ABBA Forty Years Strong?

ABBA Forty Years Strong?

Eva Fischer

On Friday November 5th, Swedish musical group ABBA released what is likely to be their final album, titled Voyage. The album comes forty years after their last release and is ten tracks long. This new music has been met with very mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. The most prominent thought is that the music is trying to appeal to the classic, 70’s ABBA sound in a day and age which has seemingly moved on. Kate Solomon from iNews states, “There’s a sort of Sound of Music feel to the whole endeavor; a slightly daggy, overly sentimental attempt at recapturing something that had already been lost.” Similarly, The Guardian reporter Jude Rogers says, “But rather than reflecting poignantly on the past, much of the rest of Voyage feels terminally stuck there.” ABBA member Benny Andersson counters, “And then we did a new album. We are not competing with Drake and all these guys. I don’t understand what the ingredients that work today are… We’ve done as good as we could at our age!” Despite critiques, “Voyage” reached #1 on iTunes album sales charts. Additionally, one of two initial singles from the album, “Don’t Shut Me Down”, was a top ten hit, ABBA’s first in forty years. 

To accompany the album, ABBA has created a digital concert experience. “ABBA Voyage is the long-awaited concert from one of the biggest pop acts of all time. See ABBA’s avatars accompanied by a 10-piece live band, in a custom-built arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.” ABBA members will not be present and performing at this concert, rather, their “ABBA-tars” will be. Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA said, “We did motion capture in a studio that looks like NASA. We were there for five weeks in leotards with dots on our bodies and helmet and then the four of us were on stage doing these songs… We looked ridiculous.” All members recorded their performances with special motion capture technology founded by George Lucas. The arena was specially built for this experience, which is currently in London, and can be moved. Therefore, the 8 days a week show could run for years. Band members decided that fans would rather be able to experience ABBA, new and old, in its full glory.