The famous Swedish band ABBA surprised and delighted its fans by announcing their first album together after forty years of separation.
The album, titled ABBA Voyage, will be released in November. The album’s release will be followed by the launch of a series of “new-of-its-kind” concerts, in which the band’s songs such as “Mamma Mia” and “Waterloo” will be performed using digital representations of the band’s members.
The four band members, separated since 1982, said they had reunited and had returned to the recording studio.
“It started with two songs, and then we said, ‘OK, maybe we should do more’,” said Benny Anderson.
He ended up recording ten songs, two of which were released at an international press conference on Thursday.
The first of the songs is “I still believe in you”, which is sentimental, sung with the accompaniment of the piano, and depicts the bond that unites the four members of the band.
“Who could have imagined that we would be where we are now?”
The second track is “Don’t Stop Me”, a melodrama in the form of the band’s old song, “The Day Before You Came,” which depicts the return of a woman to her partner after years of separation.
“You implored me not to leave, well here I am again – and I still love you” are those words sung by Waltzkog and Annie Fred Lingstad.
These two songs top the songs of the “ABBA Voyage” album, which is scheduled to be released on November 5, before the Christmas season.
Benny Anderson noted that the recording will include “some Christmas tunes, as well as a number of popular songs.”
Anderson added: “I think that’s very nice, we’ve found as much as we can at that age.”
A reunion of the band over the years has seemed elusive. The band squandered a billion dollars in tour value in 2000.
In an interview with the BBC in 2013, Agneta Waltzkog said she had preferred to leave the band in the past. Then she added, “It was a long time ago, and we are getting old, and we all have different lives.”
In a statement coinciding with Thursday’s announcement, Agneta said she “had no idea what to expect” when the group reunited in 2018.
“It was so nice to have the four of us back together in the studio and to hear Frida and Agneta again,” said Benny Anderson.
But the pianist admits to having a moment of doubt before the recording session.
“Five minutes before you got into the studio, I was like ‘I should’ve asked them if they could still sing,'” Anderson says, “but they did, and you’ll realize when you’re listening to the songs.”
However, none of the band members attended a press conference in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“Members daddy actually”
The new band’s songs will be performed in a virtual concert, and is scheduled to open next year in a specially prepared venue in east London.
The concert will be shown six evenings a week, and will include 22 songs, which will be performed by digital versions of the band members.
Tickets for the concert go on sale on September 7, starting at £21, with the opening night on May 27.
Electronic versions of the band’s characters were created by visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic, founded by George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars content.
More than 850 people worked on setting up the virtual show, using motion capture technology to depict the 70-year-old band members.
“Angna, Frida, Benny and Bjorn stood on stage in front of 160 cameras and the same number of VFX geniuses, and the four cast members performed all the songs of the show, over the course of five weeks,” said producer Ludwig Andersson.
“So, when you watch the show, you won’t be in front of digital copies pretending to be team members daddyBut they really are.”
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