Perhaps the biggest musical surprise of 2021 was the release of a brand-new ABBA album - 40 years after they took their final bow with The Visitors. A chart-topper in many countries around the world (it "only" hit No. 2 in America), Voyage hardly sounded as if four decades had passed thanks to dramatic tracks like "I Still Have Faith in You" (a Grammy nominee for Record of the Year this weekend, the band's first-ever nod from the Recording Academy), "Don't Shut Me Down" and "Just a Notion." The experience will continue this spring with the opening of ABBA Voyage, a custom-built arena tour in London that will feature digital "ABBAtars" created by Industrial Light & Magic and performing songs from the group's catalogue.
To coincide with ABBA Voyage setting sail on May 27, Voyage will be canonized in a new career-spanning box set featuring every one of the quartet's nine studio albums plus a specially-curated collection of singles and B-sides. It's hardly the first time the band's discography has been collected as such: 2005's The Complete Studio Recordings included the original eight albums with bonus tracks, a ninth CD of rarities and two DVDs of videos. Three years later, in 2008, The Albums collected the same albums sans the extra bonus tracks, other than a 17-track disc of rarities. 2010's The Vinyl Collection featured the original albums and a disc of bonus material. Finally, 2014's The Studio Albums offered just that on 180-gram colored vinyl.
So what's in this new box, which will be available on CD and 180-gram black vinyl? Albums Box Set clones The Vinyl Collection, offering all the original international track lists on each album, plus the collection ABBA Tracks, which offers a dozen non-album highlights. There's favorite A-sides like "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" and "Fernando," fan favorites like "Under Attack" and "The Day Before You Came" - both issued on the band's then-final album, The Singles: The First Ten Years - and B-sides including "Happy Hawaii," "Elaine" and "Put on Your White Sombrero," introduced on the career-spanning Thank You for the Music box set in 1994. While it's far from complete, Album Box Set offers a succinct package - complete with original record sleeves and a 40-page booklet - for fans who perhaps fell in love during the Mamma Mia! era but haven't yet taken a deep dive. And the inclusion of a strong finale like Voyage might sweeten the deal, too.
And in addition to the box, the band's official site is offering exclusive new picture disc pressings of all the original albums, on their own or in a bundle. You can pre-order all those arrangements and check out the full ABBA Tracks offering below.
Album Box Set (UMe, 2022)
CD/LP 1: Ring Ring (Polar POLS 242, 1973)
CD/LP 2: Waterloo (Polar POLS 252, 1974)
CD/LP 3: ABBA (Polar POLS 262, 1975)
CD/LP 4: Arrival (Polar POLS 272, 1976)
CD/LP 5: The Album (Polar POLS 282, 1977)
CD/LP 6: Voulez-Vous (Polar POLS 292, 1979)
CD/LP 7: Super Trouper (Polar POLS 322, 1980)
CD/LP 8: The Visitors (Polar POLS 342, 1981)
CD/LP 9: Voyage (Polar 00602438614813, 2021)
CD/LP 10: ABBA Tracks
- Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
- Summer Night City
- Under Attack
- The Day Before You Came
- Happy Hawaii
- Should I Laugh or Cry
- Put on Your White Sombrero
Track 1 from Polar single POS 1256, 1979
Track 2 from Polar single POS 1224, 1976
Track 3 from Polar single POS 1239, 1978
Tracks 4-5 from The Singles: The First Ten Years - Polar 2335 263, 1982
Track 6 from B-side to "Chiquitita" - Polar single POS 1244, 1979
Track 7 from B-side to "Knowing Me, Knowing You" - Polar single POS 1230, 1977
Track 8 from B-side to "The Winner Takes It All" - Polar single POS 1272, 1980
Track 9 from B-side to "One of Us" - Polar single POLS 1291, 1981
Track 10 from Thank You for the Music - Polar/Polydor 523 472-2, 1994