I have read some rather disparaging reviews from professional critics about this album. They know not of what they speak, at least in this case.
Oh, and I'm a critic too, should that matter. Maybe not published, but I have all the letters after my name that suggests I should know what I'm talking about, and speak I do! I also write and produce pop music.
The album is ABBA's first in 40 years. And it is remarkable. As usual, the music arrangements are the gold standard to which others should aspire. Lyrically, the music is representative of lives lived and there's nothing wrong with that. And the women's voices - still beautiful and emotional after all these years.
Having previewed "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down" on YouTube as singles, I was relieved when I heard the old ABBA was essentially back. Some have maligned this group for not sticking with current musical trends and all I can say is thank goodness for that! There is, in my opinion, not much worthy in current pop trends that should be emulated, and Benny, Bjorn and the gals had to good sense to stick with their winning formula.
Some critics have said there's no new "Dancing Queen" or "Voulez Vous" equivalent in the new tracks. That is debatable, but whether or not its there is irrelevant. ABBA members are now in their 70s and their music shouldn't be expected to necessarily light the dance floor. They've been there, done that. What they have opted to do instead is provide listeners with a well-thought-out, well-crafted piece of musical art which reflects their style and their age.
"Voyage" may not grab you at first listening. It is not typical pop-music ear candy that is full of glitter and empty calories. Rather, it is an album that seems to get better with every listening, much like viewing an old film. You may surprise yourself at how often you end up randomly humming a melody from "Voyage" whether you want to or not.
It has been said that this is ABBA's final goodbye. I hope not. The group has exhibited a talent and maturity that has stood the test of time. ABBA, let your record sales speak for themselves - people still want you! Keep the music coming!