Mamma mia! Swedish pop superstars Abba have reunited after 40 years for ‘Voyage’, a brand new album set for release on November 5.
Two of the tracks from the album, ‘I Still Have Faith in You’ an affectionate ballad about the bond the band members still have, and the supremely catchy ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, are out now.
Abba have also announced a new concert experience in London in 2022 where digital versions of themselves (in their white jumpsuit prime of 1979) will appear alongside a 10-piece live band performing at a new venue in Olympic Park, called the Abba Arena.
The group – Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Björn Ulvaeus – who racked up a grand total of 19 UK Top 10 hits, but split up after in the wake of two bitter band divorces in 1982, always seemed very unlikely to reunite, reportedly turning down a billion dollar package to tour in 2000.
However, they said they ended up back in the recording studio while working on the digital stage show.
“At first it was just two songs, and then we said, ‘Well, maybe we should do a few others,'” says Benny. In the end, the group recorded 10 tracks, including a Christmas song.
“I think hearing Frida and Agnetha singing again is hard to beat,” Benny continues.
The digital versions of the stars or ‘Abbatars’ as Bjorn calls them, which were created using motion capture technology similar to what was used to create Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, will perform the two new songs in the upcoming concerts, along with a selection of their greatest hits.
And what a dream list of hits they have to choose from! ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Fernando’, ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’, ‘Name of the Game’, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Take a Chance on Me’ all made it to No 1 in the UK charts.
Their 1992 greatest hits collection, ‘Abba Gold’, is the longest-running album in the UK album chart. In July, it became the first to surpass 1,000 weeks there, and is still sitting at No 14 at the moment. Plus, the band have stayed in the cultural spotlight for new generations with the staggeringly successful stage show and movie, Mamma Mia.
Speaking at a launch event for ‘Voyage’ in London, Bjorn said the four of them were all still extremely close.
“It is incredible to be where we are, no imagination could dream up that. To release a new album after 40 years and to still be the best of friends…to still have a total loyalty. Who has experienced that? Nobody … It is such fun and we have been longing for this for such a long time.”
When questioned about why now was the right time for comeback, Bjorn simply said, “We wanted to do it before we were dead.”