ABBA have declared that their reunion under the group name for the forthcoming Voyage album will be the group’s last new songwriting and recording.
The album will be released by Universal Music Group on November 5, after the appearance in recent weeks of the tracks “Just A Notion” and before that “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” Next year will mark the launch of ABBA Voyage, which premieres on May 27, 2022 at the purpose-built, 3,000-capacity ABBA Arena, in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It will feature live music and avatars of the group as their younger selves.
But in a new interview with The Guardian, the group dismiss any notion that they will continue to write or record after the release of Voyage. “This is it,” Benny Andersson tells writer Alexis Petridis. “It’s got to be, you know.” His songwriting partner Björn Ulvaeus adds: “I didn’t actually say that ‘this is it’ in 1982,” referring to the end of the quartet’s original lifespan, following the release of their album The Visitors. “I never said myself that ABBA was never going to happen again. But I can tell you now: this is it.”
By contrast, Andersson is hopeful that ABBA Voyage will have a long stage run. “The stars of the show will never tire,” he says with a smile. The lease on the ABBA Arena property is four and a half years. Producer Svana Gisla observes: “When the show opens, everyone else is going to try to jump on the bandwagon and do it. But I think this only works because ABBA are involved. If you try to do it posthumously, artists aren’t able to give permission, consent or creative input. It just becomes a film.”
Says Ulvaeus of the show: “The tech side, the possibility of doing something nobody has ever done before, that was so tempting and hard to resist. This project has been meandering, but it has a kind of role and a direction, and it’s going to be wonderful to see what it becomes. It will be, I think, an experience that no one has ever had before.”
Of the group’s return for the Voyage album, he adds: “It was just fun, really, to try and see if we could do something. I think everyone was completely aware that if what we did was not up to the standard that we all wanted, we would just forget about it. There was no pressure in that respect.”
Pre-order ABBA’s Voyage, which is released on November 5.