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Get ready, dancing queens: ABBA is back after 40 years with a new album, virtual show

At water's edge, a small audience watches a big screen showing the group ABBA.
An audience takes in ABBA’s “Voyage” announcement event Thursday in Stockholm.
(Fredrik Persson / TT News Agency / Associated Press)

ABBA is releasing its first new music in four decades, along with a concert performance that will see the “Dancing Queen” quartet going entirely digital.

The album, “Voyage,” to be released Nov. 5, is a follow-up to 1981’s “The Visitors,” which until now had been the swan song of the Swedish supergroup. And a virtual version of the band will begin a series of concerts in London on May 27.

“We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it,” ABBA said in a statement Thursday. “They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to ‘The Visitors.’”

The group has been creating the holographic live show, using motion capture and other techniques, with George Lucas’ special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic.

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ABBA’s members call it “the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of.”

“We’re going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs,” the group’s statement said. “Weird and wonderful!”

‘Dancing Queen’ on display: ABBA museum opens in Sweden

The planned show spurred the making of the album, which features the new songs “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” It began with sessions in 2018 and was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The band announced it was reuniting back in 2016.

The show will come 50 years after the founding of the group that for most of the active part of its existence consisted of two married couples, and whose name is an acronym of the first names of its members, Agnetha Fältskog, 71, Björn Ulvaeus, 76, Benny Andersson, 74, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 75. Fältskog and Ulvaeus divorced in 1980, while Andersson and Lyngstad split the next year. The group disbanded shortly after that.

Their music has remained ubiquitous in the decades since their breakup, in part because of the stage musical “Mamma Mia!” and the two films that followed it.

ABBA was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Last week, the group launched a website with the title ABBA Voyage, teasing the new announcement. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.


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