After 40 years, ABBA are back with their latest album. travel, and a successful immersive performance. The music icons had a few starts and stops on the project, but they captured their original essence at every step.
According to the BBC, ABBA planned theirs travel Project back in 2016. They announced that all four original members, Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, would be returning for a “new entertainment experience” that would be immersive and incorporate virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
The group would perform on stage as ABBatars or as their younger selves. In 2014, Ulvaeus told Billboard that fans “will never see us on stage again … we don’t need the money, for one.”
The Eurovision winners hoped the experience would bring their music to a new generation of fans “in a way previously unimaginable”, according to a press release. Then, in 2018, they announced they’d added new songs to the project (per the Guardian). These were the first songs ABBA recorded since the split.
“The decision to proceed with the exciting Abba Avatar Tour project had an unexpected consequence,” ABBA said in a statement. “We all felt that after about 35 years it might be fun to get back together and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was as if time had stood still and we had only been on vacation for a short time. An extremely joyful experience!”
The project had many starts and stops, but slowly the group recorded more songs. Then the pandemic delayed Voyage’s immersive experience and album. However, they released two songs, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”.
Ulvaeus told the Guardian that he and ABBA wrote theirs travel follows “absolutely trend-blind”. That means they didn’t take inspiration from contemporary music. The group wanted to capture their original essence in the new songs.
They also chose this path because, as Andersson admitted, “there is nothing in contemporary things to cling to, nothing to emulate”.
“We decided early on that we wouldn’t look at anything else,” Ulvaeus said of the current charts. “We’re just going to make the songs, the best songs we can make right now. That meant writing lyrics that I could infuse with some of my thoughts from the last 40 years and adding a kind of depth that I hope will come with age and differentiate it from the lyrics I wrote 40 years ago.”
After years of planning and delays, ABBA’s travel Project is finally here and has been received with great success. The immersive experience attracts fans from all over the world. Meanwhile, her new album was nominated for four Grammy Awards at the 2023 Grammys.
ABBA is nominated for Album of the Year, Record of the Year (“Don’t Shut Me Down”), Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (“Don’t Shut Me Down”), and Best Pop Vocal Album.
ABBA said so travel will probably be their last album. Obviously, they’re going out with a bang.