How did ABBA survive 40 years of near silence?
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Friday 3rd September 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
WELCOME TO THE jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk ABBA DAY
FIRST – Abba announce album Voyage and release first new music in 40 years
by Elizabeth Aubrey 7 hrs ago
Swedish pop icons Abba have announced their long-anticipated reunion today (September 2), after almost 40 years apart.
Following the announcement this evening in London, the group – made up of Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, Agnetha Fälskog and Björn Ulvaeus also unveiled two new singles: “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”.
Both songs will appear on their forthcoming, 10-track album, Voyage. The album, which will be the group’s first studio album since “The Visitors”, will be released on 5 November 2021 via Polydor/Universal Music.
Abba also announced details of a state-of-the-art virtual concert series in which all four members of the band will appear on stage digitally. The group will appear with a live 10-piece band, in a purpose-built arena in London from 27 May 2022.
The group teamed up with the Star Wars creator George Lucas’s studio to develop digital representations of themselves using this first-of-a-kind, “revolutionary” technology. A preview of what the digital versions of Abba look like can be seen in the accompanying video for “I Still Have Faith In You”.
The avatars were created following weeks of motion-capture and performance techniques with the four band members and an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic, the company founded by Lucas, in what is the company’s first foray into music.
The group began work on the concert first, before finding themselves back in the studio in Stockholm recording new music soon after. The group worked together at Andersson’s studio, Riksmixningsverket, in Stockholm, Sweden.
The concert will open at the Abba Arena, a state-of-the-art 3,000-capacity arena located at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Pre-registration for tickets opens at 6pm 2nd September here with tickets on general sale from Tuesday 7 September.
Tickets for Abba Voyage are available from 10am on Sunday 5 September for fans who have pre-ordered the album from the official Abba store, and from 10am on Monday 6 September for those who have pre-registered. The general sale commences 10am Tuesday 7 September.
Speaking about the reunion, ABBA said in a statement: “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.”
Abba’s last studio album was released in 1981 while their last new music came in the form of the 1982 single, “Under Attack”. Three previously unreleased songs were made public a decade later in 1993 and 1994. The band shot to international fame in 1974 after representing Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with the track “Waterloo”.
The group won – the first Scandinavian act to do so – after performing the winning song on stage at the event in Brighton. They subsequently went on to become one of the most popular recording acts of all time and have sold over 400 million albums worldwide to date.
At the peak of their fame, Abba consisted of two married couples, but both relationships broke down during their time as a group.
The reunion was first mentioned by born in May 2020 by Ulvaeus. He said at the time: “It took half a minute and somehow we were back in time like we had been there yesterday as well. It was so strange. That feeling between us was extraordinary.”
How did ABBA survive 40 years of near silence?
By being one of the greatest acts ever
by Andrew Naughtie Independent
My mother has explained to me more than once that for her Beatles-raised generation, it was utterly, utterly taboo to admit you liked ABBA – and yet, everyone knew that everyone knew that “Dancing Queen” was a work of brilliance. Forty-five years after that song was unleashed, we celebrate it for the masterpiece it is.
I, meanwhile, have a theory: all of us, however composed, contented or stony, have someone that we think of when we hear “The Winner Takes It All”. (I know who mine is. They don’t.) The most expertly passive-aggressive song written in modern times, its lyrics betray a stubborn tin ear for English idioms. Perhaps the mix is a little top-heavy, Agnetha Faltskog’s vibrato at the end a smidgen too wide, the EQ on the keyboard parts a little tinny. But that song has a power like few others, a power that affects more of us more deeply than some might admit.
And now, our emotions and our paranoid determination to stay cool are on the line once again. ABBA are back in business, wielding not some weak-smile Loose Women-interview-slot compilation album but all-new music and an ABBA-tar virtual tour. They’ve been trailing this Lazarus moment for years, a build-up that obviously feels like a decade given the canyon-like interval of 2020. They haven’t released an album in 40 years, and yet they still have a power to command our attention unlike perhaps any act on earth.
