BY FINN JAROS '23
You may know ABBA as the main inspiration for Mamma Mia! or the Swedish pop group behind “Dancing Queen.” For me, they’re a group that I grew up with, and they remain one of my favorite bands today. Since their 1974 breakout album Waterloo, the group has heavily influenced the modern music industry. After ABBA’s disbandment in 1982, we never again got an album from them…until now! ABBA released their album Voyage on November 5, 2021, so naturally, I gave it a listen. Join me on a voyage through this diverse album—we’re sure to encounter a few dance tunes and tear-jerkers along the way.
“I Still Have Faith In You”
The opener “I Still Have Faith In You” has strong lyrical content. My favorite line is “For I know I hear a bittersweet song / In the memories we share.” I like to believe that these lyrics reference ABBA reminiscing about their past together, which makes me happy. Overall, its smooth lyrics accompanied by a full instrumental makes this tune a strong lead to the album.
“When You Danced With Me”
In retro-ABBA fashion, this song is electric. The chorus and instrumental break really get you grooving, especially with ABBA’s characteristic medieval polka vibe (see their song “Chiquitita”). The electronic synthesizers drive the song forward, making it an exciting listen.
“Just A Notion”
A strong, fun-filled rhythm takes the forefront of this rock ’n’ roll tune. The chorus is very catchy, and it is uplifted by the impressive vocal performances.
“Keep An Eye On Dan”
The name speaks for itself on this one. But why is it so specific? I was admittedly confused while listening to this—I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be funny or serious. What is this song? Who is Dan? So many questions, and so few answers.
“No Doubt About It”
This is another groovy ’70s classic. It's nice to see ABBA still making dance hits: they are the dancing queens, after all. This is definitely one of the stronger titles from the album’s second half.
“Ode To Freedom”
This track closes the album with a beautiful instrumental and high quality production. This song is whimsical and enchanting with the delicate sounds it presents. I'm glad that this album, while somewhat tumultuous, has a satisfying ending.
Despite its dimmer moments, the album overall has good sound and feeling. It's different from old ABBA, which is understandable after a forty-year hiatus. Did we need it? No. But did it spread much-needed joy? Yes. And at the end of the day, no matter how many brain cells we may have lost pondering why we need to keep an eye on Dan, good tunes will triumph.