ABBA Announces New Album; Here We Go Again!

Luna Valayannopoulos-Akrivou, Managing Editor

As the school year begins, summer anthems will be replaced by studying playlists, but one group is not ready to part from the fun quite yet. On September 2nd, the pop group ABBA announced their reunification and the plan for a concert and an album. The news was very well-received, but shocking nonetheless, considering the group’s reluctance to collaborate since taking a break in 1982.

In 1970, Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulveus, Agnetha Faltskog, and Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad put together a cabaret act called Festlock. This first collaboration did not attract much attention, but their next release in the spring of ‘72, “People Need Love” did much better. By the next year, they auditioned in the Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, with “Ring Ring.” Despite finishing third in the competition, “Ring Ring” became the biggest hit of the year in Sweden.

A year later, the group entered the Eurovision audition with “Waterloo,” changing their name to “ABBA,” an acronym of all their initials. On April 6th, 1974, “Waterloo” won over the international jury, and the song hit number one in charts all over Europe. Just 18 months later, ABBA released worldwide hits “SOS” and “Mamma Mia” claiming the UK and Australian top spots on music streaming ranks.

In February 1981, just after releasing an album, Benny and Frida announced their divorce. The energy and enthusiasm of the group declined throughout the following year, and by the end of 1982, ABBA had decided to take a break.

ABBA will be sticking around a little longer in our playlists after all, though they never left our hearts.

Nearly three decades after ABBA’s temporary break, in 1999, with still no signs of a reunion, the musical Mamma Mia!, inspired by ABBA’s music, premiered in London. Two years later, Mamma Mia! opened on Broadway, quickly gaining attention across the globe. Popular interest in the group’s music continued, as the film Mamma Mia! came out in July 2008, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.

Voyage, ABBA’s new 10-track album is set to be released on November 5, 2021. Two of the tracks premiered on September 2nd during a globally-streamed press conference: “I Still Have Faith In You,” a soft piano ballad, and “Don’t Shut me Down,” a mini melodrama of the emotional reunion of the group.

Alongside Voyage, ABBA is also preparing a virtual concert where the band’s new songs and older hits will be performed. The concert will feature versions of ABBA band members as
“Abba-tars” (digital characters). Producer Luvog Anderson tells The Guardian, “So when you see this show, it is not four people pretending to be ABBA, it is actually them!”

It seems that ABBA will be sticking around a little longer in our playlists after all, though they never left our hearts. As best put by the group in an interview with The Guardian, “To all of you who patiently have followed us in some way or another these past decades: Thank you for waiting—it’s time for a new journey to begin.”

This piece also appears in our September 2021 print edition.