ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ Shows The Group’s Journey Is Not Over

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When ABBA broke up in 1982, the group left little hope for a reunion.

The Swedish quartet had already changed pop music forever, the members had made more money than they would ever need and the two couples in the group had recently divorced, creating an embarrassment.

"Trip," by ABBA.

Yet, after centuries of reflection, ABBA is back, somewhat unlikely, with “Voyage,” a sophisticated Valentine’s Day for fans who maturely captures the nuances of life, presented with the intricate sonic hooks of the best pop songwriter duo, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, and sung by the transcendent vocal duo of Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, who alternate in the lead and also sing in tandem.

“Voyage” is a refreshing and worthy take on this 70-year-old band, from the magnificent hymn / debut single “I Still Have Faith in You” to the more subtly majestic, “Ode to Freedom”.

The poignant middle songs are accompanied by traditional ABBA quirks, the surprising Irish jig flavor of the fiery “When You Danced With Me” (where the heroine relishes a chance encounter with an ex, asking, “Glad to see me, or a little embarrassed? ”) to the quirky rhythm of“ Don’t Shut Me Down ”(where the heroine manages to ask an ex for a second chance). And the unusual outlook is the epitome of ABBA, like a sweet moment between parents on Christmas morning (“Little Things”), the story of an insightful dog inspiring the clarity of a woman on the country-esque “I Can Be That Woman” and the charm of a woman. bee in the garden which serves as a sad warning about the climate crisis on the hypnotic “bumblebee”.

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Then there’s the touching “Keep an Eye on Dan,” which highlights the insecurities brought on by shared custody of a child, a tone similar to that of the 1981 ABBA song “Slipping Through My Fingers,” and even presents a discreet riff of the group’s hit in 1975. only “SOS”

ABBA might be a lot older now, but the magic is still there.

ABBA

“Journey”

Note: 4 (out of 5)

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Mann moves into a downed “hotel”

Talented singer-songwriter Aimee Mann was the perfect choice to compose the music for a new stage adaptation of “Girl, Interrupted,” Susanna Kaysen’s 1993 memoir about a young woman in a mental hospital who was ultimately transformed. in 1999 film starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.

Mann – a master of ironic, intelligent and often beautifully sad lyrics – first broke with his band ‘Til Tuesday with the 1985 hit “Voices Carry”, about a controlling boyfriend. She went on to write the music for the 1999 Paul Thomas Anderson film “Magnolia”, starring Tom Cruise, its music corresponding to the film’s themes of violence and loneliness. Most recently, Mann released the 2017 solo album, “Mental Illness”.

"Queens of the summer hotel," by Aimée Mann.

So of course, she was almost too obvious for the new “Queens of the Summer Hotel” inspired by “Girl, Interrupted”.

What’s different for Mann now is the music. She generally works in softer folk, acoustic and pop-rock contexts, but on “Queens” Mann is resplendent in chamber pop, an elegant base reminiscent of both The Carpenters and Burt Bacharach and a beautiful accompaniment to her delivery. bewitching and discreet of addicting hooks.

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There’s also a deceptively breezy air to the arrangements that contrast with the dark themes, whether it’s the tra-la-la-accentuated disappointment of “You Could’ve Been a Roosevelt,” the jagged dressing of a theme from already. seen “At the Frick Museum”, the irresistible falsely sunny feel of the piano and strings on “Home By Now” or the cellos and simple melody that skate around the heavy subject of “Burn It Out”.

In contrast, the lyrics are brutal: “You’re a ball and everyone’s a pin,” Mann observes on “You’re Lost,” and “Suicide Is Murder” finds a calm Mann chanting, “You’ve got to have the stomach for a heartless killing.

“Queens of the Summer Hotel” is an embarrassment of riches: there are no bad songs in the 15-track collection, although it is long enough that the law of diminishing returns surfaced as it went. that the album is playing.

It is not the worst problem to have.

Aimee Mann

“Queens of the summer hotel”

Rating: 4-1 / 2 (out of 5)

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The voice, not the words, drive this web

Singer-songwriter Mimi Webb is more advanced as a singer than as a songwriter.

The 21-year-old English performer has a booming voice (though she isn’t exaggerating it), distinct utterance, and a charming accent as she browses her debut EP, “Seven Shades of Heartbreak,” which looks like to an introduction to a singer who will be there for years to come.

"Seven shades of sorrow," by Mimi Webb.

But lyrically, “Seven Shades” feels more of the same shade seven times, with Webb wallowing in the ambivalence of a bad relationship, reiterating similar perspectives across the EP’s seven tracks. Her frustration is frustrating as she gets agitated and worried about an ex who she says hasn’t put in enough effort to make the relationship work, and she blames herself for having a hard time letting go. . And the lines are loaded with clichés, if delivered with ferocity.

His relationship purgatory will be lyrical hell for seasoned listeners: yes, becoming an adult is tough and Webb is new to it, but his self-destructive and pitying impulses are tedious.

Still, Webb settles in with the first track “Dumb Love,” a power-pop song that leans on her subtle openness as she paints a portrait of the kind of love “that cuts you inside.” And her ensuing drama ranges from the rolling cadence and sharp hook of “Little Bit Louder” (where she’s afraid expressing her love will somehow undermine it) to the gloomy “Heavenly” “, where she confesses:” I’m tired of everything he said and she said … and three in the morning regret.

Even the tiniest bits are usable too, thanks to Webb’s vocal conviction. She is able to convey deep feelings in shallow expressions with her inflection and tone.

Maybe next time the lyrics will be up to par too.

Mimi Webb

“Seven Shades of Sorrow”

Note: 3 (out of 5)

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