Abba: why the Swedish band does not go out of style

Abba fans gathered in Stockholm to hear Thursday's announcement.

Abba fans gathered in Stockholm to hear Thursday’s announcement.


“Abba saved 2021”, “You saved my life”, “I AM CRYING WITH HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW”.

Those are just a few of the comments posted in reaction to a TikTok video of the group’s Benny Andersson playing an instrumental piano version of one of the new tracks.

Swedish pop legends joined the social network – whose users are mostly under the age of 30 – last week, in anticipation of the long-awaited announcement of their new material.

In less than five days, their official account had amassed nearly a million followers and the nine videos they have posted so far have been viewed nearly 30 million times.

Pop stars like Mabel and Zara Larsson have posted their own versions of the new songs on the platform.

“From the sheer number of video creations and views, it’s clear that our community around the world has a lot of love for the band and its sound,” says Paul Hourican, UK Chief Music Operations Officer for TikTok.

Endurance

Only a few artists have music that is truly timeless, and that remains as fresh, bright, and beautiful 40 or 50 years later as it was on the day it was first released. Abba is very close to the top of that list.

Abba fans in New York.

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People of all ages celebrated Abba’s new album.

While some of the new generation of fans have discovered the band on social media (the TikTok #DancingQueenChallenge had more than 160 million views as of early 2021), many learned about Abba’s music through their parents or through the movies and stage productions of Mamma Mia.

If proof of your endurance was needed, Abba Gold (first released in 1992) was the UK’s 20th best-selling album in the first six months of 2021 and it recently became the first LP to spend 1,000 weeks on the list of the top 100 albums in that country.

Young fans have never seen Abba perform live, so for many the closest thing has been to seeing tribute concerts.

“It’s crazy to see a sea of ​​very young faces enjoying Abba’s music,” he told the program. Today BBC Radio 4’s Rod Stephen, co-founder of the group Bjorn Again, which pays tributes to Abba.

All the lyrics are known, he said. “How does that happen? Well I can assume that your parents maybe saw Oh Mama! or they put Abba Gold or something like that and played it relentlessly and were exposed to it. “

“Really beautiful”

One of those who grew up with Abba Gold was singer-songwriter Maisie Peters.

“They remind me so much of my childhood and the joy and innocence of being a kid and listening to Abba and Abba Gold in the car and saying, ‘This is the best I’ve ever heard,'” the 21-year-old told the BBC. Breakfast.

Lily James, Cher and Amanda Seyfried went to the premiere of Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again, in 2018

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The two “Mamma Mia!” grossed more than $ 1 billion at the box office.

“I remember hearing Abba Gold in the car and with my sister. But I still listen to it all the time and it’s super inspiring for me, ”he added.

“He was very brave. Very challenging to the rules and to the genre. The songwriting and the musicality and the voice, everything is far above everything. I think it’s so creative, really beautiful, ”he said.

Artists from all corners of the musical spectrum welcomed the band, from experimental songwriter Jane Weaver to Sister Bliss of the group Faithless.

Melancholy troubadour Ron Sexsmith tweeted “NEW ABBA RECORDING !!! THE BEST NEWS OF ALL!!!”.

But being a fan of Abba was not always so fashionable. They were overlooked for a time after parting ways in the early 1980s, and their image was often dismissed in bad taste. But the quality of his classic melodies was never really in doubt.

Mazz Murray, who currently plays Donna Sheridan in a staging of Oh Mama! He said the songs have “stood the test of time for decades.”

She told BBC Breakfast: “They’re attracting new audiences all the time, and thanks to things like Oh Mama!… We are reaching a wider audience all the time. The songs are excellent. There is no doubt that things like Winner Takes It All they are the best songs ever written ”.

Abba

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The group has more than 17 million monthly listeners on Spotify, where Dancing Queen, Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) and Oh Mama are the most popular tracks. And young listeners are the biggest fans, according to the platform of streaming.

“It was a wonderful surprise to discover that 18-24 year olds are the main streamers From Abba, ”said Spotify UK Music Director Sulinna Ong.

“Importantly, the fact that your listeners have increased by 50% since 2014 shows that more young people than ever are listening to Abba. It is a testament to the enduring appeal of Abba’s elite makeup that transcends generations. “

Enthusiastic reactions

The new songs may never earn as beloved status as some of their predecessors, but the reaction after fans and critics heard them was perhaps more enthusiastic than expected.

The new songs show that “time passes, but Abba never goes out of style,” wrote music journalist Roisin O’Connor in the newspaper. The Independent.

Referring to a 2009 poll showing Abba as the band most Brits would like to reunite, Adrian Thrills, del Daily Mail He said: “If anything, the desire for the four Swedes has grown even stronger in the years since.”

The new songs “did not disappoint,” he declared.

Abba

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Abba sold around 400 million albums over the years.

Not everyone was completely convinced. Neil McCormick of The Telegraph, described I Still Have Faith in You like “kinda silly” but she said Don’t Shut Me Down it was “a little more promising.”

However, journalist Jude Rogers of The Guardian He gave the melodies four and five stars respectively, saying they were “perfected with precision to thrill the listener.”

“I have been a fan of Abba since I was a child,” she wrote, “and the opening chords, full of melancholy in minor keys, immediately brought tears to my eyes.”

Or, to paraphrase: “I’M CRYING WITH HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW.”


BBC Mundo

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