December 3, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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ABBA: Comfort and indifference

ABBA: Comfort and indifference

It was one of the most anticipated comebacks in pop history. We expect unexpected returns or higher. But against all odds, ABBA is back to life with its first album in 40 years and a new “digital” tour. Event? Absolutely. Success? It depends.


Jean-Christophe Lawrence

Jean-Christophe Lawrence
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Unexpected journey

It has been exactly 39 years since the Swedish group recorded any new songs. Bj ఉrn Ulvais, Benny Anderson, Annie-Friedlingstad and Agneta Fault‌sgog split in 1982 after the album’s release. Visitors, After the separation of their respective couples.

ABBA members always said the adventure ended well.

Bijorn and Benny continue to nurture the ABBA legacy through theater and cinema (O mother), Agneta and Annie-Fried have become very rare in public space. The ABBA book seemed to be closed for good, we have to settle for the same old hits and ideal memory.

But since 2018, rumors have been circulating that it will return. And this was confirmed with the release of two new songs in early September, I still have faith in you And Do not shut me down, Yet big announcement foreword: new album launch, Voyage, Their ninth, which has just been published.

Photo provided by Universal

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson

The Noise Pop spread across the planet like Aquavit’s trail. Degraded during his lifetime ABBA became a standard in pop music over time. The legend has survived with new generations, thanks to the movie (O mother), The most successful albums (ABBA Gold) And Tourism (ABBA Museum in Stockholm).

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The band has sold over 380 million records in all formats since its debut in 1974, making it one of the most popular groups in pop history, including The Queen and the Beatles.

The immersive experience

All in all this return is no small matter. Especially since it comes with another big news: a new scene scheduled for the month of May in a new hall specially created in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Do not rejoice too quickly. ABBA members will not be there. At least not in person. It will be an “immersive experience” where Björn, Benny, Anni-Frid and Agnetha are represented by digital avatars, renamed “ABBAtars” …

This project has been in the campaign since 2016. Show creator Simon Fuller Pop Idol, ABBA wanted to create a concert in the form of holograms. The group eventually turned to the Industrial Light & Magic Company, founded by George Lucas for a digital concert, where photographs of musicians appear in digital form in 3D.

On the screen? On stage? Mystery still surrounds this aspect of the product. But it was learned that the Abbots needed five weeks of studio work, 75 technicians, 160 cameras and that ABBA members filmed with sensors and from all angles would be represented in a revived form, as seen in their apotheosis. In 1979. We also know that an orchestra of 10 musicians will be accompanying their film on stage, where they will perform their 22 greatest hits as well as their new ones. Singles.

We talk about “residence” six evenings a week. Since ABBA members are not physically involved in the operation (those who no longer want to stage), nothing can stop the circus from moving. Or it gives ideas to other aging structures that want to ensure their stability …

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Not so bad, not so good

There is something strange about seeing this UFO from the last earth. Much has changed since the pop climax The queen of dance, Fernando And Waterloo. Rap, Electronics and R’n’B are all there …

But at an average age of 75, Benny (74) and Bjorn (76) have nothing to prove clear. Says he wrote new songs The trend is blind, Without having to worry about mods, it contrasts sharply with the technomodern concept of their new virtual concert.

Photo provided by Universal

Swedish quartet during the working session

So ABBA fans will find a monotonous ensemble, with its “vintage” production, its superposed female voices (wonderfully intact), its well-drawn melodies, and the more rhythmic alternative (When you dance with me, Do not shut me down, No doubt about it) And sad songs (Ode to Freedom), Not to mention the very family Christmas song.

This terra cognita trip assures nostalgic people. But comfort also triggers indifference. If more grown pieces make you laugh, slower pieces will have no tone and no passion. The lightning and brilliance of Glorious Seventies Faded. The crucial momentum is not always there. It can be a little soft at times.

Everyone has controversial knowledge and recognizable style. It has already been taken.

Note that Agneta, 71, and Annie-Fried, 75, participated in this reunion on one condition: they did not participate in the album promotion. It was suspended for 24 hours after two spectators died during a concert in ABBA on Wednesday in Stockholm.

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Is it a bad omen?