Voyage – a quick review

“It will be in prose that chimes with me”

First impressions of the ten tracks in ABBA’s new album Voyage.

1. I Still Have Faith In You

Glorious, majestic, emotional, melancholy, joyous. We heard this one on the Voyage launch in September. It sounds like a culmination of what Benny, Frida, Agnetha, and Björn have been doing since 1982. The lyric is about ABBA reuniting after so many years – do they have it in them? They do!

2. When You Danced With Me

Frida and Agnetha lead us on a Celtic dance. ABBA’s ‘Safety Dance’? Shades of ‘The Piper’. This will be popular at ABBA dance parties from now till the end of time.

3. Little Things

A gentle song from Frida about Christmas morning, parents staying in bed before the children wake up to open their presents. A little hint at ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ between verses. Ends with a verse by a children’s choir. A nice touch. Not the future Christmas number one people have been anticipating.

4. Don’t Shut Me Down

The lyric could be about either the avatars or ABBA themselves reunited. Or both. Another one we first heard in September. Agnetha leads. Hints of ABBA-esque motifs throughout.

5. Just A Notion

The vocals were originally recorded in 1978. We heard a half of this in ‘ABBA Undeleted’ on the Thank You For The Music box set in 1994. The boogie-woogie piano backing is all new (I miss the electric piano in the original though). Björn says this gives an idea of what the Voyage avatar concert will be like, with original ABBA vocals and a live band. This came out in late October as another taster for the album.

6. I Could Be That Woman

The story of a woman suffering addiction trying to reconcile with her man, while the dog tries to calm things between them. An unusual subject choice for ABBA. A slow, almost soft-country ballad. Agnetha sings “screw you”.

7. Keep An Eye On Dan

A burst of 80s synth-pop-rock. Another song to join the ranks of ABBA’s divorce classics, sung by Agnetha. A woman drops off her son with her ex-husband for the weekend, and warns the father to keep an eye on their troublesome son Dan. Björn and Benny pop in with a backing line towards the end, reminiscent of ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’. Ends with an “easter egg” you’re sure to spot.

8. Bumblebee

A gentle ballad from Frida about the state of the world and the affects of climate change. What happens if the bees disappear? Thoughtful. The song opens with ‘Fernando’-like flutes. Not a revamped version of the demo ‘Free As A Bumblebee’.

9. No Doubt About It

A rocky one from Frida, from the point of view of a woman who has “messed up” her relationship. An early stand-out track. Ends with the line “this isn’t where it ends”. No it’s not, there’s one more song to go.

10. Ode To Freedom

An ode not to freedom itself but about creating a song that can be an ode to freedom (like ‘King Kong Song’ and ‘I Let The Music Speak’ it’s a song about itself). Frida sings in low register and Agnetha sings an octave above. There’s a very strong classical influence. A beautiful, mournful, majestic ending to the album (and to ABBA). It will make you cry.

Overall verdict: there’s not a bad song on the album. Early favourites are ‘I Still Have Faith In You’, ‘When You Danced With Me’, ‘Keep An Eye On Dan’, ‘No Doubt About It’, and ‘Ode To Freedom’.

Listen to Voyage now Amazon Music Apple Music iTunes Spotify YouTube YouTube

Go to ABBA Omnibus for a detailed feature on all things Voyage. Click on the four eclipses icon.

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2 Responses to “Voyage – a quick review”

  1. Barry Zerden Says:

    can’t believe don’t shut me down isn’t one of your favs. it’s a great song ! fantastic energy, melody, lyric…

    • Ian Cole Says:

      Oh, it’s great too! And so is Just A Notion. But I’d already picked out five songs as “favourites”. Six or seven or eight might be excessive 😀

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