ABBA Return to Us Just in Time
Open your eyes, look around and just listen. Wherever we turn are countless examples of despair; turning on the news provides the optics that demonstrate this every day. Whether you want to admit it or not, 2021 has been a difficult year. With global pandemics, wars, natural disasters, and just life in general it seems like we are just going through the motions and looking for answers. The pandemic has caused us to reevaluate what’s important and perhaps shift our priorities.
If you attend live performances, you already know that countless concerts and music festivals are being postponed and in some cases cancelled. Regardless of your age and the genre of music you love, music has always been the bridge that unites the world. Go to any concert, and you will experiences a sense of unity across race, color, and creed. For that few hours of time, everyone comes together as one.
One of the most prolific bands of all time has just reunited. It has been 40 years since we last saw singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad and multi-instrumentalists Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson perform together as ABBA. The super-pop group broke up in 1982; perhaps they thought at that time it would last a few years, but the split lasted nearly 40. They had their own reasons to be apart, and they didn’t owe us anything. After all their work was complete, they moved on into new lives outside of music. It was their right, and they earned it. In the 1970s ABBA ruled the world, yet we took them for granted. We thought this incredibly talented group will continue to deliver their gifts; little did we know that they are people, too. They had the issues similar to many of ours, including highly publicized divorces that would ultimately create dee- seated resentment among them internally that would last nearly four decades. Yet the world waited patiently with the hope that one day a more mature version of them would realize that time heals and life is about chapters and not simply one long paragraph.
With all four in their mid-70s it is that time. Perhaps they realized that their legacy shouldn’t be left the way it was. There needed to be closure, for them and for us. Perhaps one last dance, the swan song we have waited for. On Tuesday, September 2, ABBA released two singles that will be on the band’s ninth studio album, Voyage. The world has responded. Across social media are stories about how their music has impacted the lives of so many. Tales of listening to the band’s tunes as children with their parents who have long left this earth. You see ABBA’s legacy has never been about incredible music in the traditional sense but more abut the impact of their songs and how we connect to the lyrics of each song. In listening to the new cuts, the band picks up where they left off. In early November, the band will release the 10-track studio album.
On a global scale, in every corner of the world, there hasn’t been this level of excitement since Beatlemania in the 1960s. Ask anyone who knows anything about the music business, and they will tell you that an ABBA tour would be the greatest-selling tour of all time. Fans have been waiting for decades; here in North American their last tour was in 1979. ABBA will have a concert next year, if you’re lucky to score a ticket. You won’t need to travel beyond your living room. They will appear in London in a custom-built stage that will have the band performing live, but we won’t be seeing them as they are today; each has an avatar likeness that will appear on their behalf.
Why, you ask? The answer lies among them; perhaps they want us to remember them in tight-fitting outfits they wore in the 1970s. What ABBA don’t truly understand is that we accept them as they are; like all of us we must face the fact the we too have aged. After a 40-year hiatus, we aren’t expecting a 20-year-old blond Agatha; we accept all of them as they are. What we want more than anything is their gift of music. We have waited. Perhaps when they realize then can remove the veil, the world will prove that no matter what they look like, we love them as they are. For now, there is something to be excited about: ABBA’s beacon is shining bright and has given us hope again.