It is one of the most iconic albums by David Bowie and contains “Heroes”, the title track that has become an hymn for some generations. The album was recorded in Berlin at the Hansa Studios right next to the Berlin Wall and together with Low and Lodger forms the Berlin trilogy, for many, and Trendenz also, the best in Bowie’s career, along with Scary Monsters which would be recored years later but still retains the Berlin influences and the Kraftwerk influenced electronic sound. 35 five years later “Heroes”, “Neukoln”, “The Secret life of Arabia” or “Sense of doubt” remain timeless masterpieces and a bring us back to the cold war days of West Berlin, an isolated city at the time but whose isolation has contributed to a brilliant set of songs like these. Aside from the musical genius, thanks to a great extent to the influence of Brian Eno, Heroes is thus both a musical and historical document
Forty years after their last record, ABBA are back with a bunch of gold old new songs and the album “Voyage” that should read like that, a voyage through time.
There are things you don’t question in life, particularly in these troubled times: covid-19 vaccines and Abba songs. And while there may be some side effects to the jab, the most the songs by this Swedish pop group can do to you is make you feel happy or sad. Forty years after their last record, they are now back and taking centre stage again with a new album under the name “Voyage” and a concert with a new format. As for the record, there is nothing particularly new, which is not a bad thing. If you buy an ABBA record you want to listen to ABBA, not some obscure thing. ABBA have always been good at making pop songs and that’s what they offer us here, a bunch of catchy songs. Most of the songs are quiet and introspective and to be enjoyed rather by the fireplace than on the dancefloor and have a great sing-a-long potential. “Ode to freedom” is perfect for family or church choirs and “Little things” a perfect Christmas song. The remaining songs deal with current affairs of life and the heart and bear resemblances with previous material released by the band. You may claim that they became cheesy or sentimental or whatever and that there is nothing new here, but then again they reached a mature age and could not care less. And if there is a group with the potential to bring together people of all ages, that’s ABBA. Most of us have records by this Swedish band for many reasons and mostly because our parents loved the band too and were happy to give us money to buy them. ABBA is a true household name and moved from the living room to the dance floor thanks to a handful of songs that made our days in the seventies when glitter was commonplace.
“Voyage”, the new album, is more suited to listen at home but ABBA promise to join the world in a huge communal celebration in the Spring of 2022. “A concert that combines the old and new, the young and the not so young. A concert that has brought all four of us together again”, in their own words. In these gigs, we will get to see ABBA’s avatars accompanied by a 10-piece live banda in a custom-built arena at the Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park in London. The band has been preparing the show using motion capture technology to give us the images and moves we will get to see on stage. The whole arena promises to be a true glitterbox with sitting places, dances areas and dance booths for 10 people. Technology meets pop in a giant spaceship that has landed in London. In light of all the technology involved, we may claim the new album could be more daring. But perhaps releasing a new album was just an excuse to open their crock of good old songs again and to host a giant celebration.
Carlos Tomé Sousa