December 1, 2021

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ABBA: Comfort and indifference

ABBA: Comfort and indifference

This is one of the most anticipated comebacks in pop history. Income or more that we did not expect. But against all odds, ABBA is reviving its first album in 40 years and with a new “digital” tour. Event? Of course. Success? It depends.


Jean-Christophe Lawrence

Jean-Christophe Lawrence
Press

Unexpected trip

It has been exactly 39 years since the Swedish band recorded new songs. After the album’s release in 1982, Bjrn Ulvais, Penny Anderson, Annie-Fried Lingstadt and Agneta Faltsock parted ways. The audience, After the separation of the respective couple.

ABBA members always said the adventure was over well and truly over.

Björn and Benny continue to nurture the ABBA tradition through drama and cinema (Oh uncle), Agneta and Annie-Fried have become very rare in public. The ABBA book seemed to be well closed, and we had to deal with the same old successes and a better memory.

But since 2018, rumors of a return have spread. And this was confirmed in the release of two new songs in early September. I still have faith in you And Dont Shut Me Down, Introduction to the Bigger Announcement: Release of New Album, Travel, Their ninth, which has just been released.

Photo provided by Universal

Björn Ulvaeus and Penny Anderson

The Chatter Aquavit spread like a trail across the planet Bob. Disgraced during his lifetime, ABBA became a standard in pop music over time. Myth survives with new generations, thanks to cinema (Oh uncle), Albums of great success (ABA Gold) And Tourism (ABBA Museum in Stockholm).

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The band is said to have sold more than 380 million records in all formats since its inception in 1974, making it one of the most popular groups in pop history alongside the Queen and the Beatles.

An in-depth experience

Having said all this this return is no small matter. Especially since it comes with another big news: a new scene planned for May, in a new hall created for the event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Do not rejoice too soon. There will be no ABBA members. At least not in person. It will be a “high-speed experience” represented by digital incarnations of Bjorn, Penny, Annie-Fried and Agneta, here renamed “ABBAtars” …

The project has been on air since 2016. The show was created by Simon Fuller Pop Idol, Wanted to create an ABBA concert in hologram format. The group finally returned to Industrial Light & Magic, founded by George Lucas for a digital concert, where photographs of the musicians would appear in digital form in 3D.

On screens? On a platform? Mystery still surrounds this aspect of production. But the fathers needed five weeks of studio work, 75 technicians, 160 cameras, and ABBA members, sensors and filmed from all angles, as they appeared, to be represented in a refreshing form. In 1979. We also know that a band of 10 musicians will be coming on stage with their film, where they will perform 22 best hits and their new ones. Singles.

We talk about “residence” six evenings a week. Since the operation did not physically involve members of the ABBA (those who no longer wanted to perform on stage), nothing prevented the circus from moving. Or it gives ideas to other aging organizations that want to ensure their sustainability …

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Not so bad, not so good

There is something strange about watching this UFO from the past. Bob has changed a lot since the climax The queen of dance, Fernando And Waterloo. Rob, Electronics and R’n’B are all there …

But at an average age of 75, Penny (74) and Bjorn (76) obviously didn’t prove anything. They say he wrote new songs The trend is blind, Without worrying about methods that seriously contradict the technomodern concept of their new virtual concert.

Photo provided by Universal

Swedish quartet during a work session

Thus, ABBA fans will find an unchanging ensemble that is immediately recognizable by its “vintage” production, its exaggerated female voices (wonderfully intact), its well-drawn melodies, and the change of high rhythm songs (When you danced with me, Dont Shut Me Down, No doubt about it) And melancholy ballads (Ode to Freedom), Not to mention the very family Christmas song.

This Terra Cognida trip will reassure the nostalgic public. But comfort also triggers indifference. If overly elevated pieces make you laugh, slower pieces will lack tone and interest. The glitter and brilliance of glory Seventies Faded. The key speed is not always. It can be a little soft at times.

There is undeniable intellect and style that is recognizable to all. This has already been taken.

Note that 71-year-old Agneta and 75-year-old Annie-Fried participated in this reunion on one condition: they were not involved in the promotion of the album. It was suspended for 24 hours following the deaths of two spectators at a tribute to ABBA in Stockholm on Wednesday.

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Bad omen?