The group are back with their first new album in nearly 40 years – has the wait been worth it?
The hype and excitement that has been building up surrounding the release of this album has been extraordinary and now that it is finally here – has it all been worth it? The answer to this question is a resounding yes – Voyage has plenty of songs that remind us all why ABBA were so popular and had so many hits in the first place.
One of the first things to note about this album is just how confident and well crafted it is. None of the songs feel out of place or like an attempt to create a record that reflects the type of other music that is being released today – ABBA know their strengths and they stick to the formula that they know well and it really pays off.
Each song is filled with heartfelt emotion and you can tell that both musically and vocally the group connect well to create a reflective but also in many ways a joyful atmosphere. Album opener ‘I Still Have Faith in You’ is a simply gorgeous and hopeful song about holding onto faith – and almost feels like a thank you letter to all the fans who have held onto the belief that ABBA would return. It is certainly one of the standout tracks on the album.
Elsewhere, I adored the breeziness of ‘When You Danced With Me’ which soars beautifully, providing a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the harmonies on display, while ‘Little Things’ is a classy and delicate song that sends shivers down the spine.
‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ has a wonderful confidence about it that is a reminder that ABBA have not felt the need to adjust their style with the time – relying on the strength of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson’s songwriting skills and Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s pitch perfect vocals.
The only perhaps minor slip up is ‘Keep an Eye On Dean’ which is perhaps the only song that doesn’t feel like it quite fits in somehow. It seems to be a little out of tone with the rest of the album unfortunately.
But the album does pick up again with the charming ‘Bumblebee’ and final number ‘Ode to Freedom’ which might over rely on the classical element at the start but it has a lovely lilting quality to it that brings the album to a close in a lovely way.
Overall, Voyage is a real pleasure to listen to from start to finish, created with great care and thought – it is a real welcome return for ABBA.
By Emma Clarendon
Voyage is available to buy and download now.