ABBA, the Swedish band, revealed their first new record in four decades on Thursday, as well as plans to do a series of virtual performances in London next year utilizing digital avatars of themselves.
Fans flooded to social media to rejoice at the long-awaited reunion of one of the world’s most popular bands. In one highly circulated Twitter message, @elliemiles23 wrote, “2021 has been saved by new ABBA music,”
The band announced during the webcast premiere that the album “Voyage” will be released on November 5. On Thursday, they revealed two of the album’s ten songs: “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.”
“First it was just two songs,” songwriter Benny Andersson said in a pre-recorded video message.
“Then we said ‘maybe we should do, I don’t know, a few others. What do you say girls?’ And they said ‘yeah’ and then I asked ‘why don’t we do a full album?'”
The recording went smoothly, co-songwriter Bjorn Ulvaeus said. “It all came rushing back in a matter of seconds.”
“I knew when Benny played the melody it just had to be about us,” he added about “I Still Have Faith In You”. The new album will also include a Christmas song “Little Things”.
The concerts will take place at purpose-built ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in May, it will stage the digital versions of its four stars Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
The “abbatars” were created with motion capture technology, same way they used to create Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”. The members will show the same way as seen in 1979.
“The only big problem was that we had to shave our beards,” Andersson said.
The concerts will have 22 songs, with 2 new releases and “sort of a greatest hits” compilation, including “Dancing Queen”.
Ulvaeus said ABBA decided on London because the group felt welcome there.
“Somehow, we have always felt that the Brits see us as their own – it feels like that when we come here every time,” he said.
Faltskog said when recording back with the members, she did not know what to expect. “But Benny’s recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment, and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself.”