ABBA fans go wild as the band releases their first album for 40 years

ABBA fans go wild as the band releases their first album for 40 years

09/03/2021

‘ABBA swooped in and saved 2021’: Fans go wild as band releases their first new music for 40 years and insist they knew ‘when we needed them most’

  • ABBA is releasing their first new music in 40 years, it was announced yesterday
  • Album Voyage is to be accompanied by a concert that will see them go digital
  • Music fans have gone wild on Twitter and said the group have ‘saved 2021’ 
  • Others praised the first two singles, saying ABBA is back to their best 

Music fans have gone wild after ABBA released their first new music in 40 years, saying the group have ‘saved 2021’. 

Swedish quartet Agnetha Fältskog, 71, Björn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 75, yesterday released Don’t Shut Me Down and I Still Have Faith In You, the first two singles from their new album, Voyage.

Björn and Benny made the ‘historic’ announcement in London yesterday and unveiled the first look at the Voyage digital concert, which will see extraordinarily detailed holograms, based on movements recorded by the band, take to the stage to perform their hits. Anni-Frid and Agnetha, their ex-wives, watched from Sweden.

The news was met with excitement from fans across the world who said the band were ‘back to their best’ and had ‘swooped in’ to rescue them after a difficult 18 months. 

Music fans have gone wild after ABBA released their first new music in 40 years, saying the group have ‘saved 2021’. Pictured, the group in a photo announcing the comeback

The news was met with excitement from fans across the world who said the band were ‘back to their best’ and had ‘swooped in’ to rescue them after a difficult 18 months

One tweeted: ‘ABBA are back but for most of us it’s like they never went away’. Another posted: ‘ABBA are back! New album! New show! Amazing! #ABBA.’

A third wrote: ‘We the uk are grateful of #ABB trying to lift the spirts of a broken world thanks for the music abba.’

An excited fan added: ‘Who remembers the excitement of a new ABBA Look-in centrefold? Feeling a bit that way tonight #abba #ABBAVoyage.’

Voyage, out on November 5, is a follow-up to 1981’s ‘The Visitors,’ which until now had been the swan song of the Swedish supergroup. And a virtual version of the band will begin a series of concerts in London on May 27.  

‘We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we´ve decided it´s time to end it,’ ABBA said in a statement Thursday. ‘They say it´s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we´ve recorded a follow-up to ‘The Visitors.”

The group has been creating the live show with George Lucas´ special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic. They say the virtual versions of themselves are ‘weird and wonderful,’ and go beyond holograms.

Fans said they had been left ‘on the verge of tears’ after hearing the new songs for the first time. The music is accompanied by a pioneering new stage show using holograms

‘It was suggested to us that we could go on tour as a hologram. And this is now four, five years ago,’ Björn Ulvaeus, ABBA’s guitarist, backup singer and co-songwriter said at a news conference Thursday.

‘And we found out very soon that that wasn´t even possible because holograms is an old technology, but I mean, the vision was there of having our digital selves, that even was a possibility.’

‘And also,’ said Benny Andersson, 74, who plays keyboards, sings and writes songs with Ulvaeus, ‘we want to do it before we were dead.’

Ulvaeus added, ‘it´s good if you do that before you dead. Because it gets more accurate then.’

Critics and fans alike have welcomed the new music and said ABBA is back to their best

They sang and played together for hours every day for weeks, using motion capture and other techniques to create the 22-song, approximately 90-minute show.

‘We dressed up in a leotards with dots or little things on them,’ Ulvaeus said. ‘And we had dots in our faces and helmets with cameras. And there we were, the four of us on stage together doing these songs.’

They say it was hard work but a great pleasure, but for one thing.

‘I´d say the only big problem was that we had to shave our beards,’ Andersson said. ‘I´ve had my beard for 50 years.’

I can still recall…: Björn Ulvaeus, 76, and Benny Andersson, 74, arrived in London to make the announcement

Sweet: ‘To release a new album after 40 years and still be the best of friends and enjoying each other’s company, total loyalty, who has experienced that? Nobody’, Benny said.

It’s like they never left! The tour will feature digital versions of the band using their likeness from their heyday

Coming soon! The revolutionary new concert will see ABBA performing digitally with a live 10-piece band, in a purpose-built arena in London from May 27, 2022

The planned show spurred the making of the album, which features the new songs ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ and ‘Don´t Shut Me Down.’ It began with sessions in 2018 and was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

‘It was so joyful to be together in the studio again, the four of us,’ Andersson said.’

The show will come 50 years after the founding of the group that consisted of two married couples for most of its existence, and whose name is an acronym of the first names of its members.

Their music has remained ubiquitous in the decades since their breakup, in part because of the stage musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ and the two films that followed it.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Last week the group launched a website with the title ‘ ABBA Voyage,’ teasing the new announcement. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.

