When did the comeback start? When did Australians Bjorn make a comeback in 1988 with the ABBA parody? Or in 1992, when U2 asked Björn and Benny to perform “Dancing Queen” in Stockholm and Oldie’s set “Gold” was released? The devotees received a musical offer in 1999, and were subsequently awarded two films. But they were deprived of the greatest opportunity to catch: to reunite their squad – in person. Even astrological offers were rejected. Abbas’s objections were considered honorable and eager to return: “If you change your mind, I’m first in line” — the line from “Take a Chance on Me” has been the credo of tens of millions of followers around the world since 1982.
Then it happened. Simply this way. After years of whispering about two new songs, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson (without women dads Annie Fred Lingstad and Agentha Waltzkog, who weren’t interested in the media frenzy) announced two new songs, a new album, showcased in a bespoke design. Concert building in London at the beginning of September. And so now “journey” appears. “I Still Believe In You” was the first song to explain it all – a singer biopic that talked about heritage and loneliness, about happy times and the bittersweet. Immortal song of the best quality by Abba.
oppa as usual
“Journey” certainly isn’t a follow-up to the introspective lyrical predecessor The Visitors (1981), but it’s intentionally kind of unheard of, the colorful tutti-frutti pop music the band uses throughout their creative stages. The art of composing the songs that everyone starts singing to is something hardly anyone like the Four Swedes know about. Ten times they prove it here again and totally timeless. Don’t rely anywhere on existing sounds or rhythms. You’re just a dad – as always.
There with folk borrowings – sometimes more Gaelic as in stomps “When You Danced With Me” and sometimes with “Fernando” flutes in “Bumblebee”. “Just a thought” reminiscent of Aba’s drinkable homage in the 1950s “I do Ido Ido Ido I do” and “Why should it be me”. “No Doubt About It” is a fast-forward lyric, and the quartet threw “Ring Ring”, “Waterloo” and “So long” primarily in their early days. And there’s disco oppa again: in “Don’t Shut Me Down,” which includes, among other things, references to the song “Dancing Queen,” and in “Keep Your Eyes on Dan,” which takes the last piano strings straight from Borrow” SOS”.
Melancholy, ecstasy and Christmas carols with cheese
Also to be found here is the sadness shown by Benny Anderson on his 2017 ‘Piano’ score and which he mentioned in an interview with RND four years ago as the basis for all, even the ostensibly happy Abba songs. The slight voices of separated families and weekend children are told, of looking out a lighted window, into an apartment to which one desires and cannot return. But Apa can also do something else: Apa’s rolling “Anthem of Freedom”, accompanied by the Stockholm Concert Philharmonic, performs gleefully in Giuseppe Verdi’s setting. And with the Christmas song “Small Things,” with the Glockenspiel and children’s choir, you push the boundaries to turn into the 1979 “I Have a Dream” anthem you still hold.
The ensemble performed, now it was the turn of the Musikus algorithm, which simultaneously understands incomprehensible numerical expressions, and even recently finished composing the incomplete Beethoven Tenth Symphony. It also brings Abba back to the stage. Avatars ask for a dance, as of May 27 next year, the four will be almost on stage. They will be colourful, they will sound real, forever young, with songs in their bags that everyone, whether 15 or 115, can sing along to. Pop has always been an illusion, with ABBA becoming timeless in a whole new way.
And so the real Annie-Fred, Agnetha, Bjorn, and Penny retire. The album that lifted them to the top of the pop world was called “Arrival” in 1976, and the album “Voyage” is supposed to mark the band’s physical end. There are two unfinished songs that Björn and Benny want to leave that way. The algorithm is waiting for them now.
oppa – “a trip” (Universal) will be released on November 5th.