ABBA Returns!

If you haven’t heard already, last week’s huge music news was that everyone’s favorite Swedish pop group from the 70s and 80s has reunited! Not only with one but two new songs, with a new album coming in early November!

So let’s take a quick listen to the two new songs that are already getting airplay and millions of YouTube plays:

“I Still Have Faith in You” is an absolutely lovely ballad that, no lie, actually made me think, Wow, this could be a great solo centerpiece for a jukebox musica– oh. OH. Right. [It took me a moment to remember Bjorn and Benny pretty much instigated the modern stage musical style in the first place with Chess! Heh.] [ANYWAY.] This is my favorite of the two, as it really sets the tone of not only “hey, we’re back!” but “it’s been so long, can we still do this”. And they pull it off PERFECTLY. From the quiet and plaintive beginning to the determined finale with its breathtaking layered vocals, this song is absolutely flawless. And it’s definitely going to be used for stage auditions, no doubt.

The video for this one’s interesting in that it starts off as a chronological montage of the band members from their childhoods to starting the band to their worldwide success. We’re treated to wonderful (and lovingly remastered) footage of backstage preparations, meeting fans, recording in the studio, and even snippets of some of their iconic music videos. And right about 3:30 in, the song breaks down to a quiet solo refrain (“do I have it in me?”), as we see footage of the foursome once again heading towards the stage…only to see what is a stellar use of amazing computer-enhanced imagery, with the foursome on a new stage, singing this new song while appearing as themselves at their commercial peak. This hints at what will be a special London show, where they’ll be performing songs old and new while being motion-captured as their younger selves. It’s extremely joyful and reverent, especially as we realize the song isn’t just about the band themselves but their own fans.

And the other new song, “Don’t Shut Me Down”:

Okay, just in case you’d forgotten this is the ABBA we all know and love, we’re treated to a nice little musical prologue that sets the scene…only to hit us broadside with a piano glissando and a groovy mid-tempo disco beat right out of “Dancing Queen.” This one is proving to be the radio hit due to its more classical pop format, and also that it really does sound like a song from Arrival or The Album. It’s super catchy and danceable and lyrically clever without being a pastiche, further proving just how strong Benny and Bjorn’s songwriting chops truly are.

If these two songs are any indication of what the new album Voyage will sound like, sign me up because I’m already a fan. Well, I’ve been an ABBA fan since I was a kid, having constantly borrowed the albums from my older sister who was an even bigger fan back in the day. [For the record, my favorite album of theirs is Arrival and song is “SOS”. That song just has the most amazing chord progression.] I’m definitely looking forward to it.