Thursday, December 9

‘A Huge Cultural Moment’: Readers Respond to Abba’s Return | Abba

‘I’m glad they came back and very touched to hear their new music’

Like most fans, I suppose I received the news of the return with some trepidation. What if they show their near-perfect legacy? But Benny and Björn are such talented writers and producers that I was confident it would be okay. When I heard Agnetha and Anni-Frid sing together for the first time in over 40 years, I was delighted, encouraged. His music, even in its most conventional form, has a deep emotional core that few pop writers and performers can touch. I’m glad they came back and very moved to hear this music for the first time.

My parents were Abba fans, so I listened to their music in the 70s. It reminds me of home, Saturday morning TV and Top of the Pops. As an adult, I bought Gold in the early 90’s and marveled at his songwriting skills and those amazing voices. They still amaze me. There is no better version of pop music anywhere. In my opinion, they are equal to Lennon / McCartney and Motown in their sixties pageantry. Adam Sear, 51, music teacher and primary supply, Oxfordshire

‘Her ability to sing may have been compromised’

What struck me in the first song was how low the women’s voices were. I sing in a semi-professional choir. I’m a tall guy with a wide range but I could barely hit his low notes. One of Abba’s main selling points has always been its ability to sing, achieved through writing for a very comfortable vocal range. That may have been jeopardized. Other than that I loved the idea! Abba has always been a part of my life from Waterloo to singing Mamma Mia with my choir in front of 1,300 people. Sophie Herdon, 54, TEFL teacher, Murcia, Spain

‘The two new songs feel good: thoughtful, mature and uplifting’

James Mayhew's first published illustration in Abba magazine.
James Mayhew’s first published illustration in Abba magazine.

It’s like the excitement of a new Abba album in the 70s. A new release always felt special, but never more so than after a 40-year wait! The two new songs feel good: thoughtful, mature, and uplifting, with just a slight tinge of melancholy. I still have faith in you seems to be a message of forgiveness, and it is what we all long for, that they be happy and be at peace, so that we can be too.

I have so many memories. My parents refused to let me go to London to see them in concert (I have never forgiven them!). When Björn and Agnetha got divorced, they broke my heart. I thought it would be the end. Then in 1980, The Winner Takes It All brought them back to number 1 and everything was fine again. In fact, my first published illustration was in Abba magazine, a finalist in an art competition. The downside was the terrible bullying and ridicule I faced at school, but I never wavered in my affections. I feel quite vindicated these days. James Mayhew, 57, children’s book author and illustrator, Suffolk

‘In an instant when listening to the new music, the watch took me back to my youth and a simpler time’

My original thoughts were apprehensive. This had every chance to go wrong. Although I was tremendously excited, I decided to listen alone. I still have faith in you. I took a deep breath, hit play, and all apprehension dissolved. Frida’s voice is as strong as ever. Woof-oh-woof! The boys’ talents remain intact and like all great Abba songs, the ease of the song is a brilliant take on the complexity and craftsmanship that keeps it loud, clear, and strong. There is only one step between his latest recordings and this one. In an instant when listening to the new music, the watch took me back to my youth and a simpler time.

I don’t see this as a new beginning for Abba; rather, the coda we’ve been waiting for 39 years. And what an amazing coda it is – the perfect hymn that reflects his legacy. Bravo to them. I was introduced to Abba with Voulez-Vous. I was 11 years old and I was immediately hooked. I bought the LPs, the singles, the posters. I imagined that Björn and Agnetha were my real mom and dad. I looked for his music in Spanish, Swedish, French and German. I found the oddities (which was a feat before streaming and the internet!) And when Abba got unpopular, I was still singing and wasting my cassettes. And then a new generation came along and understood Abba’s joy. What a joy, what a life, what an opportunity. David Barrett, 52, works in communications, Copenhagen

‘For a band with such an exciting sound, it was disappointing that they didn’t take a chance on something a little more ambitious.’

Any time is a perfect time for Abba to return, but the pop scene in 2021 makes today even more perfect than usual; the disco is everywhere in the sound of current artists and people are looking for a reason to dance and feel good. I would have almost expected them to come back with an album of collaborations with the likes of Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, etc.

So it seemed a bit odd that their pair of new tracks started off with a ballad, with fairly soft synth strings filling it out. For a band with such an exciting sound, it was disappointing that they didn’t take a chance, ch-ch-cha-chance on something a little more ambitious. However, Don’t Shut Me Down, the pair’s second track, is a total hit and would happily nest alongside any of their powerful original classics on a Best of album. Jack O, 33, Community Engagement Officer, Oxford

‘It seemed like a huge and shared cultural moment’

When I was watching the return of the Abba live stream, I felt an exciting buzz that made me think, “OMG, I love pop music.” It really seemed like a huge, shared cultural moment of a kind that we haven’t had in a long time. time and desperately needed. People often talk about the melancholic core of Abba’s songs, but really, it’s all about joy and my gosh we need it in 2021.

The return is great. People don’t usually like it when our pop legends visibly grow old in front of us and continue to make music that often bears little resemblance to the songs we loved in our youth, but this succeeds in satisfying everyone. Hardcore pop fans who pore over album lyrics and cuts and B-sides have new music to devour, while all casual listeners, for whom Abba is the soundtrack to a million brilliant memories, keep the hologram. with Abba in his imperial phase. All of us who accompany us on the trip will have a great time.

Growing up queer, Abba was always there, central icons of our shared canon long before they were granted entry to traditional rock. Erasure’s Abba-esque EP was probably my first conscious exposure, me at 12 sitting and noticing the camp men in drag singing extraordinary pop songs. The incomparable Gold that followed a few months later: a single record of euphoric brilliance that was so undeniable that it completely destroyed any lingering idea that Abba was “naff” or uncool. Abba was a constant touchstone when times were tough and always will be. Philip Matusavage, 41, charity worker, London

‘I was always hopeful’

We’re so lucky ?! I thought they would (most likely) never release new music as the years went by, but I was always hopeful. I set my alarm for 2.45am and I watched and listened live (along with a friend who lives in Sydney) and when I first heard those familiar harmonies after all these years, my eyes filled with tears and it became goose bumps!

I am so grateful that they have given fans new music, and at such a much needed time with everything that is happening in the world. It’s the first time I’ve felt this happy in months (lockdown fatigue) and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. Abba brought me a lot of joy as a teenager and they were a big part of my life for several years. Some musicians / musicians / bands come and go and you leave them behind, but Abba has always stayed, always making you smile, making you want to dance, or stirring up emotions with his ballads. The love I felt for them as a teenager has truly been rekindled. Who would have thought after all these years? Denise, 56, works in ceramics, Victoria, Australia.

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