In fact, ABBA’s catalog of unreleased music is almost as long as the list of their released music. This is perhaps not surprising considering the mechanical complexity of their music and how their “sound” was achieved by layering songs, instrument by instrument and voice by voice, in the studio. The performers themselves lived in the country before the preset – not that they needed it – but the songs themselves were crafted to perfection.
Over the years, some of those lost songs have resurfaced. i am the city, recorded in 1982 for an unreleased album, eventually made its mark on the 1993 compilation album More ABBA Gold, and Put on your white sombrero, intended for the 1980 album Super Troop, came out with the 1994 box set Thanks for the music. And Get on the carousel, never released on an album, can be heard in ABBA: the movie.
Others received either new lyrics or new titles, and repackaged. Sir Sir become My love my Life. In Rosalita’s arms become Chiquitita, turning “happy, as you can be / in Rosalita’s arms” in “try one more time, like you did before / sing a new chiquitita song.” And Happy hawaii (which was published) and The way of memory (which wasn’t) were both later reworked into one of the band’s biggest hits, Why did it have to be me?
And while ABBA’s “sound” seems to have survived intact – if there is anything to criticize about the new material, it would be that it is acoustically more connected to the 1970s and 1980s than to the 2020s, without no doubt intentionally – it is also It is true to say that in four decades the sound of the group, and in particular of its two singers, has also changed.
In their original iteration, one of the group’s most powerful weapons was the sweet blend of Lyngstad’s mezzo-soprano and Fältskog’s soprano vocals. On the new recordings, however, Fältskog’s voice is richer and more mature, slightly lower in the register (so much so that a British critic confused the work of Lyngstad and Fältskog when releasing the singles) and them. two voices seem less comfortable with the English lyrics, a pretty natural side effect of four decades away from touring the English-speaking world.
At the same time, there is definitely something ABBA left about assembling new material for Trip. The symbiotic communion of melancholy and joy that seemed to underline their best work: Slip through my fingers, Hasta Manana, Fernando and The winner takes it all. And the irresistible rhythm that permeates their most addictive music: Waterloo, Dancing queen, Money, money, money and Mom mia.
The bright side ? The album will be followed by a virtual concert experience, using “ABBA-tar” avatars, first in London, then on tour around the world. The wrong side? After the album’s release, the band will go their separate ways again, this time for good. Worse than the uncertainty of four decades of silence, it is a musical ending that cuts deeply.
“This is it,” Andersson said The Guardian when the new album is released. “It must be, you know. I never thought to myself that ABBA was never going to happen again, but I can tell you now: this is it. “