What’s changed in music since the last ABBA album, 40 years ago?

The first album in 40 years by Swedish pop quartet ABBA dropped Friday, ahead of virtual concerts beginning spring 2022.

The album, called “Voyage,” marks the first new record for Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

With the release of the band’s first new album since 1981’s “The Visitors,” we got to thinking how much has happened in popular music since the band said hejda (which sounds like “HAY doo” to an English-speaking reporter trying to recreate the sound on a Babbel translation site.)

In 1982, as ABBA was breaking up, Frida recorded  “I Know There’s Something Going On,” in an attempt to distance herself from the trademark ABBA sound. Genesis drummer and singer Phil Collins played drums and produced the song.

As the 1980s turned into the ’90s, people filling dance floors had very different songs to sing along with, in contrast with ABBA’s melodic, reflective pop melodies, combined with feel-good dance anthems.

The lushly produced songs of ABBA seemed dated in the 1990s. Yet, their hits continued to draw people to the dance floor, with many singing along half-seriously, whether it be in nightclubs, weddings or bar mitzvahs. Other vastly different songs filled the same niche.

Since the last ABBA album, other bands that speak English as a second language topped U.S. music charts. Roxette — a pop duo, also from Sweden — was a consistent hit-maker in the late ’80s and early ’90s. “Macarena,” by Los del Rio, has been a dance floor favorite since 1995.

 

Adele, the English singer and songwriter who has sold more than 120 million records, wasn’t born until six years after ABBA said goodbye. In September, the British press was delighted to realize that ABBA’s Nov. 5 release date was the same as for Adele’s first album in six years, calling it “the biggest chart battle of all time.” Now, Adele says her new album will be released Nov. 19.

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