What You Need To Know - November 5, 2021

ABBA's Voyage: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

ABBA's Voyage: What You Need To Know

As reunions go, they don’t come much more unlikely, or as unexpected, as the return of ABBA. When the Swedish hit-makers finally went their separate ways following the release of their 1982 album The Visitors, their breakup was a quiet one that was never officially announced, but as the years went by and slowly turned into decades, it became increasingly obvious that ABBA would never be back.

But here we are. Hell has frozen over, the prayers of ABBA fans have been answered and the reunion they said would absolutely, positively never happen was announced this year, along with their first new album in 40 years: Voyage.

This week their long-awaited comeback album finally makes its arrival in stores, here’s everything you need to know…


A little background…

They said it themselves, many times. In 2000 it was reported that the group had turned down the eye-watering sum of $1 billion to reunite for a series of live shows, following a resurgence in their popularity over the previous decade that had see their greatest hits collection ABBA Gold become one of the best-selling albums of all time. In 2008, Björn Ulvaeus told The Sunday Telegraph that “We will never appear on stage again. There is simply no motivation to re-group.” As recently as 2014, Benny Andersson said in an interview that “No amount of money would change our mind.”

But then, something changed. In 2016 the foursome got together for a one-off live performance and, after realising the musical spark between them was still there, within a little over a year they had very tentatively – and very quietly – begun to work on some new music.

Entering the studio in 2018, what began as a couple of new songs steadily grew into more, and as they did so rumours and whispers began to circulate. Eventually, even the band themselves began to tease the possibility of some new music, and in September this year, ABBA finally unveiled the news that fans had been waiting for.

On September 2 the band released two new songs as a double A-side single – ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ – and announced not only a title and release date for their first album in four decades, but also their plans for a series of spectacular live shows, due to begin in May 2022, which will feature holographic ‘ABBAtars’ performing a string of their biggest hits (and a couple of new ones too).


Who’s producing it?

As with all of their previous albums, Björn & Benny are handling all the songwriting and production on Voyage themselves.


Any special guests?

Nope, it’s just the four members, but under the circumstances, that’s pretty special in itself.


What does it sound like?

It’s like they’ve never been away. There’s a timeless quality to ABBA’s music and it’s not as if one of the biggest-selling bands in history needs to go chasing trends, but still; fans will be reassured to know that’s not the case here.

From the moment on the album’s opener ‘I Still Have Faith in You’ when you hear Agnetha and Anni-Frid’s soaring vocals blend and rise together for the first time, through the melodic disco-pop of ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ and the lush vocals and arrangements on tracks like ‘Just A Notion’, Voyage sounds like everything you could possibly want from a new ABBA album.


Does it deliver?

Let’s be clear about this: ABBA have already achieved every goal a band or artist could hope to aspire to. They have nothing left to prove, to anybody, and anyone that turns down a billion dollars to perform a few live shows clearly does not need your money.

The only real reason left for ABBA to do what they’ve done here, then, is that they felt they still had something to offer. And you’d have to say, on this evidence, they were right.

Voyage will be their final album together, but what a final offering it is. As the dusty old saying goes: ‘Style is temporary; class is permanent.’ ABBA sound as great as they always did on Voyage, and whether the primary motivation here was to prove to themselves that they could still do it or as a special parting gift for their legion of fans, Voyage delivers on both counts.

Voyage is available in hmv stores from Friday November 5 – you can also find it here in our online store.

Voyage ABBA

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