After several failed attempts at a reunion, the iconic ‘70s Swedish pop band ABBA returned with their first studio album in 40 years. Titled Voyage, the album consisted of 10 brand new songs by the band. Despite the past complicated relationships in the band, original members Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog, all make their return to bring the band back together for one last hurrah.
One of the reasons why the band decided to put out new music was to provide something more to their new hologram show that is set to play in London. The group has decided not to do a farewell tour and has decided that the hologram show would be their final execution as a band.
All new songs were written, like always, by Andersson and Ulvaeus. The two provided songs that transport listeners back to the ‘70s with their superior Swedish-pop sound that consistently has catchy rhythms and melodies.
It’s truly honoring that ABBA’s new songs aren’t modernized, as the songs have the same brilliant formula and texture that it is known for having. Modernizing its songs wouldn’t be in the band’s nature and would have made die-hard fans upset. By initiating its old style and techniques, the songs honestly sound like they could have come out anytime during ABBA’s career. It was a perfect way to end their 50-year journey in the music industry.
The vocalization of Fältskog and Lyngstad was still relatively strong, their voices blended well just like they always have. There is some added maturity to their voices, but it doesn’t take away from their overall sound. Despite not singing for about 40 years, the two still have their special charm.
The album opens with a vocally powerful ballad, “I Still Have Faith In You,” a song relating to the group’s uncertainty and excitement regarding the reunion. At first they were concerned whether or not they could live up to their past music, singing “Do I have it in me?” Further into the song, they confirm their confidence is growing with lyrics like, “We do have it in us,” “We’re in this together” and “I still have faith in you / And we still have it in us.” ABBA proves in its songs that the faith is still there and without it, the album would not have survived.
The album definitely has its fair share of catchy bops, proving that the band still has it. Songs “Don’t Shut Me Down,” “Keep An Eye On Dan” and “No Doubt About It,” contain strong, catchy pop melodies just like their former greatest hits.
First released earlier back in September, “Don’t Shut Me Down” contains a beautiful crescendo of sound and an extremely catchy chorus that makes it impossible to not get up and dance to. Its sound would have fit perfectly in their most popular song list, an aspect that is quite the achievement, especially 40 years later. “Don’t Shut Me Down” is undoubtedly their strongest song on the album.
The album does feature a new Christmas song, “Little Things,” which is definitely one of the more gentler songs on the album. It contains sweet but strong vocals by Fältskog and Lyngstad as well as a feature from a children’s choir.
“Just A Notion,” a song with a ‘50s doo-wop inspired rhythm, was intended for one of its previous albums. Since it was intended for one of the older albums, it radiates ABBA’s nostalgic style impeccably. It’s a miracle that it wasn’t locked away in the vault forever.
A few songs contained a little snippet of their former hits, giving them some well-deserved recognition. “Keep An Eye On Dan” pays homage to “S.O.S,” as it contains a snippet of its iconic hook near the end of the song. With the opening flute solo of “Bumblebee,” you can tell that it was inspired by the opening of “Fernando.”
While the new songs don’t quite live up to their best songs like “Dancing Queen” or “Mamma Mia,” they are still quite replayable and enjoyable. The band members knew that they couldn’t create something as magnificent as their most recognized hits, but that didn’t stop them from making a reunion album that would still please fans.
Perhaps if you weren’t a fan of ABBA already, you may not like its newest album. But for die-hard fans, this album fulfills every need that a fan could have.
It is absolutely astonishing that ABBA was able to pull off that nostalgic disco style that many probably couldn’t have pulled off in the industry today. They are able to show off that even after 40 years, they can still make the same great music they used to put out. It’s a perfect ending to their fantastic career by celebrating their journey and commemorating their unique style of music.