After so many rumors and record-high bids, they really do it: ABBA is back: the most fabulous four ever from Sweden go for another record. Their Voyage is setting sails on 5th November 2021. Of course, I had to take a listen to the songs, which are actually the Scandinavians’ ninth studio album.
ABBA – About The Artists
My standard format to do reviews is likely highly inappropriate: the bio section would be too short, no matter how much I put it – and finally you know the facts anyway. The Stockholm-origin quartet being active from 1972 to 1982 of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad simply broke too many records in pop music and finally have been the best selling artists of all times. Despite any hopes for a full reunion with real concentrs, the Swedes will do an avatar tour, where they appear as holograms alongside a real live band. The location for that will be London, starting from May 2022, scheduled for six months. However, if you want to grab a ticket, you should be really fast – most shows are practically sold out. Before Voyage, their last album was The Visitors released in 1981.
ABBA – Voyage – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 37 minutes.
1. I Still Have Faith In You
The Voyage starts slowly with I Still Have Faith In You. As this single release already told us before the release: ABBA still sounds like ABBA – even though the protagonists are now a little bit older than we remember. A trip to the late 1970’s with the Swedish magic. Beautifully old-fashioned.
2. When You Danced With Me
So you left for the city, I hope you like it there You’re only here now to see the village fair You’re just here for the music, that’s all, or could it be You miss the good old times when you danced with me
Bagpipes, fiddle sounds… Forty years after the split, the first new track we really listen to could be a smash hit… In a pub somewhere at the Irish Atlantic coast. Very folk-ish song which a very limited pop or even dance touch.
3. Little Things
Merry Christmas – the third song is a die-hard Christmas track. Maybe nice to cash in some more money this year in the not too probable case the avatar shows cannot be prolonged until the sixtieth band anniversary.
4. Don’t Shut Me Down
Coming to the first two teasing songs of the album now. Don’t Shut Me Down definitely felt promising when it has been released to promote Voyage. Finally, there is not that ABBA-“I have to dance to this music”-feeling, though.
5. Just A Notion
To me, Just A Notion is the most magical song of the album. It has the highest ABBA-esque factor. Not too surprisingly, though – the song has already been recorded in 1978, but never released and has been finished for this 2021 Scandinavian revival.
6. I Can Be That Woman
You look frail as you stand before me Then you curse and kick a chair And the dog, bless her heart, licks my fingers But she jerks every time you swear I feel sick and my hands arе shakin’ This is how all our fights have begun You say you’ve had it, and you say “Scrеw you!” I say “I love you”, and I know it’s true
The song is thought to be an emotional highlight of the album, I guess. The Agnetha solo is unfortunately also an illustration how much forty years have changed the voices of the Swedes. And then, there are the lyrics. Love it and call it “It is sooo 1970’s” – or hate it as it is just a bit too outdated in 2021.
7. Keep An Eye On Dan
The seventh song starts slowly, but there is some disco and dance potential in this song. Unfortunately, I feel that the song just does not create the magical moments of previous ABBA works.
8. Bumble Bee
He likes the lilacs in my garden I love to watch him fly He’s just a tiny, fuzzy ball And I wonder how he can fly at all A world without him I dread to think what that would be And I imagine my distress It would be a new kind of loneliness
When I listened to this song, I was thinking about my comments about my thoughts about the so un-emancipated I Can Be That Woman. This song wants to address a 2021 topic, climate change, but finally it just does not work out. The quartet is too stuck between the end of their stage career and nowadays life.
9. No Doubt About It
People who long for some new old-style ABBA tunes will try to identify with songs like No Doubt About It. Not a song which can connect to the great success stories these four guys have been writing in the past – but at least almost three minutes of music which somehow feel and sound like the memories we have in our heart.
10. Ode To Freedom
With heavy orchestration and a heavy message, ABBA says farewell. They stated that this will be the last album. Definitely. Did they do it forty years ago as well?
ABBA – Voyage – Spotify
Here is Voyage on Spotify:
ABBA – Voyage – My View
ABBA gave us pop. They gave us happiness. They made us smile. We were Dancing Queens, thought about Money, Money, Money or we S.O.S.‘ed the trouble away on the dance floor or at home. We did that in the 1970’s, we did that in the 1980’s – and we did that years and decades after the four legendary musicians decided to split. Now we got ten more songs. None of them will have the potential of the songs you find on the ABBA Gold / More ABBA Gold compilation albums, which sum up our memories.
The Scandinavians gave us a dream – and this is also why they can sell out half a year of concerts in the same venue, seven times a week, without being there physically. Let’s hope they don’t do too many Voyage songs there – the album rather feels like a folk album than a great pop song compilation partially.