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In a way, the exchange was pure Abba: easy going, but backed by serious concerns. Another opportunity for debate arose when the two men were discussing their Abbatars. Andersson pointed out that Ulvaeus asked for a change in the hair of his digital alter ego because there is little reality from 1979 that anyone can take. When I noticed this was a great way to rewrite a bit of history while still being true to his spirit, Ulvaeus responded, with a slight smile, “Yes, that’s such an interesting existential question. (Ulvaeus, known in Sweden for his commitment to atheism and humanism, likes questions like this, later asking, “So, do you think the US constitution is strong enough to stand up to another Republican president?” )

Andersson-Ulvaeus songwriting link resisted intraband divorces and the pressure of critical contempt. (For those who have forgotten: Andersson was married to Lyngstad, Ulvaeus to Faltskog.) They have been writing together continuously since they met in 1966, and their post-Abba collaborations include songs for Andersson’s band as well as musicals. ” Chess “and” Kristina from Duvemåla “, an epic about 19th century Swedish immigrants to America that includes the rare pitfall of lice.

While the division of labor was fluid in the 1970s, it is now much clearer: Andersson imagines melodies and records demos in his lair in Skeppsholmen, then sends them to Ulvaeus, who writes the lyrics. When asked how elaborate these demos were, Andersson volunteered to play “Don’t Shut Me Down” and walked over to his computer. Then he couldn’t find it among his dozens of files, searching for “Tina Charles” as Abba’s song has a slinky vibe like one of the British singer’s hits.

He ultimately unearthed not the demo but the completed backing track, and edited it onto the pristine audio system, providing a prime example of the importance of Faltskog and Lyngstad’s vocals to Abba’s sound tapestry.

“All the different successful bands since the ’70s have had more than one singer,” said Andersson, mentioning Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, alongside Abba. “You hear Frida sing a song, then you hear Agnetha sing – it’s like two bands. The dynamics are greatly facilitated by the fact that there are two of them. And then when they sing together … “

Their harmonies on the album “Voyage” carry the unmistakable imprint of Abba, even if the register is a little lower than before. Age alone doesn’t explain the difference: “We used to force them to go as high as possible on most songs because it gives energy,” Andersson said.

nytimes Gt

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