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6 September 2021, 22:10
ABBA are back!
The iconic Swedish group has confirmed that they have reunited for new music and a tour (of sorts), but what exactly is happening and when?
Here is all the important info you need to know...
ABBA have actually recorded new music for the first time in 35 years. In 2018, it was confirmed that ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Anderson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad had been back in the studio together.
Voyage will be ABBA's first album since 1982's The Visitors, and will be supported by a special concert to be held in East London.
Voyage will be released worldwide on November 5.
A second song 'Don't Shut Me Down' was also released on Friday (September 3).
ABBA said in a statement: "It’s been a while since we made music together. Almost 40 years, actually. We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it.
"They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to The Visitors. To tell the truth, the main inspiration to record again comes from our involvement in creating the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of.
ABBA also released a couple of photos from the recording session:
Sadly, ABBA themselves aren't going to be performing live together. But they are going on tour! Hear us out.
Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid will perform digitally with a live 10-piece band, in a purpose-built arena called The ABBA Arena in London from May 27, 2022, and will be supported by a brand new studio album.
The digital versions of ABBA were created via months of motion-capture and performance techniques with the four band members, and an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic, the company founded by George Lucas.
Pre-registration for tickets will open tonight (September 2) on abbavoyage.com, with tickets on general sale from Tuesday September 7.
ABBA said: "We’re going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs on a stage in a custom-built arena in London next spring. Weird and wonderful!"
Back in 2018, it was first announced that special 'Abbatars' will represent the four members of the Swedish pop group for an upcoming digital show.
Björn Ulvaeus said that the two-hour show will be broadcast in the UK and simulcast across the world.
A world tour was then planned for 2019 or 2020, but of course, that didn't happen.
The band will appear as they looked back in 1979, thanks to special hi-tech imaging equipment. "We thought we looked good that year," Ulvaeus said. "You'll hear the voices of ABBA coming out of the mouths of the Abbatars.
"You won't be able to see that they're not human beings. It'll be spooky, I assure you, but great fun and no one has done it before."
Benny Andersson has said that the group don't have "anything to prove" with their new material.
"I don't feel that we have to prove anything," he told BBC News. "I don't feel we have to think about, 'Oh, what if it was better before?'
"Maybe it was, but we can't care about that. We do it because we think it was a good thing to do." He added: "We enjoyed it very much. We'll see. I hope you'll like them."
Benny explained that the songs were created while he and Bjorn Ulvaeus were working on a project featuring the band as touring avatars.
"So we said, 'Hmm, maybe we should try and write a couple of songs, ask the ladies if they want to come in and sing'. And they said, 'Yeah, absolutely'. So it was just, out of pure joy I'd say.
"He also revealed more details on what the songs may sound like."One of the songs is like we would've written it [for] today. The other, we could've written in 1972. So I don't know, we'll see. I mean, they're not finished yet.
"We have the vocals, they're all recorded, we haven't mixed it, we haven't worked them through, really, but I think they're pretty good.
"When asked if he thought it would serve Abba's legacy well, Bjorn added: "I think so. It certainly sounds Abba very much."
Benny said: "As soon as Frida [Anni-Frid Lyngstad] and Agnetha [Faltskog] start singing, that's when it sounds Abba."
ABBA's business manager also dampened hopes of a full ABBA reunion tour, saying that the foursome will never perform live together again.
At the world premiere of Mamma Mia 2, Benny and Bjorn gave more details about the songs and hinted that there might be a third track.
Describing ABBA's two brand new songs, Bjorn told the Press Association: “One of them is a pop tune, very danceable. The other is more timeless, more reflective, that is all I will say. It is Nordic sad, but happy at the same time.”
He added: “I think that exuberant quality of the two ladies [Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad] together singing, that makes the saddest song a bit uplifting, anyway I think that is what happens and that is very organic, that isn’t calculated, that just happened that way.”
Meanwhile, Benny hinted that he has a potential third song coming. He said: “Yeah it is but don’t tell anyone. If we do a third one, it won’t be out until we go on the road.”
The full tracklisting is as follows: