ABBA’s ‘Voyage’, nostalgia as an alibi



After more than forty years without news, but not in silence (in this time they have added zeros to their accounts with compilations and appearances in musicals and soundtracks), ABBA were reborn from the ashes of nostalgia a month and a half ago, when they released the simple ones ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ y ‘Don’t Shut Me Down‘, promising previews of’ Voyage ‘, his new album and at the same time his swan song, and therefore the Record event of the year. The presentation of the project at an online press conference had a first-rate media impact, since within a few days 120,000 copies had already been reserved in Great Britain alone, and the printing of the corresponding vinyl LPs has monopolized in recent months the production of European factories for the Christmas season.

Those two songs, pure brand of the house, were followed by a third and final advance published a few days ago with the title of ‘Just a notion’, which like the previous ones, was composed at the end of the seventies and had been in a drawer all this time. This is a wonderful song, probably the best of the whole album, which was mysteriously discarded from the final repertoire of the 1979 album ‘Voulez Vous’, and which has a notorious difference with the other two singles: they have been re-recorded on the occasion of the ‘Voyage’ edition, but the vocals on ‘Just a notion’ are the originals from the September 1978 recording.

After the start with the epic ballad of the aforementioned ‘I Still Have Faith In You’, ‘Voyage’ hits the mark by raising the rhythmic revolutions with the Celtic air of ‘When you dance with me’, a manual ‘feel good-song’ that can work as well in the grandeur of a stadium as in the warmth of a house with a fireplace at Christmas. The third cut is ‘Little things’, which also appeals to the days of Santa Claus but with a flickering delicacy somewhat cloying, and the fourth is the already known ‘Don’t shut me down’, which instantly seduces by spinning in the same orbit as classics like ‘The winner takes it all’, ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘The Day Before You Came’.

The very lazy ‘I can be that woman‘ and ‘Keep an eye on Dan’ they will only go down in history for having been included as fillers in ABBA’s latest work, and the album is nearing the end with ‘Bumble Bee’ (nothing to do with the demo ‘Free as a Bumble Bee’ from 1978 that circulates on the Internet), a heavenly and dreamlike melody that has more hook thanks to an effective counterpoint of military rhythm. In the chorus of ‘No doubt about it’ Yes, the usual power of the Swedish band shines with a sing-along in conditions that highlights their good vocal form and manages to evoke the best times of ABBA, but the inconsequential monastic closure of ‘Ode to freedom’ it provokes another twisted gesture at the worst moment, the one at the end of the album, striking down the desire to repeat a complete ‘trip’ that has three or four attractive stops, but many others with little to do.

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