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Iconic Swedish pop band ABBA releases 'Voyage,' 1st new album in 40 years

The band is also preparing a show starring their digital avatars beginning in May 2022.
/ Source: TODAY

For the first time in 40 years, ABBA is releasing new music. The classic Swedish pop band dropped their latest album, "Voyage" on Nov. 5.

In September, the band (who can count Cher as one of their true fans) announced the forthcoming album, a new "digital" performance, a new look and a music video.

All four original members — Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — returned for the band's renaissance.

“We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it,” the pop legends said in a statement at the time.

ABBA (from l.-r.) Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus in their heyday after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974.Olle Lindeborg / AFP via Getty Images

ABBA's New Album: 'Voyage'

Released on Friday, the band revealed 10 new songs on "Voyage."

Two songs, "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Shut Me Down," are both expected to be heard in the upcoming digital concert and they're the first new tunes from the band since "Under Attack" in 1982.

You can listen to the new album here.

The band also dropped a music video for "I Still Have Faith in You," which is full of classic footage (and ABBA's anthemic, harmonious sound) in September.

"We simply call it 'Voyage' and we're truly sailing in uncharted waters," Andersson said in a statement.

In an interview with the New York Times, Andersson said they had planned to just do two tracks, but kept going.

“We said, ‘Shouldn’t we write a few other songs, just for fun?’” Andersson told the newspaper. “And the girls (Fältskog and Lyngstad) said, ‘Yeah, that will be fun.’ So they came in and we had five songs. And we said, ‘Shouldn’t we do a few others? We can release an album.’”

After releasing the album on Friday, Andersson added in a statement that they were thrilled to get the band back together.

"When we got into the studio after 39 years it was like no time had passed...we had a great time," he said. "I speak to Frida and Agnetha, and know they’re extremely happy having done this.”

Fältskog echoed his sentiments, writing in a statement that she was surprised they were able to step back into their old rhythms so easily.

"When we got back together in the studio, I had no idea what to expect…But Benny’s recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment, and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself!" she said. "I can hardly believe that finally, the moment has come to share this with the world!"

ABBA Meets 'Tron': A Digital Performance

Well, not exactly. But in photos released by the band, we get to see them wearing motion-capture outfits from Industrial Light and Magic that, when lit up, really do make us think of the classic sci-fi film "Tron."

According to the release, the band members wore these outfits for "weeks and months," working alongside an 850-member team from ILM, owned by filmmaker George Lucas.

The members of ABBA in their motion-capture outfits.
The members of ABBA in their motion-capture outfits.Baillie Walsh

Why? So they can perform digitally, via avatars, with a live 10-piece band in an arena that's being specially built in London. And based on a short video featured in a Twitter thread from @ABBAVoyage, it looks like fans will be seeing them ... but altered versions that age down the 70-somethings into their younger, classic versions. After all, it's been 40 years since they publicly took the stage together, and two years since such a vision was realized in Sarah Pinsker's award-winning "Song for a New Day" novel.

ABBA, with a sleek, retro-futuristic, de-aged look.
ABBA, with a sleek, retro-futuristic, de-aged look.Industrial Light & Magic

"What you're gonna see when you come to this show ... is us," says Andersson in the video. Which is both true, and not entirely true at the same time.

In the New York Times article, Andersson also revealed that Ulvaeus had requested to change the hair on his "Abbatar" because, as journalist Elisabeth Vincentelli paraphrased, "there is only so much 1979 realness anybody can take."

ABBA: The Arena

Why go all the way to Las Vegas for a residency when you can have a stage built especially for your digital selves to perform in?

The ABBA Arena will hold 3,000 ticket holders, and is a state-of-the-art facility built at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, according to one of several tweets sent out as part of the announcement.

"When you come to the arena you will have the four of us together with an absolutely glorious 10-piece band," Andersson continued in his statement. "And even if not in the flesh, we will be right there, thanks to the work of the creative team and ILM."

Tickets for the "ABBA Voyage" show went on sale in September for shows beginning in May 27, 2022. Links and purchasing information can be found here.

In a joint statement, the band said, "To tell the truth, the main inspiration to record again comes from our involvement in creating 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 on a stage in a custom-built arena in London next spring. Weird and wonderful!"