Abba presents debut album in 40 years and 11 more new songs


Before Max Martin’s hit factory reigned supreme on radio playlists, another Swedish pop phenomenon had emerged: Abba, who reunites after nearly 40 years. A new album, “Voyage”, is scheduled for November 5, and near-concert dates are scheduled for London in May; the singers will be digitized images supported by a live band. Although the verses of “Don’t Shut Me Down” are about a woman surprising an ex with her return, the backing vocals also recognize the weirdness of Abba’s reappearance: “I’m not the one you know / I am. am now and then combined, ”sing Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, supported and produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. “And I ask you to have an open mind.” Meanwhile, the music recovers familiar ground: a forward march with sparkling orchestration and rubbing, poised and genuinely melodious disco guitars. JON PARELES

Charli XCX oscillates between gestural pop and artistic impulses, but “Good Ones” brings the pendulum back to pop. It is produced by Oscar Holter, of the Max Martin team who also concocted Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights”, and it comes directly back to the eighth note synthesizers from Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. Jumping between the registers, Charli XCX accuses himself – “I always let the good ones go” – in a clear and decisive manner. PARÉLES

Everything is rhythm in “Love Me”: the shakers and hand drums, the scribbles of the electric guitar, the superimposed calls and answers of the blithely syncopated Nigerian singer Niniola and a saxophone which ends up claiming the last word. Juls, a Ghanaian-British producer, perfectly balances the 1970s Afrobeat, hand-played steady-state funk perfected by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, with the multitrack transparency of 20th century Afrobeats. Even after the song bursts halfway through, the groove keeps its sneaky calm. PARÉLES

Ambitious, ambitious and moving, rich sounding house music from Fred Again .., a singer and songwriter who has worked with Ed Sheeran and Stormzy, has been mentored by Brian Eno and has a soft spot for dance music. luminous who is almost physically cheerful. JON CARAMANICA

On “Linda,” Rosalía – a white European woman who has dominated Spanish-speaking pop in recent years – turns to Dominican musician Tokischa and Dembow for street cred. Tokischa is the resident insurgent of the genre, an iconoclast who forces government officials, homophobes and high society Puritans to tighten their pearls. It’s no surprise that “Linda” functions as a gendered playground song; on a dembow-flamenco concoction, the two-star trill, “Nos besamo ‘, pero somo’ homie ‘” (“We kiss, but we’re friends”). It’s the kind of song that sparks a necessary reflection on race, power, and collaboration – conversations about who these cross-cultural teams are designed to enrich and who, if any, they intend to unleash. ISABELIA HERRERA

Bobby Shmurda’s first post-prison song – seven years after his single “Hot ___” made him a star – feels like burning excess energy. This six-minute freestyle is a workout; it comes with a relentlessness reminiscent of Meek Mill’s fervor, but leaves little room to breathe. The stakes here are intentionally low. Releasing a song like this – no chorus, intense rhymes, cluttered flow – alleviates the pressure that would come from trying to score another hit as massive as his first. For now, he just wants to rhyme. CARAMANIC

All the cool grooves and sweet strings, Martox’s “Pausa” is best enjoyed with a spiked seltzer. The Dominican duo, alongside producer and singer Gian Rojas, glue disco grooves and syncopated basslines into a prismatic seaside boogie. HERRERA

The second track from Jhay Cortez’s new album, “Timelezz”, illustrates a small rebellion occurring in Spanish-speaking pop. Sometimes the production is aquatic; to others, its glittering synths resemble a nighttime stroll through the streets of the Japanese capital. With a hard-hitting four-floor rhythm, the track is another sign that the main players in reggaeton are embracing the textures of house music and pushing the boundaries of the genre beyond the realm of stale pop. HERRERA

In “Glider,” a song she wrote for the video game Sable, the keyboard motifs include Michelle Zauner, the singer, musician and producer who records as Japanese Breakfast. There is wonder in her voice as she sings an excursion into the unknown: “I feel like everything is moving / Around me. Keyboards begin to sound like music boxes, soon joined by sustained, cascading chords, an increasingly thick structure that cannot restrain its enjoyment. PARÉLES

In a home performance that was broadcast live last year, virtuoso folk singer Aoife O’Donovan performed all 10 songs from Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska”, double-sided. She accompanied herself on acoustic guitar, as Springsteen did on the original album in the early 1980s, but that’s about where the similarity ends. The original album was desperate and dark, with doubt running through its tracks like murky blood; O’Donovan treats them like guns, hailing Springsteen’s songcraft with clear, flawless articulation and affable delivery. The approach best suits “Reason to Believe,” the finale, a Springsteen classic that contemplates the mysterious pull of resilience. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Ruby Landen’s mix of Celtic-tinged acoustic guitar fingerpicking and bowed strings – cello and violin – echoes the introspection of songwriters like Nick Drake. But she has her own story to tell, with a modest but pointed voice, in songs like “Pt. 1.” It’s the anatomy of a failed relationship: “Is the security of my presence that got you? do you undo? ”- which she patiently and quietly relays. Then, she goes on in a modal, accelerated instrumental coda, picking up behind the violin and steel guitar, which doesn’t need words to capture the pain under- jacente. PARÉLES

On drums, Nate Smith is in the business of inspiring. Far from being flashy, he is an effervescent technician who grasps the subtleties of his comrades’ play and puts his joie de vivre in his. Smith, 46, has just released “Altitude”, a lightweight original and the last single from an upcoming album, “Kinfolk 2: See the Birds”. His group, Kinfolk, is joined here by a duo of young and prodigious improvisers: vibraphonist Joel Ross and singer Michael Mayo. The clip captures the band recording the song in the studio, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit; when Mayo digs into a short scat solo, improvising perfectly into small rhythmic zags in the lower register and longer, high-flying notes, you can see it – and hear it – pass inspiration back and forth with the drummer. RUSSONELLO



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