By Ava Zardynezhad, November 12 2021—
Did I stay up way too late on Nov. 5 listening to ABBA’s Voyage on Spotify? Yes. Did I cry puddles onto my pillow? Absolutely.
The release of this album was a monumental moment in 2021 that I had looked forward to for months, only to forget it was happening and be caught by surprise when the album popped up on Spotify early Friday morning.
After almost 40 years since their breakup, Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad came together once again to serenade the world with the sound of their sweet, sweet music — and it was everything the world was waiting for and more.
Doused in nostalgia, Voyage was a replay-worthy listen. The album features a lot of the same sounds that ABBA is famous for but there is also an added layer of modernism and maturity to it. The album is a reminder of Ulvaeus’ and Andersson’s genius and timeless songwriting. The music is fundamentally unchanged, with the same synth-pop, disco and folk influences, which appeals to the older generations who grew up on ABBA’s music. However, the sound is more finessed, being on par with today’s electronica and baroque pop. I couldn’t help but notice how orchestral the tracks on this album were — intentionally or not — bringing the voices and memories of many generations together.
Despite the attempts to make their sound younger, though, it was hard to miss just how much the voices I’d grown up with have aged.
In addition, whereas their older repertoire spoke of young love and heartbreak, the music of Voyage is a wholesome look back at the years gone by. Laced with memories of the past, as well as moments shared with old friends and their children, the music of Voyage is a portrait of reminiscence.
This album has a little bit of everything for everyone. “I Still Have Faith In You,” sets the tone for the album with its balance between old and new, as well as lyrics that emphasize the passage of time. “Little Things” is a new addition to my Holiday playlist. “Don’t Shut Me Down” is a fun reminder of the good old ABBA we all know and love. “Keep an Eye on Dan” is another mix of the familiar and the modern, finding a perfect, refreshing balance. “Bumblebee” has all the folk influences that we love about their older music like the TikTok-sensation “Chiquitita” or “Fernando.” Lastly, for some reason, “No Doubt About It” reminded me too much of “Waterloo” and got me excited and teary-eyed.
Overall, Voyage did not let me down. There are so many tracks on this album that I would come back to as many times as I have and do with the group’s classic hits. ABBA managed to reach a delicate balance between the old and the new with this album, so much that the modern influences aren’t noticeable enough to scare the older generations away and the classic elements aren’t as outdated not to pull newer listeners in. They managed to walk that fine line effortlessly — something that many artists of their time have failed to achieve in comebacks. Voyage was definitely worth the sleep deprivation and an album I will not soon forget about.