Attempting to balance the new and the old
Seamlessly pulling off the difficult mission of combining nostalgic sounds with modern ones, ABBA returns with their first album in 40 years titled Voyage. The Swedish pop ensemble have made small cameos in the music industry over the years featuring guitar solos for other artists in the same genre. However, given the gap since their own project rollout, the reunion was both unexpected and refreshing. Surprisingly, they’re even hosting a concert in the UK in 2022. Fans of the “Dancing Queen” creators have lots to be excited about.
Voyage is a melting pot of old and fresh tracks that show a bit of experimentation in ABBA’s creative process. They still incorporate the disco, hip-bumping groove along with a new type of pop production. What adds a greater development to the sense of nostalgia is the aged vocals and lyrics about old memories. This proves the genius of the songwriters of the group and how greatly constructed their music will always be.
As expected, a good handful of the tracks are true to the melodies of pop music like “Keep an Eye on Dan,” “Don’t Shut Me Down” and “No Doubt About It,” for example. Heavily arranged with hooks upon hooks, these songs also introduce unexpected musical choices. “Keep an Eye on Dan” has a hint of cowbells throughout the track, while “Don’t Shut Me Down” sprinkles a bit of reggae, which are interesting touches to pop. “Bumblebee” is another track on Voyage with carefully selected musical choices as it starts with a captivating flute intro.
“Don’t Shut Me Down,” in particular, is a beautifully melodic song in particular with lyrics that talk of the overall theme of the album: nostalgia. Its opening line, “A while ago, I heard the sound of children’s laughter/ Now it’s quiet, so I guess they left the park,” is a heart-wrenching grab about time passing. The devastating but strong tone of the vocals in “I Still Have Faith in You” also heavily reminisces on the concept of time.
The emotions engraved in Voyage are enough to make their long-time fans gravitate towards them yet again like they once did in the ‘70s. Bouncing back between groovy pop and modern pop, ABBA brings a refresher that quenches the thirst of lost nostalgia.