Everyone’s favorite Swedish band is back. Forty years after the release of their latest album, the legendary band ABBA – named after Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – came together to produce their latest album “Voyage”.
why now? Do any of the ABBA members suddenly need more fame and fortune? Was their legacy in doubt? It was the endless royalties from their hit song Dancing Queen and their hit music hit, Mamma Mia! not enough?
Conversely, “Voyage” was the result of Benny and Bjorn (the band’s songwriters) deciding to add a few more tracks to a virtual concert of the “ABBAtars” (yes, their genius apparently extends to puns as well as pop hooks) they were planning in 2016. Agnetha and Anni-Frid agreed to record as long as they didn’t have to promote the album.
Thus, the song “Voyage” was made by rich and famous musicians who had no real need or desire to continue in the music industry. It was just a fun thing that people might like.
And that’s totally fine. In terms of their melodies and hooks, ABBA’s discography stands right next door to The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Michael Jackson. The band never had to make any inventions because their songs were so good.
There’s also something that helps timing this year’s “Voyage’s” release. Although it looked outdated and unusual in the ’80s and ’90s, not to mention the 2000s, it somehow fits in with today’s pop music scene that runs a whole range of musical genres and styles. With teams like Tennis, TOPS, and Weyes Blood lovingly maintaining and revamping many of ABBA’s trappings and hooks, ABBA itself can continue to do its job without looking like a bunch of desperate baby boomers.
Few great events and many nice things
With this in mind, one can correctly judge the most recent album. And how is the Voyage trip? It’s good, not great. It’s certainly not the same level as Visitors, Super Trooper, Album, or Access (to be fair, most albums won’t be, regardless of band) but it’s on par with the quality of previous albums, with a few Great tracks, many decent tracks, and one really bad track.
Among the top songs is the opening song, “I Still Believe in You,” which is likely to stir up some strong fan feelings, as it builds from Annie Fred’s voice and piano solo to a triumphant chorus with Bjorn and Agnetha, all expressing a sincere enthusiasm for getting back together. (There’s not much point in quoting ABBA’s words, which are always meant to convey a general mood more than saying anything specific.)
Building on this strong foundation, the rest of the album was created. The other two notable songs are “Don’t Shut Me Down” and “Keep an Eye On Dan”. Not only are these tracks attractive, but their complexity and production are well worth repeated listening.
Then there are the rather good tracks (songs that never skip or skip) that fill the rest of the album: “When You Dance With Me,” “Just an Idea,” “I Can Be That Woman,” “No Doubt About It” and “Bee” and ” An anthem to freedom. ” As in previous albums, ABBA distinguishes itself with its group. The band isn’t limited to creating formula dance numbers or sentimental poems; They can do everything, and do it well.
Except for the saccharine lullaby that ABBA never fails to perform at least once per album. In this case, that song is “Little Things,” a Christmas-themed song that even includes a children’s choir. This song was definitely released as a single for the Christmas season and will likely end up going for years to come despite being the worst song on the entire album.
ABBA had nothing to prove on ‘The Journey’
Despite being in their 70s, Anni-Frid and Agnetha’s vocals held up incredibly well – all seemingly without the help of autotune and other electronic filters. In fact, their mature age helped mitigate some of the excessive brightness that might have been annoying on their previous albums.
For Benny and Bjorn, songwriting and production also held up, but not quite. One would hope to see them add at least a few innovations in their voices or arrangements, but they avoid risks altogether. They have what’s inside of them to blow up existing businesses, make the most of their maturity, and restore some integrity to current pop music just by modernizing a bit. But, perhaps due to their age, they instead keep hold of nostalgia and waste their last chance to relate to the topic.
Then again, that was absolutely not the point because there was nothing to prove. And it was weird, if not weird, to see ABBA betray themselves in newer fashion or team up with some pop star or rapper in hopes of staying fresh. Instead, they decide to enjoy themselves and create some music for their fans.
Voyage could have been more than that, but then again it could have been a lot worse. Overall, it’s great pop, a nice escape from the noise of everything else on the radio, and a nice reminder of ABBA’s own genius.