ABBA have announced the release of their ninth studio album ‘Voyage’, and it has already broken the record for most UK pre-orders months before its release on 5th November 2021. Emily Campbell tells us more.
ABBA have already released two singles from the ten-track album: Don’t Shut Me Down and I Still Have Faith in You, which have had a phenomenal reception. The singles respectively reached top spots in the charts, with Don’t Shut Me Down impressively reaching ninth and I Still Have Faith in You also earning the 14th spot. ABBA have never really lost their audiences attention and even with 40 years without a new release, they are still loved and constantly played around the world by their dedicated fans. So, it’s no surprise the news of their new album has been received so well.
It is well known that ABBA have previously used their own individual and group struggles as direct inspiration for their music. For example, their experiences of heartbreak and divorce led to songs such as The Winner Takes it All and S.O.S.. Their new singles continue this trend and now, 40 years later, they are focusing on the topic of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The lyrical yet jazzy Don’t Shut Me Down does have an ambiguity in its lyrical content, as to whether it is speaking of the reconciliation of a relationship or of the band itself and its reception by their audience. The song has a driving beat which is introduced after the first solo and remains pushing the song forward. Alongside this, other instruments such as the Glockenspiel and Violin create colour by adding layers to the song. This all leads to a reflective end, with instruments gradually dropping out to leave one of the soloists singing a final open statement with light accompaniment. These elements in conjunction give the song a melancholy sound for the listener.
the new songs are typical of ABBA’s very emotive style and their utilisation of dramatic crescendos and diminuendos in conjunction with the wide use of instruments
I Still Have Faith in You speaks more directly of the band’s own journey, their friendship and how far they have come. Differently to Don’t Shut Me Down, it is much more hopeful and starts simpler with stepwise melodies. Mid-way it builds to an impactful chorus which sounds similar to a final ensemble number in a musical because of its feeling of unity. The chorus seems to depict people coming together and sorting their issues out to become stronger. The song in its entirety creates an atmosphere of rejoice. Both of the new songs are typical of ABBA’s very emotive style and their utilisation of dramatic crescendos and diminuendos in conjunction with the wide use of instruments.
Alongside their new album, they have created an interactive experience for listeners to immerse themselves in the newly built ABBA Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. The first performance will be on 27th May 2022 and the new album will be played alongside older hits.
this seems an exciting and contemporary idea, blending elements of the film and music worlds
While ABBA themselves are not performing, their fans instead will have the chance to watch digital avatars of the members alongside a ten-piece live band. This is a new concept for the music scene and the show’s digital work has been created by a special effects company founded by George Lucas, creator of Star Wars. This seems an exciting and contemporary idea, blending elements of the film and music worlds. Over 850 people have worked on this new venture, so this is no mean feat.
ABBA released their first album in 1975 and are still engaging a multi-generational audience in their music 40 years later, which is proof of their success in itself.
In-article images courtesy of @abba via @instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.
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