literal hands, it fits right into the John Fahey style of American primitive guitar.

As Pitchfork wrote in their review of the accompanying album, “Sweeping aside the operatic grandeur of the original, Elkington communicates the heartbreak of the lyrics via a single austere guitar line, carefully plucked out and punctuated by breathy pauses. Like so much of Me Neither, it’s over before you expect, a brief but charming moment that vanishes just as you begin to recognize it.”

Listen to Elkington’s guitar instrumental version of “The Winner Takes It All” below.

Check out our list of The 30 Best ABBA Covers Ever.

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