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ABBA announces new album 40 years after their last release

| Friday, September 17, 2021

Claire Reid | The Observer

ABBA announced on Sept. 2 that they will reunite to release a new album — 40 years after the last one — and host a concert with digital performances in London. Featuring previously unreleased songs recorded in Stockholm, Sweden, “Voyagewill be released on Nov. 5.

The performance, dubbed “ABBA Voyage, was created after months of motion capture by Industrial Light & Magic, a special effects company created by George Lucas. The show, which will feature digital performances, will open on May 27, 2022, at the ABBA Arena in London. They will present a list of 22 songs, including the two released on Sept. 2 and some of the band’s biggest hits.

Also promised is a documentary debut that relates the entire process of the quartet’s resumption, including behind-the-scenes footage of the composition of new hits and the construction of a theater created especially for the artists to “go back in time,” performing with holograms.

ABBA is one of the most successful bands of all time. Formed in 1972, the Swedish group had its career boosted in 1974, with the release of the song “Waterloo.” That same year, they won the Eurovision Song Contest and quickly rose to stardom.

Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad returned to the studio in 2018 and promised two new songs to show the world in December of that same year, an event that did not come to pass then. Now, the guarantee of a new album shocked and pleased fans all over the world.

“Voyage” is the band’s first album since 1981, when “The Visitors” was released (a record which includes the song “Slipping Through My Fingers, one of many tunes featured in the soundtrack for the ABBA jukebox musical, “Mamma Mia).

ABBA announced the album’s release date at a live streaming event, also premiering the songs “I Still Have Faith In You — which is already accompanied by a nostalgic music video — and “Don’t Shut Me Down, with ABBA’s unique and beloved ’70s pop sound imprinted all over it. A Christmas song entitled “Little Things is also confirmed for the future.

Bjorn Ulvaeus said the recording went off without a hitch and that everything fell into place “in a matter of seconds.

The new songs just hit the UK charts, with “Don’t Shut Me Down” at No. 9 and “I Still Have Faith In You” close by at  No. 14. While “Don’t Shut Me Down” features a compelling, imaginative story — like most ABBA songs — “I Still Have Faith In You” symbolically conveys the significance of reuniting the band and the ABBA fandom after so many years. Personally, I found both tracks heartwarming and memorable, as all ABBA songs are. While the melody of “Don’t Shut Me Down” is particularly entrancing, the lyrics of “I Still Have Faith In You” are bittersweet and profound.

It’s easy to assume that original fans would be thrilled with the recent announcement of two new ABBA songs. Most fans rejoiced on social media, posting about their excitement. However, for some older fans, ABBA’s announcement in 2018 that a new song would be on the way seemed too little, too late. This disappointment is understandable, as veterans continued to donate to ABBA emotionally and financially for several decades.

That being said, most fan reactions so far have been positive. People have different opinions about the ABBA-esque quality of these new tracks, but overall ABBA fans are effectively singing “Thank You For The Music” back to the band.

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About Marcelle Couto

Marcelle Couto is a freshman coursing the joint Philosophy/Theology major as well as Music. She is from São Paulo, Brazil, and was born in Rochester MN. Marcelle currently resides in Cavanaugh Hall.

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