Album review: ABBA, Voyage | Hot press



If you have forgotten how long it has been since ABBA released an album, keep in mind that Visitors, their previous LP, was one of the very first albums in history to be pressed into CD form. Today, 40 years and many revolutions in the music industry later, the titans of pop are back.

Skeptics will say that Trip was designed to drive sales of their digital ABBA Travel experience – which in itself is either a revolutionary new concept for the future of live music, or technology that has gone too far, depending on how you view it.

But no matter which side of the fence you are on, there’s no denying the sudden emotional impact of those opening lines of “I Still Have Faith In You,” Tripthe first track of. In place of the effortless lightness of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s previous hits, are deep, age-shaped vocals – with a newfound warmth that adds a powerful resonance to the sound.

From the opening, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson included plenty of musical references to their own work, creating a sound that embraces heartwarming nostalgia fans – and ABBA Voyage viewers – are probably waiting. But as the sci-fi work suggests, there is also an effort to inject space-age modernity into the music. For example, “When you dance with me” – which oddly takes place at a village fair in Kilkenny – is probably what Irish folk music will look like when played on an intergalactic cruise ship for tourists from around the world. space in 100 years.

At other times, Trip looks like a throwback to some of the more eccentric elements of the ’70s, with “Keep An Eye On Dan,” the story of a child caught up in his parents’ divorce, embracing the decade’s penchant for oddly specific storytelling in pop songs.

‘Just A Notion’, arriving nearly halfway through the album, is a callback to the band’s talents at their peak, with vocals recorded in 1978 – but probably would have worked better as a bonus track, as soon, in a jarring mismatch. We’re catapulted to the present day, with the “I can be that woman”. With nods to Tammy Wynette in the lyrics, it’s a country track grounded in the kind of perspective that can only be learned with age, exploring regrets of addiction.

If the initial success of a Swedish pop group on the world stage, selling 400 million albums worldwide, was unlikely, then no one could have predicted this latest chapter – a 70-year-old group not only reconnecting with their audiences. original, but with a new generation of young people. It is a link which is partly due to the colossal influence of Mom Mia, but even more to the undeniable attraction of their music. While Trip doesn’t quite rival the successes of ABBA’s past, there’s no doubt that after 40 years, the unabashed pop brand of Swedish icons is still strangely captivating.

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