ABBA MAKE A COMEBACK THROUGH A NEW ALBUM AND DIGITAL CONCERT
After 40 years, the global phenomenon group finally make their way back to the stage by releasing a new album and digital concert.
One of the most successful music groups, ABBA, finally announced its comebacks on Thursday, September 2, 2021.
The group announced their new studio album, the first album in 40 years after their break-up. Not only that, but they will also hold a set of virtual concerts where avatars of the band will perform digitally at a specially built venue in London’s Olympic Park.
It’s been 40 years since the members, Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson got together after their split in 1982. The reunion has been such a delightful surprise for the fans. Since the group always denied they would ever perform live again.
It was reported that in 2000, they even turned down the offer of 1 billion Euro for a world tour. But then, in 2016, ABBA announced a plan for a “digital entertainment experience”. But it was repeatedly postponed.
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The new album called "Voyage" will be released next November 5. But the first two songs, "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don’t Shut Me Down", can already be streamed right now. You could also watch the music video, which features the digitalized avatars of the group members.
It’s all started when they were working on the stage show. Andersson said that at first, it was just two songs. Then they said maybe they should do a few others.
One thing really led to another. In the end, they recorded 10 tracks—two of which were premiered during a globally-streamed press conference on Thursday. The album will consist of 10 songs, including a Christmas song.
The first song, "I Still Have Faith in You", is an affectionate piano ballad portraying the four members' bond.
“It’s about realizing that it's inconceivable to be where we are. No imagination could dream up that, to release an album after 40 years and still be the best of friends, and still be enjoying each other's company, and have a total loyalty. Who has experienced that? Nobody,” said Björn.
A digital concert
Not only will you get a brand new album, but a whole new concert experience. The concert, also called Voyage, is not your typical concert.
Digital versions of each member will appear nightly alongside a 10-piece live band at a new 3.000-capacity venue in London’s Olympic park, called the Abba Arena.
It is a revolutionary kind of concert. The “Abba-tars”–ABBA virtual avatars—were designed by Industrial Light and Magic, the visual effects company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas.
More than 850 people worked on recreating the Abba-tars. Over the course of five weeks, the band members performed every song to 160 cameras. Every movement was recorded to create the virtual images.
These digital versions of ABBA were created using motion capture technology, similar to those used by Andy Serkis and others to portray CGI beasts in Hollywood movies. The group shared some photos showing them wearing skintight suits for lifelike recreations.
Those technologies could scan every mannerism and motion of the musician, who are now in their 70s, as they performed. The result, a very lifelike digital ABBA “in their prime” years.
“So when you see this show, it is not four people pretending to ABBA, it is actually them,” explained producer Ludvig Andersson.
“The only big problem was that we had to shave our beards,” Björn said.
The concert will be held six nights a week, beginning in May 2022. They will play ABBA's greatest hits, both the old and new, to the audiences. Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
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Who is ABBA?
ABBA is a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. It consists of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, in which the group name is the acronym of the first letters of their names.
During their career, it consisted of two married couples; Fältskog and Ulvaeus, and Lyngstad and Andersson. But with the increase of their popularity, their personal lives suffered, which eventually resulted in the collapse of both marriages. The divorces are believed to be one of the reasons the group disbanded in 1982.
An important part of pop culture
Despite the four decades hiatus, many said ABBA is one of the most successful pop groups of all time. To date, ABBA is said to have made about €2 billion (Rp33,8 trillion) in profits.
They topped the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1983. They have sold at least 380 million albums since their breakthrough at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, and some estimates even put it at 500 million records.
For decades, ABBA’s influence on pop culture has continued to grow. The stage musical Mamma Mia!, taken from their top songs, debuted in 1999. Recently, it’s reopened in London’s West End.
Then there’s a 2008 film version of the musical, starred by Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, making more than £440 million (Rp8,6 trillion) in the global box office. The movie also got its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which made £285 million (Rp5,6 trillion) globally.
Long before the musical and movie, their song catalog was already one of the most successful in all pop music. In the mid-1970s, six out of seven singles in a row reached No. 1 in the UK: "Fernando", "Mamma Mia", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me Knowing You", "Name of the Game", and "Take a Chance on Me".
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