ABBA: the Swedish group returns after 40 years of absence

the essential ABBA makes its big comeback on Friday with a new album “Voyage”, after forty years of silence from Swedish disco-pop legends, who are putting the finishing touches to a concert for next year. digital avatars in a room under construction in London.

With its slew of hits having crossed all modes against all odds, will the quartet find the heights of its youth? Since their de facto separation 1982, a year after their last album “The Visitors” – Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid, acronym ABBA – had not released new music and put their famous kitsch costumes in the locker room.

new tracks

The announcement at the beginning of September of their reformation, during an XXL ceremony shot in several capitals, had gone around the world, after years of speculation.

Composed of ten tracks, “Voyage” is the unforeseen fruit of a project on which ABBA has been working for years: a concert of “revolutionary” digital avatars, supposed to relegate to the shelf of junk the holograms that have flourished in recent years in the world of music.

Certain points remain mysterious but one thing is clear: it is the ABBA of today that we will hear singing and it is they who will have commanded the movements of the “ABBAtars”, but the latter will represent them with their physical appearance. .. 1979.

It was by preparing this project in partnership with a special effects company of the father of Star Wars George Lucas – often delayed by technical difficulties, then by the Covid – that the idea was born to remake music together. As early as 2018, ABBA had confirmed the rumors of its return to the studio and it was known that the recording of at least two new songs was kept safe from prying ears.

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“At first it was only two songs, and then we thought.” Maybe we could do a few more (…) and then I asked: “What if we do a full album ? “, explained Benny Andersson, 74 years, during the album’s announcement.

He and Björn Ulvaeus, 76 years, are promoting it in recent weeks, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad having chosen to spare themselves this ordeal to respectively 71 and 75 spring.

“We have nothing to prove

Three of the ten songs on the album, available since midnight local time in all countries of the world, had already been released: first “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down “. Then a modernized version of “Just A Notion”, recorded in 1978 but never published so far.

“Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia”, “The Winner Takes It All”, “Money Money Money”: won’t the new delivery suffer from the comparison with the golden age?

“We don’t have to prove anything – what if people think we were better before?” Benny Andersson kicked in an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. “If it hadn’t been good enough, we wouldn’t have done it.”

For Jean-Marie Potiez, one of the best international experts in the group, “the voices of Agnetha and Anni-Frid have lost their treble, which is normal given their age, but have gained in depth and sensitivity” .

“When they sing together, the two of them, like on + Don’t Shut Me Down +, it’s ABBA sound”.

Despite the years and two divorces – Björn with Agnetha and Benny with Anni-Frid were married for several years – the four had remained good friends.

But “Voyage”, the group’s ninth studio album, will indeed be the last, confirmed the two “B’s” in an interview with the Guardian at the end of October.

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