Review Summary: ABBA, I still have faith in you.
ABBA returning after 40 years with a full-length album has to be one of 2021’s most surprising and exciting musical moments. Anyone who calls themselves a pop music fan would have felt the hype from the announcement and then from the release of 3 fantastic lead singles. “Don’t Shut Me Down” has a fantastic groove, vibrant orchestral flourishes and showcases the band’s vocals being as strong as ever, while “I Still Have Faith In You” complements it with a more reserved, cinematic build. “Just A Notion”, the highlight of the bunch, sounds as fresh and disco-ready as it would have in 1979, when it was originally written to be released on the album Voulez-Vous
If ABBA returned with just these 3 songs, it would have been heralded as an undisputed triumph. Unfortunately, there are 7 other songs on Voyage
, and none of them stack up to the singles. I don’t buy that ABBA have always been a singles band – Arrival
have surprisingly little filler, and one of my favourite ABBA songs, “If It Wasn’t For The Nights”, is a deep cut. However, one stereotype of the band that actually is correct is that they are a lot more successful at upbeat numbers than ballads. Sadly, Voyage
features several of the latter. I won’t go into critiquing them – once you’ve heard one you’ve heard them all, although I would at least for curiosity’s sake recommend you check out “Ode To Freedom”, which sounds bizarrely like a Central European country’s national anthem.
Despite the album being weighed down by slow songs, my overwhelming sentiment towards it is appreciation that it was created to begin with, and that it contains three songs that stand up with the band’s best.