Swedish pop sensation ABBA made a comeback on Friday with their new album “Voyage”, nearly 40 years after their split, with a digital avatar concert finally slated for London.
Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid – forming the acronym ABBA – haven’t released any new music since their split in 1982, a year after their last album “The Visitors”.
“Voyage” aired Thursday at midnight in various time zones, to the delight of longtime fans around the world.
“It doesn’t look old-fashioned, it doesn’t look like 40 years ago,” ABBA fan Emilie De Laere said at a listening party in Stockholm for the long-awaited release of the Swedish group.
After years of speculation and several dropped hints, the band finally announced the reunion and the new album in September, and released the singles “I still have trust in you” and “Don’t shutdown me down”.
The 10-track “Voyage” isn’t all the band will be releasing.
They will also unveil digital avatars – dubbed “ABBAtars” – at a concert in London in May, looking like themselves in 1979.
The holograms are the product of a multi-year project, designed in partnership with a special effects company of Star Wars creator George Lucas.
Delayed several times by technical difficulties, then by the Covid-19 pandemic, they will finally be unveiled in May.
The group first imagined the idea of avatars, then the music followed suit.
In 2018, ABBA confirmed rumors of their return to the studio and that at least two new songs were being recorded.
But great efforts have been made to keep the music a secret.
“At first there were only two songs, then we said, ‘Well maybe we should do a few more’, what do you girls say and they said ‘Yeah’,” explained Benny Andersson, 74, at the album announcement.
“Then I asked them ‘why don’t we do a full album?’ “, he added.
He and Bjorn Ulvaeus, 76, have been promoting the album in recent weeks, with Agnetha Faltskog, 71, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 75, choosing to spare themselves from busy promotional programs.
All promotion was halted for 24 hours this week after two people died at a tribute concert in northern Stockholm on Tuesday night.
In addition to the two songs released in September, a third track from the album was released in October, a modernized version of “Just A Notion”, originally recorded in 1978 but never released before.
Newly released songs can’t escape hits like “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia”, “The Winner Takes It All” and “Money, Money, Money”, but the band members are not afraid to disappoint. Fans.
“We don’t have to prove anything, what if people think we were better before? Andersson told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.
For Swedish fan Peter Palmquist at least, the new album struck just the right note between the old and the new.
“It’s true to the sound of ABBA but it’s not nostalgic, staying where they are but for the people they have become today,” he said.
According to Jean-Marie Potiez, one of the group’s best-known international experts, age has given some singers a new edge.
“The voices of Agnetha and Anni-Frid have lost their highs, which is normal considering their age, but they have gained depth and sensitivity.
“When the two of them sing together, like on ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, that’s ABBA’s sound.”
Despite two divorces – Bjorn and Agnetha and Benny and Anni-Frid had both been married for several years – the four have remained good friends.
But “Voyage”, the group’s ninth studio album, will indeed be their last, confirmed the group’s two B’s in an interview with The Guardian at the end of October.
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