So, for the most part we were relatively right regarding our expectations surrounding the big ABBA announcement yesterday …
There WILL be a brand new album featuring all four original members of the band … Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. It’ll be titled “Voyage” (just like this whole big announcement campaign) and be available November 5th. (The first two tracks from the new LP are available NOW for streaming and download … and I’ve gotta say, these guys sound JUST like ABBA!!!)
When one considers that their last release of new material was exactly forty years ago … and the bulk of those forty years were spent insisting that a reunion like this would NEVER happen … it really IS quite amazing.
(Check out the two new tracks for yourself below):
I Still Have Faith In You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAzEY1MfXrQ
Don’t Shut Me Down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWGWFa3jznI
The hologram / avatar (or would that be ABBAtar?) concert performance was also officially announced … but it won’t be a tour … at least not just yet.
It will first open in May of 2022 as an exclusive residency at a brand new, custom-built London arena with a show put together by a team of 850 people from George Lucas’ company, Industrial Light And Magic, utilizing state-of-the-art motion capture technology. The new show will in effect (via SPECIAL effects) create the illusion of a live ABBA concert performance, featuring music from the new LP performed along with most of their best-known hits. (They are currently envisioning a 90 minute set of 22 songs.) Images of a youthful ABBA will perform their music along with a live ten-piece band. It is all said to be quite extraordinary (and I’m sure several “touring companies” will be out performing this music live again all over the world before the year is over. I would expect a live concert video to be part of the long-term plan as well.) Which means that the music of ABBA will live on forever … it’s conceivable that within the same week in the same city one might be able to attend not only the new ABBAtar concert but also a live stage production of their ENORMOUSLY successful “Mamma Mia” musical! The entire concept is nothing short of revolutionary. (Betcha The Beatles are wishing they would have come up with it first! Lol)
While I wasn’t able to watch the live presentation and announcement (it happened here at 11:45 am Chicago time yesterday and I was shoulder-deep in work crisis at the time!) the band spoke collectively and individually about the new project, already 2-3 years in the making …
“It’s been a while since we made music together. Almost 40 years, actually. We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it. They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to The Visitors. To tell the truth, the main inspiration to record again comes from our involvement in creating the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of. We’re going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs on a stage in a custom-built arena in London next spring. Weird and wonderful! To all of you who patiently have followed us in some way or another these past decades: Thank you for waiting — it’s time for a new journey to begin. We simply call it Voyage and we’re truly sailing in uncharted waters. With the help of our younger selves, we travel into the future. It’s not easy to explain but then it hasn’t been done before.”
Benny Andersson: “It’s hard to say what’s been the most joyful thing for me with this project, if it’s the involvement in creating the concert together with everyone or being back in the studio together again after 40 years. I think hearing Frida and Agnetha singing again is hard to beat. When you come to the arena you will have the four of us together with an absolutely glorious 10-piece band. And even if not in the flesh, we will be right there, thanks to the work of the creative team and ILM.”
Anni-Frid Lyngstad: “Those first sessions back in 2018 were such fun and when Benny called and asked if I’d consider singing some more, I jumped at it! And what songs!!! My respect and love go out to these exceptionally talented, truly genius songwriters! Such joy it was to work with the group again. I am so happy with what we have made, and I dearly hope our fans feel the same.”
Agnetha Fältskog: “When we got back together in the studio I had no idea what to expect … but Benny’s recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment, and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself! I can hardly believe that finally, the moment has come to share this with the world!”
Finally, Björn Ulvaeus shared, “They’re such amazing singers, those two, I was completely floored by the way they delivered those songs. They’re true musicians; totally unimpressed by pop star glamour but still having a great time being creative in a recording studio. The Voyage project has injected new life into us in more ways than one.”
Jointly, they concluded, “So, again, thanks for waiting! We hope to see you in the ‘ABBA Arena’ and yes — see — because we have infused a good deal of our souls into those avatars. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we’re back.”
And they’re pulling out all the stops with this new album release as well.
You’ll be able to buy it with four unique album covers (because, of course, you’ll WANT four copies of this same CD), one with each ABBA member pictured on the cover … or as just a standard “group” CD … or as a CD box set (with an exclusive poster, art cards and a sticker sheet) … or as a CASSETTE (that’s right folks, cassettes are back … Ringo Starr’s new release will also be available in this format!) ... and those cassettes will also be available with four unique covers, a standard cover AND an alternate cover … an orange vinyl LP version (available EXCLUSIVELY thru Amazon.com) as well as green and white vinyl editions through the ABBA-Store (where all of this material is available now!), a vinyl single of “I Still Have Faith In You” or a CD-single of BOTH new tracks, “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” (Meanwhile, you can download and/or stream both sides of the new single now thru all the usual sources.) In addition, two picture discs of the new LP sold out within minutes of their broadcast announcements!
The complete ABBA “Voyage” CD track list is as follows: I Still Have Faith In You; When You Danced With Me; Little Things; Dont Shut Me Down; Just A Notion; I Can Be That Woman; Keep An Eye On Dan; Bumble Bee; No Doubt About It; Ode To Freedom
ALL (other than the Amazon exclusive LP) are available for pre-order purchase now thru the Official ABBA Store: https://shopmusicus.abbavoyage.com/
(You’ll also be able to purchase your concert tickets here as well … in fact, they’re already taking pre-orders now and the concert hall isn’t even totally built yet! That being said, you'll still be on your own when it comes to airfare and hotel accommodations!!! Of course, perhaps that, too, will soon be part of ABBA taking over the universe!!!)
Explaining why now, after all this time, the group decided to reunite, perhaps it was Benny who put it best: “We wanted to do it before we were dead.”
Bjorn added: “There is an old saying in the music business. Never leave more than 40 years between albums.”
I agree. (kk)