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a hesitant comeback – with a lot of unanswered questions

Omma Mia! So you did it after all. Björn Ulvaueus (76) and Benny Andersson (74) were sitting in front of a London TV woman with a view of the Abba concert hall in London and were finally, finally, finally Abba again. Announced a new album called “Voyage” for November 5th – there is also a Christmas carol on it for the Christmas business – and the ticket sales start for the concerts on September 7th. It was joked that there should never be more than 40 years between two albums and that the women, unlike the men, did not have to shave for the motion capture process. The ladies weren’t there either and had to listen to this stupid saying somewhere in front of the screen.

Too shy to be Abba for the media again? Their absence was a shame and certainly clouded, even if only minimally, the joy of reunion of the millions of old fans and the millions of young and very young fans who had come to event locations such as Reykjavik, New York, Berlin, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro or the Followed the live stream. Anyway: motion capture? Isn’t that what they did with the actor Andy Serkis so that the digital “Lord of the Rings” goblin Gollum comes across alive on the screen? No, Abba do not tour as a living being, but when the show phase begins in London (dates soon), their digital counterparts are on stage – the avatars known as Abbatars. You could see them on the giant screen in Stockholm at the end of the new song “I Still Have Faith in You”.

Abba revival in the early nineties

Agnetha Fältskog (71), Anni-Frid Lyngstad (75), Björn Ulvaeus (76) and Benny Andersson (74) were as young as 1979 again. The skin looked a bit smooth porcelain, and the eyes … well, what works at Gollum works until today not really with humans. You will likely see the real life deficit when the Abbatars appear on a giant screen in London’s Abbadrome. But we Abbafans will perhaps have the tear film of happiness in our eyes.

Who would have thought? When after the singles “Under Attack” and “One of Us” at the beginning of the eighties there were actually nothing more hits from our favorite Swedish hitmaker, things got quieter around Abba for ten years. Other pop and rock artists and groups dominated the world charts. But when the Australian tribute band Björn Again picked up the instruments, and especially in the early summer of 1992 the hip synthpop duo Erasure around singer Andy Bell and the former Depeche Mode mastermind Vince Clark released the EP “Abba-esque” with four Abba -Cover versions started a memorable revival.

Abba resisted a comeback for a long time

The hit album “Abba Gold” was released shortly afterwards in September, sold 31 million copies and has been the longest-placed album in the British charts since July 2021 with a total of 1000 weeks. Even the toughest rockers came out as Abba fans. And when U2 started singing “Dancing Queen” on their Zooropa station in London’s Wembley Stadium in 1993, tens of thousands of Britons sang the Abba song along from the first to the last line Took place in London and had world stars in the ensemble with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. But what did the band do? Abba still turned down the most astronomical super sums for a tiny bit of reunification.

Abba even made it into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the end. “This is the real hall in which the legends are: Elvis, Beatles, Chuck Berry, Brian Wilson,” said Benny Andersson happily back in 2017 in an interview with the editorial network Germany. “Crazy. We’re the only band that doesn’t come from America or England. ”As a voter, he then voted year after year for the German band Kraftwerk (this year the Düsseldorf electronics team will be included).

So are the new songs

The new songs? You still have to let it sag a little. “I Still Have Faith In You” is a slightly more complex ballad with a melody that you can’t whistle straight away, “Don’t Shut Me Down” is a bit reminiscent of “Dancing Queen”. At first listen it is not as spirited as “SOS” or “Mamma Mia”, not as melodious as “Take a Chance on Me” or “Super Trouper”. Abba, one mustn’t forget, are the people who wrote “I Have a Dream”, “Fernando” or the delicate “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room”. It will be fine, one then thinks. The ethereal ballad “Eagle” had also taken a few runs through the ear before it was anchored in the listener’s head as one of the most splendid Abba works of all. After all, these Abba songs have the approval of all band members, unlike the Beatles back then, when the survivors shot two John Lennon songs in the mid-1990s due to Jeff Lynne’s lack of producers in order to add something new to the Beatles “anthology” – Project to have.

Are we going to spoil the comeback of the decade now or what? No way. We are far too abbaphile for that. But we would have preferred every Abba recital, when the four pop stars with their folds of life would have been on stage in person and dimmed their songs down a little to cello and piano, than an evening with the best stage technology of all time, on which remind the four eternally young computer characters that we are at least not getting any younger. So we inevitably take what we can get and hope to fall in love again at second glance. As Abba sang in “Mamma Mia”: “One more look and I forget everything …”



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