Mamma mia! ABBA is back.
40 years after the November 1981 release of The Visitors, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog, and Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad have done what was long thought highly unlikely. The foursome has reunited to record a brand-new album of ten original songs. The album, Voyage, shares its title with the concert residency that will begin in May 2022 at a custom-built London arena featuring avatars, erm, ABBAtars, created using state-of-the-art motion capture technology and an 850-person team from Industrial Light and Magic, the firm created by George Lucas. Voyage is due from Universal Music Group's Capitol label on CD, vinyl, and digital formats on November 5.
The wait is officially over for new ABBA music as two singles today were released from Voyage. "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down" were recorded by the group at Andersson's Stockholm studio; both songs are promised to feature in next year's digital concert stand. These songs represent the first ABBA music since the single release of "Under Attack" in December 1982; the former is a dramatic ballad redolent of Andersson and Ulvaeus' musical theatre work such as Chess, while the latter is an uptempo dancer that picks up where the likes of "Dancing Queen" left off (dig that piano!). Both songs feature ABBA's instantly recognizable harmonies and plentiful melodic hooks, proving that good things do indeed come to those who wait.
All four of the band members shared comments in a statement released earlier today. The joint statement reads: "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. We simply call it Voyage and we're truly sailing in uncharted waters. With the help of our younger selves, we travel into the future. It's not easy to explain but then it hasn't been done before."
Benny Andersson offered, "It's hard to say what's been the most joyful thing for me with this project, if it's the involvement in creating the concert together with everyone or being back in the studio together again after 40 years. I think hearing Frida and Agnetha singing again is hard to beat. When you come to the arena you will have the four of us together with an absolutely glorious 10-piece band. And even if not in the flesh, we will be right there, thanks to the work of the creative team and ILM."
Anni-Frid Lyngstad added, "Those first sessions back in 2018 were such fun and when Benny called and asked if I'd (Anni-Frid) consider singing some more I jumped at it! And what songs!! My respect and love go out to these exceptionally talented, truly genius songwriters! Such joy it was to work with the group again. I am so happy with what we have made, and I dearly hope our fans feel the same."
Agnetha Fältskog noted, "When we got back together in the studio I had no idea what to expect...But Benny's recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment, and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself! I can hardly believe that finally, the moment has come to share this with the world!"
Finally, Björn Ulvaeus shared, "They're such amazing singers, those two, I was completely floored by the way they delivered those songs. They're true musicians; totally unimpressed by pop star glamour but still having a great time being creative in a recording studio. The Voyage project has injected new life into us in more ways than one."
Jointly, they concluded, "So, again, thanks for waiting! We hope to see you in the 'ABBA Arena' and yes -- see -- because we have infused a good deal of our souls into those avatars. It's not an exaggeration to say that we're back."
Here at Second Disc HQ, we're thrilled to share those three words once again: ABBA is back. Voyage hits stores on November 5 in a plethora of formats:
- CD with four unique covers (one of each ABBA member) and standard CD;
- CD box set with exclusive poster, art cards, and sticker sheet;
- Cassette with four unique covers (one of each ABBA member), standard cassette, and alternative cover cassette;
- Black vinyl;
- Amazon-exclusive orange LP;
- Target-exclusive CD and LP with alternate cover art;
- Indie-exclusive blue LP;
- ABBA-store exclusive green and white vinyl (two picture discs sold out within moments);
- Vinyl single of "I Still Have Faith in You" (ships September 17); and
- CD single of "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down" (ships September 17).
Many of the formats are available now at the official ABBA store. Stay tuned for news of any additional retailer-exclusive editions.
"I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down" are now streaming wherever you listen to music online. Visit the official website for more information on the Voyage concert residency.
ABBA, Voyage (Capitol, 2021)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Black LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Amazon-Exclusive Orange LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Target-Exclusive CD: Target.com
Target-Exclusive Yellow LP: Target.com
Indie-Exclusive Blue LP: Your Local Record Store [Visit RecordStoreDay.com's store finder]
Various formats including exclusive vinyl, CDs, and cassettes: Official ABBA Store
- I Still Have Faith In You
- When You Danced With Me
- Little Things
- Dont Shut Me Down
- Just A Notion
- I Can Be That Woman
- Keep An Eye On Dan
- Bumble Bee
- No Doubt About It
- Ode To Freedom