ABBA’s new album ‘Voyage’: A journey in growing up
Rachel Hartmann | Wednesday, November 10, 2021
When I heard ABBA was reuniting to create an album, I immediately blasted “Super Trouper” and joyously danced around my room. It has been 40 years since ABBA split up, but the legacy of the Swedish pop powerhouse has been set in stone. From hits like “Dancing Queen” to “Voulez-Vous,” ABBA has centralized their position in music’s hall of fame. Ever since I was a little girl, ABBA has been a constant in my life. From blasting their music during long road trips with my family, obsessing over their music as I grew up, to watching “Mamma Mia!” a hundred times, ABBA’s music has always been an important part of my life.
Their new album “Voyage” is their triumphant return to music and a gift to their fan base. The album consists of 10 songs varying in genre and message, but all consistently very ABBA. From an upbeat jam about changing with time in “Don’t Shut Me Down” to an environmental ballad in “Bumblebee,” ABBA aims to push their usual genre and messages. They even have a Christmas song in “Little Things!”
While some of these songs seem a little cheesy and pop influenced, ABBA’s overall storytelling wins over the audience’s hearts. Now fully grown adults, ABBA laments bad marriages in “I Can Be That Woman” as well as worrying about dropping a child off in “Keep An Eye On Dan.” These songs pull at the heartstrings and reflect the growth of ABBA from their early years. “I feel sick and my hands are shaking, this is how all of our fights have begun,” Agnetha Fältskog sings in “I Can Be That Woman.” ABBA does not shy away from the truths in their lives and they pour out their hearts for their fans.
The songs in the album have no real narrative as the melodies switch from joyful tunes to soulful ballads. Instead of being too confusing, the layout of the album reflects the reality of life. It reflects the constant ups and downs of all our lives which have no rhyme nor reason. The album reflects this cacophony as the bittersweet “I Still Have Faith in You” switches to a Celtic pop song of “When You Danced With Me.” However, within this seeming chaos, the album reflects growing up and nostalgia. All the songs pertain to the reality of aging and the complexities of life.
The last song, “Ode To Freedom,” leaves the listener with a bittersweet feeling, yet hopeful towards the future, “I wish someone would write an Ode to Freedom that we all could sing.” It closes the album with a reminder that even though ABBA may not be around forever, their music will be and the future holds the possibility of another ABBA-esque group to appear.
Listening to “Voyage” by ABBA, I felt like I was on a voyage. I am now almost 20 years old and I am no longer the little girl imagining herself as a 17-year-old dancing queen. ABBA’s album reflects this shift in life as we grow up and the voyage that we all must take as we get older. This album is their “thank you” to the fans that have been with them all this time, and I just want to say “thank you” in return. ABBA has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember and this new album will now be with me as I head into adulthood and the future.
Label: Polar Music
Favorite tracks: “I Can Be That Woman,” “Just A Notion,” “When You Danced with Me,” “Don’t Shut Me Down”
If you like: Donna Summer, Cher, Bee Gees, Electric Music Orchestra
Shamrocks: 4 out of 5