Plus ça change indeed. How did this frankly odd, endlessly mocked group survive four decades of silence – and how did they triumph over the opposition?
In the UK at least, the peak of ABBA’s success came at the same time as the rise of the Sex Pistols. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid were together one pole in the commercial-subversive dialectic of Seventies pop and punk, a contest of raw pleasure versus unimaginative cynicism. But viewed from four-and-half decades’ distance by someone who didn’t sit through it, it’s clear which side ABBA were always on.
The real triumph of British punk, meanwhile, was to convince more than a few of us that if you enjoyed something specifically created with enjoyment in mind, you were being exploited and tricked, and that paying for seven inches of rage was an act of defiance in the face of brainless commercialism.
ABBA have been recognised as the masters of pop excellence because finally, at last, the pressure is off. Look at the endurance of Queen, whom the NME’s raving Eeyore Dave Marsh once described as “the first truly fascist rock band”. Look at the almost despotic dominance of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the Stonehenge of soft rock. Look at the evolution of Eurovision from annual black tie freakshow into joyous pan-continental mythmaking machine. Pop-rock silliness and its simple pleasures win us over, and keep winning.
At the other end of the scale, what do the Sex Pistols mean today that they didn’t mean in 1977? It’s not just that anti-commercial adolescent rebellion is a cliche – it’s that its relationship to its audience isn’t ultimately all that different from pop’s, except that pop doesn’t lay claim to much more than pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Anything else – the joy, the sorrow, the guilt, the pride – comes from us.
That logic will never change, and today’s launch is the proof. Four decades after their last album, ABBA are back, apparently for no particular reason besides being up for it, and the world has shown up to watch. Meanwhile, four decades after “God Save The Queen”, 61 per cent of people in the UK think we should keep the monarchy even though two of its most popular members have fled in despair and another stands accused of involvement in sex trafficking.
It makes perfect sense that ABBA chose London for their new show. Like it or not, we are in the end a nation of pragmatic monarchists who like to bounce around, sing along, and feel butterflies in our stomachs. Whatever we told ourselves by getting the Sex Pistols to No 1 on the silver jubilee (whatever the BBC said) was, it turned out, a lie.
To paraphrase George Orwell: cynicism is sincerity. Subversion is assent. Anger is contentment. The peak of British punk is now the stuff of BBC Four documentaries – and ABBA are back because we want them back.
TOP TWENTY OF THE DAY
TOP TWENTY ABBA’S BEST TRACKS
1 Dancing Queen
2 The Winner Takes it All
3 Knowing Me, Knowing You
5 Mamma Mia
6 Take a Chance on Me
9 One of Us
11 I Have a Dream
12 Super Trouper
13 The Name of the Game
14 Slipping Through My Fingers
15 Money, Money, Money
17 Does Your Mother Know
18 My Love, My Life
19 Thank You for the Music
20 Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
THE FRONT PAGES ARE IN UNISON!
As regular readers know that as a true journalist I love it when a news story is so big all the National Dailies are in unison and pop it on all their front pages. And with the story about the new ABBA album and video concert, they have done just that!!! Mamma Mia it is brillant! Wonderful! Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!
REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– Nicolas Chamfort
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.” – Lindsey Vonn
Happiness is…dancing to Dancing Queen
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
Dogs can’t see your bones. But CAT scan.
Love is…a flame that never goes out.
A time for Knowing Me, Knowing You…A time for Mamma Mia.
1967 Sweden begins driving on right-hand side of road.
1966 Donovan hits #1 with “Sunshine Superman”.
1935 A speed demon takes to the sands of Bonneville. Sir Malcolm Campbell, Britain’s land-speed record holder, straps in to his sleek 28-foot, 2,500-horsepower vehicle, named ‘Blue Bird’, and streaks across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300mph.
1777 Flag of the United States flown in battle for the 1st time at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware, a skirmish during American Revolutionary War.
1752 Britain and the British Empire (including the American colonies) adopt the Gregorian Calendar, losing 11 days. People riot thinking the government stole 11 days of their lives.
©2021 Phil M Robinson