The return of the Abba | The HuffPost

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dpatop – 02 September 2021, United Kingdom, London: Björn Ulvaeus (l) and Benny Andersson, members of Swedish pop group Abba, stand at an Intview in London. ABBA is releasing new music for the first time in four decades, along with a concert in which the quartet will perform entirely digitally. The new album “Voyage,” is due out Nov. 5. A virtual version of the band is scheduled to perform a series of concerts in London on May 27, 2022. (Best Quality) Photo: Philip Dethlefs/dpa (Photo by Philip Dethlefs/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Abba, after forty years of silent recording, are back together to propose two unreleased songs that anticipate the release of a new album. The artistic reunions, more than the admirers, are used by the members of the musical groups to take stock of their youthful activity, or perhaps they are attempts to deceive old age. The songs “Don’t Shut Me Down” and “I Still Have Faith In You” seem to come from the past, but with the air that pulls today in pop music it’s not a bad thing.

In the seventies the Abba were the champions of a paradigmatic pop, with a certain cleanliness even in the most alluring glides. “The Winner Takes It All” shines with fatalistic melancholy: the careless gods roll the dice and there is someone down here who loses everything.

Abba’s songs have a melodic fluidity reminiscent of the best Italian tradition. A few months ago, in the Corriere della Sera, in the funny article “The Rich and the Poor, Marina’s exile and the confrontations with the Abba”, the television critic Aldo Grasso made fun of their claim to be the homegrown equivalent of the Swedish group. A claim that honestly does not appear unfounded.

The songs of the Ricchi e Poveri, although very Italian, have an international flavor. Those who belittle their success in Eastern countries betray a hint of cultural racism: is pleasing the citizens of the homeland of Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoevsky less relevant than being appreciated by the inhabitants of Manchester?

The singing style of the Rich and the Poor is modernly impersonal: if Agnetha Fältskog interprets “The Winner Takes It All” with convincing consternation, the Italian group sings “It will be because I love you” with studied neutrality. The jerky singing of Angela Brambati, the pastel shades of Angelo Sotgiu, the sly brushstrokes of Franco Gatti enhance the melodic lines almost without interfering with them. “Little love” hypnotizes like a piece of Kraftwerk. Even the pathetic “How I wish” (“Something’s wrong this winter / It’s not Christmas once in a lifetime / Yet it was only a year ago / Let’s hope it’s not over”) is played by the Rich and the Poor by subtraction, becoming a delicate dream veiled in melancholy.

That of Ricchi e Poveri is a pop that is not too ambitious but releases a contagious joy: their best songs are glasses of very fresh water on a sultry summer afternoon.


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