I’ve always been a music fan, though my tastes lean more towards metal, punk, EDM, and the bizarre. I truly do have an appreciation for all genres. While I don’t regularly listen to mainstream pop music, past or present, there’s no denying the influence certain groups have had on other musicians as well as popular culture. One such group is ABBA, one of the best-selling musical acts of all time. With record sales estimated to be between 150 million to 385 million, there’s no denying the group has attained legendary status. ABBA Forever: The Winner Takes It All is a 51-minute documentary aimed at informing and entertaining fans and general music enthusiasts. The real question we should be asking is: does it succeed in any of that? Let’s find out.
I knew a moderate amount about ABBA going into this documentary, though certainly not an expert. This is who I think ABBA Forever should be aimed at — those who know but don’t. From their humble beginnings winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 to a massive Broadway musical celebrating their music, ABBA accomplished so much in a relatively short time. They conquered the world from 1972 to 1982 before going off in separate directions. I wasn’t aware members Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus were married, as were Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Both couples would eventually divorce, though they still kept the band together for a couple of years after. Knowing this makes songs like “The Winner Takes It All” much more impactful.
There’s mention of how all four members would reunite and release the album Voyage in November of 2021, their first album of new material in forty years. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more discussion of the ABBA Voyage Concerts at a custom-built arena in London later this year. The members are all set to appear as virtual avatars of themselves, circa 1977, accompanied by a 10-piece live band. I really would like to learn more about this since it’s such an interesting and unconventional concept. The documentary also contains interviews with Donny Osmond, Bono, Neil Sedaka, and more.
ABBA Forever: The Winner Takes It All is undoubtedly a highly entertaining hour for those with a moderate knowledge of the band. The hardcore fans most likely will not learn anything new but may want to own this disc to complete their collection. For me, nothing beats the finale of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and the way the ABBA song “Mama Mia” was featured in it. It shows the power of the band’s music and just how fun their version of pop could be.
Overall, it is a solid music documentary as ABBA tells its story, giving a well-rounded overview of the legendary Swedish supergroup.