Monday, November 29, 2021

ABBA releases first album in 40 years: many ballads

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Visitors to the ABBA Museum in Stockholm are shopping for merchandise as the new album “Voyage” is the band’s first new release in nearly 40 years.

A bouncy synth beat connects decades and brings ABBA to the present.

ABBA are back with their first album since 1981. While skeptics may ask why, four Scandinavian 70s have decided why not, and Voyage does nothing to tarnish their legacy as global hitmakers.

The highlight of “Just a Notion” is the middle of a 10-song set. The rhythm begins and then the saxophones. The singers shift to a higher register, and the percussive piano chords help the arrangement flourish. Sugar rush!

Alas, such a brisk pace is an exception. Like most of us who flourished in the 1970s, ABBA has slowed down.

“Voyage” is dominated by ballads and the mood is mostly melancholic as Agneta Feltskog and Annie-Fried Lyngstad sing about relationships, Christmas, freedom and bees. More tunes are written for Broadway than for Eurovision, and the entire album contains fewer clues than 2½ minutes of Waterloo.

Regardless, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulveus remain remarkable masters as composers and arrangers, and Lyngstad and Fältskog’s vocals, now downgraded, still fit together perfectly. After more than 40 years of silence, it’s good to hear.

This cover, produced by Capitol, features ABBA’s “Voyage”.

Capitol via AP

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