Sp ABBA finally pulled the trigger on their long rumored reunion tour thing. I mean I get that it’s holograms because they don’t want to perform live for a variety of reasons. I get that the two new songs they claim to have recorded probably will suck. I am also aware that there are a lot of people out there writing about this selfsame topic right now and a lot of those people are better writers than me who care more and who will fact check more thoroughly. Those people probably also have stable home lives, girlfriends, a knowledge of what they are doing this weekend and maybe think Olive Garden is a nice place to eat, so fuck ‘em. The point I’m trying to make is that ABBA are back motherfuckers and if you can’t get hyped about that then I don’t know what you are going to get hyped on. Now I wanted to spend some time figuring out both the implications for what the reunion could hold but also what this means for the scene as a whole.
Now there’s a bunch to pick apart. I think we were all expecting the hologram tour for a while now. It was discussed way back in 2016 and has been slowly gaining steam ever since. That being said I don’t think that any of us expected the band to put out new material, especially not thirty five years since their last recordings. But in my eyes this makes total sense. Benny and Bjorn are among the most important songwriters ever, and if you’ve listened to the post ABBA material they have done together, of which there is a ton, mostly in musicals and stuff, it’s hard not to be a believer. I think that these songs are going to impress us. I’m not even worried about their ability to perform since with modern technology even the greatest flaws can be modified. That isn’t going to be a source of embarrassment for the band. In fact I think releasing new material is great because not only does it increase buzz it will remind us how perfect the band is.
The bigger question in my eyes is how much new material the band will create. While it would be cool just to have the two songs they have already recorded I kind of desperately want another record to freak out over. Hell, I would be happy if the band just worked together writing material and let a tribute band or something record their songs. I think there are a lot of possibilities here. There is no reason though, at least not in my eyes, as to why ABBA can’t be like KISS, a neverending entity who are more superheroes than they are a band. This could be tricky, but when it comes down to it I think that a lot of us wouldn’t be too bothered by who the actual musicians are as much as if the music is good or not. A whole generation of music obsessed ABBA fans has risen up, they are thrilled about the simple EXISTENCE of new ABBA material and they love the music, they can only appreciate the impact from a distance, so why not give them more beautiful music?
On top of this – I think that the live show that they bring is going to be a damn site better than most of the other live shows we have seen from holograms in recent years. Where the hologram shows we see are generally schlocky tributes to long dead musicians it seems to me that this is going to be on a different level. First and foremost, there is a LOT of money behind this set of shows and everything seems to suggest that they are not doing a generic hologram concert. This promises to be something more of a VR experience which I think is going to really allow the band to preserve their legacy. I mean it’s going to be kitsch to be sure, but it’s going to be kitsch on their terms. It’s like the movie Mamma Mia. That isn’t exactly a critically ‘great’ movie, but for those of us who are passionate about ABBA and love the silliness then we are going to love it. That’s what I expect from the live show the band is planning on delivering.
What I am kind of curious about is how this will be marketed and how much is going to happen behind this. I mean, I think that ABBA have been riding a cultural high since Mamma Mia came out in 2008 but it seems to me that the band is only going to further push it. There are a couple ways this could possibly go, on the one hand it’s entirely possible that they make this something just for the superfans and charge through the nose for it, which they would be totally justified in doing. On the other hand they could actually try to spread the ABBA legacy and draw new fans into the music. Given recent marketing efforts from the band it seems to me that they will probably just be tapping into pre-existing fans. No one who isn’t already into the band is going out and checking out any of the various ABBA spinups that have come up in the last thirty five years. However – I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a long term thing and ends up trying to target the uninitiated.
Any way you slice it this is going to be huge. I think there are going to be a lot of lessons to be taken from what happens when the band with the biggest budget in the world chooses to announce their brand and expand what they have been doing. I think that there are some really cool opportunities here and I am very curious to see if the band fully capitalizes on them. Even if they don’t at least we will have memories to last a lifetime and a fitting coda on a band who were taken from us all too soon. This is of course going to be full of emotion and probably a little bit tricky, but such is the nature of reunions, we need to embrace it.