ABBA, a Swedish pop group that formed in 1972, is returning to the spotlight after a 40 year hiatus.
The group is most popular for their songs “Dancing Queen”, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” and “Mamma Mia”, all of which came out in the 70s. Now, in 2021, they have released two new songs and announced their fifth studio album, ‘Voyage’, set to be released Nov. 5.
Benny Anderson, a member of ABBA, explained that the new album was largely an accident.
“At first it was just two songs, and then we said, ‘Well, maybe we should do a few others,’” said Anderson.
And the return has already been well received. Their latest single, “Don’t Shut Me Down”, has recently topped the UK’s top ten, making it their first song to make the top ten since 1981. This is an especially impressive feat in 2021. In a music industry that is mostly composed of artists and bands in their 20s, it is nice to finally see members of the older generation take the front lines again.
ABBA is a widely beloved and inspirational group for many. The band has serenaded the ears of baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z over the years. Their music has even inspired playwright Catherine Johnson to write the musical ‘Mamma Mia!’, which was later adapted into a widely popular 2008 film of the same name.
With the release of a new album usually means that a tour is soon to follow. The same is true for ‘Voyage’, with tickets already on sale. However, ABBA’s group members, who are all in their early-to-late 70s, are going on an incredibly unusual tour.
According to an Independent article, the members have worked with George Lucas, a filmmaker best known for ‘Star Wars’, to have a “state-of-the-art virtual concert series”. The tour will allegedly feature all four members on stage performing digitally on stage. The concert is scheduled for Spring 2022 in a custom-built theater at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Though sometimes criticized as a “relic of the past”, ABBA’s upcoming tour might make the way for future changes in the way we view music venues, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on many in-person concerts and music festivals.
But why, after all these years, is ABBA coming back now?
Perhaps their return has to do with the internet’s recent obsession with 70s style and music. Many younger people can be seen flashing bootcut jeans and crop tops in bright oranges and greens, which was extremely popular at the time.
Many 70s bands have also been making a comeback through social media. A lot of ABBA’s songs have been widely featured on platforms like TikTok, allowing younger generations to hear them for the first time. Paul Hourican, the head of TikTok’s music operations in the UK, told BBC News he wasn’t surprised that the band has once again become popular.
“It’s clear from the vast numbers of creations and video views that our community around the world has so much love for the band and their sound,” said Hourican.
It seems ABBA still has love for their fans, too. Their other new song, “I Still Have Faith in You”, has the group sing, “I still have faith in you / I see it now / Through all these years that faith lives on, somehow.” The “you” in the song might be a nod to the fans directly. ABBA has always relied on fans, as, despite the years that have gone by, they still continue to have faith in the band.
No matter the band’s reason for returning, one thing is for certain: good music will never go out of style.