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New ABBA album, the 40 year wait and ABBA-tars on the way

Tim Newton

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The usual time between albums for a music outfit… maybe 1-2 years.

Up there in amongst the top 30 artists of all time, ABBA, who couldn’t speak a word of English when they first started recording, have just released their latest album… 40 years after their previous album in 1981 and they split up in 1982.

And coming soon they’re touring as well. Sort of… A highly innovative digital ‘avatar’ concert (of course called Abba-tars). A specially designed venue has been set up in London to perform the old, and new, songs.

The Abba-tars are the product of a 3 year project, designed together with a special effects company of Star Wars creator George Lucas, ILM.

I’m booking a ticket for sure!

The ‘real’ Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid performed all the songs and were motion-captured so that the 30 year old faces can be mapped onto the 70 year old performers. It will be a ground-breaking technology combining cutting-edge visual tricks with damn good songs. That goes live in May after technical hassles and, well, you know… that Covid thing.

ABBA haven’t released any new music since their split in 1982, a year after their last album “The Visitors”.

The ABBA fandom, worldwide, who have been wallowing in reboots of the music in films like “Mamma Mia” and “Mamma Mia – Here we go again”, have greeted the new music with glee.

After years of speculation and several hints, the septuagenarians finally announced their (apparently impromptu) reunion and new album in September, and released the singles “I still have faith in you” (a soulful ballad) and “Don’t shut me down” (a reflective floor-filler). “Voyage” was released this week.

74 year old Benny Andersson explained says great pains were taken to keep the music a secret.

“First it was just two songs, and then we said: ‘Well maybe we should do a few others’, what do you say girls and they said ‘Yeah’,”

“hy don’t we do a full album?”

He and 76 year old Bjorn Ulvaeus have been promoting the album in recent weeks, with 71 year old (still-blond-bombshell) Agnetha Faltskog and 75 year old Anni-Frid Lyngstad sitting out the busy promotion schedules.

Benny says the band no longer feel like they need to prove anything and that they’ve made the new album as an ode to their fans and the style of ABBA music they love.

“We don’t have to prove anything, what does it matter if people think we were better before?”

Despite two divorces… Bjorn and Agnetha and Benny and Anni-Frid were both married for several years… the Swedish fab four have remained good friends.

So will there be another album? Both Bjorn and Benny have given a simply one word answer.

“No”.

“Voyage” is now available on a streaming app near you (their last album was only available on vinyl in the very first year that the first CD was released).

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 950 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current CEO for company, based in Bangkok.

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