Stockholm / London / Berlin. After just a few hours, millions have clicked on the two new Abba songs on YouTube. It is a sensation in the musical cosmos. The legendary Swedish pop band is releasing two new songs, announcing a new album and also a one and a half hour show in London with 22 songs, in which from May 2022 digital images / avatars (so-called Abbatars) of the four musicians will be accompanied by a ten-person live band should.
For many fans, a dream comes true: “When they started the first song, we all ran into tears,” said Regina Grafunder on Friday. The 55-year-old from Lower Saxony followed the London “Abba Voyage” event in Berlin together with other invited fans, at which Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus announced their return. “It was so beautiful when Frida started singing. Afterwards we lay in each other’s arms. “
Abba: “It was as if time had stood still”
After their split in 1982, Abba had repeatedly ruled out getting back together. Surprisingly, the pop group announced in 2018: “It was as if time had stood still and we were only gone for a short vacation.” At that time, Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad ( whose first names give the band name ABBA as a so-called acronym), to have recorded two new songs.
Fans were electrified. And had to wait another three years. But now, when they hear “Don’t Shut Me Down” and “I Still Have Faith In You”, millions understand what happened to the brief absence of Agnetha (71 today), Benny (74), Björn (76) and Anni-Frid (75) was meant. They are songs that seem to have jumped out of a time capsule from the late 70s into our present.
“They sound exactly the same as before. The Abba sound is absolutely timeless and touches me again and again, ”says Grafunder, who runs an international fan club for the band.
A trip back in time
Many people can hardly believe their ears: is this the year 2021 or 1978? Appropriately, the new album, which was announced for the beginning of November, is also called “Voyage”, in German “Reise”. And the music is like a journey, a bon voyage, into the past – into the good old days, as some might think.
The 70s are gladly transfigured in (West) Germany: Then people think less of the economic crisis, inflation and RAF terrorism than of sexual liberation, bell-bottoms and the cheeky children’s series “Pippi Longstocking” with Inger Nilsson. The Swedish TV series ran in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1971. In the 1970s, Sweden was the social democratic model and country of longing. The top tax rate was up to 85 percent. Sweden, that was Wohlfahrt, Volvo, Ikea, Astrid Lindgren, Abba-Pop.
On Friday, the comments on Youtube in many languages pile up online: “That I can still experience that. Like birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve all at the same time, ”writes a man who adds that even a 50-year-old is allowed to cry. “Life in these difficult times is brighter and more colorful again.” And another gentleman confesses: “Abba is back and with Abba my youth and all the feelings that were believed to be forgotten.”
Patricia Dreyer: “Why revive something that had its time?”
Patricia Dreyer at “Spiegel” admitted, on the other hand, that she quarreled with “that we as a society are constantly doing things because we can, and not asking whether it actually makes sense”: “Why revive something that is in its time would have? What was completed was perfect not only in its completion, but because it was finite. “
Abba had many number one hits in Germany between 1974 and 1981: “Waterloo”, “SOS”, “Mamma Mia”, “Fernando”, “Dancing Queen”, “Money, Money, Money”, ” Knowing Me, Knowing You ”,“ Super Trouper ”and“ One of Us ”, as can be read on the website“ officialcharts.de ”(from GfK Entertainment).
But other songs also became cult and still fill the dance floor at family celebrations or other parties, including “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) ”,“ Voulez-vous ”,“ Chiquitita ”,“ I Have A Dream ”,“ Summer Night City ”,“ The Winner Takes It All ”,“ Thank You For The Music ”and every New Year’s Eve“ Happy New Year”.
Abba is one of the most successful bands ever. It began in 1974 at the Eurovision Song Contest in the southern English seaside resort of Brighton. In the following years Abba became European consensus pop. The songs were repeatedly covered or used, for example by stars like Cher (album “Dancing Queen”, 2018), Madonna (the hit “Hung Up”, 2005), the Fugees (“Rumble In The Jungle”, 1997) or Erasure (“Abba-esque”, 1992).
The musical “Mamma Mia!” With Abba hits and its filming with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried strengthened older fans in the noughties and also won over younger fans for the catchy tunes. Many of these people are now touched. And Abba seems to be addressing them all too. In the text of “Don’t shut me down” it translates as: “And now you see a different me, I was reloaded”. And: “I am like a dream within a dream that has been deciphered; I’ve been inflamed, I’m on fire, don’t turn myself off. “