Live: A Voyage event was held at Grona Lund, Stockholm, to celebrate the occasion

Thank you for the music! Critics rave over ABBA’s ‘rousing and emotional’ comeback hits after band release first new singles in FOUR decades

ABBA’s new songs have been lauded by critics after the band released their first singles in 39 years.

On Thursday afternoon, the Swedish pop group delighted fans when they announced they are returning with a revolutionary concert and new album, Voyage. 

Immediately after the announcement, Agnetha Fältskog, 71, Björn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 75, released new tracks I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down. 

While their new album isn’t out until November 5, the two new singles have let fans filled with anticipation. 

Now MailOnline takes a look at the reviews coming in for ABBA’s two new singles, which have left critics saying Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! more tracks. 

The Daily Mail’s Adrian Thrills gave the two songs a combined four star rating, dubbing Still Have Faith In You as ‘a rousing ode to enduring friendship and loyalty and a metaphor for this week’s reunion’.

One to wait for: While their new album Voyage (pictured) isn’t out until November 5, the two new singles have let fans filled with anticipation

Thrills noted that in the 1980s ABBA ‘were chasing trends’, yet now believes the group are ‘setting the agenda.’ 

The Times’ Will Hodgkinson also awarded the band’s new singles four stars, declaring the ‘magic is still there with a bittersweet disco beat’. 

THE REVIEWS ARE IN

The Daily Mail  

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The Guardian  

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The Independent 

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He noted that the songs ‘show ABBA have stuck to their own style rather than try and move with the times and it is a relief.’ 

The Guardian went all out with a five star review for Don’t Shut Me Down, while the second single I Still Have Faith In You was awarded four stars. 

The paper’s critic Jude Rogers noted that the tracks were ‘two songs precision-honed to wallop emotion out of the listener’ adding, ‘I can’t wait for more of this in November.’ 

Another four star review came from Kate Solomon at The i, who noted that while the tracks couldn’t live up to the likes of their hit Dancing Queen, the songs still showed ‘the sheer joy of making music is evident’.

She added ‘ABBA are well and truly back’. 

Meanwhile, The Independent’s Roisin O’Connor also went with a four star review, stating, ‘the first two singles prove that time passes, but ABBA never go out of style.’ 

She continued: ‘Perhaps their voices have that touch more gravitas, but that’s to be embraced. How splendid it is to have them back.’   

Not all critics were blown away, however, with The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick branding the comeback tracks ‘a damp squib’.

McCormick penned that I Still Have Faith In You is a ‘middle of the road singalong ABBA’, and notes Don’t Shut Me Down is ‘marginally more promising, although still beset by wobbly vocals cruelly exposed in the opening bars.’

It’s classic Abba… thank you for the new music

Review by Adrian Thrills for the Daily Mail 

Abba: I Still Have Faith In You/Don’t Shut Me Down (Polydor)

Verdict: Catchy, classy pop

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In 2009, the British public voted Abba as the band they would most like to see reunite.

If anything, the desire for the four Swedes has grown even stronger in the years since.

So yesterday’s release of I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down – the pop combo’s first new singles for 39 years – didn’t disappoint as the curtain-raisers for a new studio album, Voyage, and virtual gigs next year.

Anticipation for the album is sure to reach fever-pitch in the weeks leading to its arrival in November, while the digital concerts in May 2022 at London’s Olympic Park are certain to be among the hottest tickets of the year. The question is: have they still got it?

So yesterday’s release of I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down – the pop combo’s first new singles for 39 years – didn’t disappoint as the curtain-raisers for a new studio album, Voyage, and virtual gigs next year

The band’s songwriters, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, are famous for spending weeks fussing over the finer points of a musical arrangement, and the two new tracks bear all the hallmarks of the pair’s painstaking studio processes, with instruments layered to form an instantly recognisable wall of sound.

The songs are model Bjorn and Benny compositions, sung with warmth and precision by Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Still Have Faith In You is the big ballad: a rousing ode to enduring friendship and loyalty and clearly a metaphor for this week’s reunion.

Opening with orchestral strings and Andersson’s tuneful piano motif, it ebbs and flows as more instruments gradually enter the fray.

By the end, we’ve had pounding drums, guitar and brass – and belting high notes from Agnetha and Anni-Frid, their reach and power seemingly undimmed by the passage of time.

Abba’s ballads – The Winner Takes It All being the benchmark – were often melancholy affairs… but this one is positively uplifting.

Don’t Shut Me Down offers a contrast. A more up-tempo track that mixes Euro-disco with a touch of traditional German schlager music, it’s a classic Abba party tune.

In typical fashion, the buoyant melody hides a sad lyric about a woman, sitting alone on a park bench at dusk, determined to turn over a new leaf and rescue a fading romance.

When Abba were last active, in the early 1980s, they were chasing trends. Now they may be setting the agenda.

This vintage one-two suggests the Scandinavian super-troupers are back to doing what they do best: catchy, classy pop. 

 

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