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Tracking reactions to the ABBA reunion we’ve all been waiting for

Picture this. It’s a Saturday night, and you’re out with friends. The sounds of Mamma Mia echo through the air. You’re out of your seat in no time, bellowing the lyrics at the top of your lungs with a smile from ear to ear. At least, that’s my experience whenever I hear an ABBA song…

ABBA has a unique staying power that transcends generations, with music remaining relevant decades after achieving number one status. And after almost 40 years, the Swedish supergroup are back, delivering the pop reunion we’ve all been waiting for.

But aside from the hype surrounding the news of ABBA’s comeback, we were interested in understanding the public’s reaction on a deeper level. What do people really think about the ABBA reunion, and their upcoming album and concert experience: Voyage?

Using Relative Insight, we sought to find out. Relative Insight is a comparative-based text analytics tool which pinpoints the words, phrases, grammar, topics and emotion more prevalent in one data set over another.

First, we gathered all tweets that mentioned “ABBA”, spanning from September 2nd 2021 – the date which ABBA released their two new songs – to present. Next, we uploaded this social data into the Relative Insight platform and compared the language used in tweets against our Standard English model. Here’s what we found…

Thank you for the music (and the memories)

After waiting 40 years, it’s no surprise that ABBA fans are reacting with an overload of love, excitement and nostalgia. Having released two new songs I Still Have Faith in You and Don’t Shut Me Down, ABBA’s reunion has inspired fans to talk about their all-time favourite classics. Popular mentions include Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, Waterloo and Chiquitita.

But it’s not just music on the mind. Fans are also reminiscing about personal memories associated with ABBA hits. The use of temporal language highlights that Twitter users are recalling times gone by, using words such as years later, memories and time. This highlights how music has the ability to transport us to a specific moment, and evoke memories that we may have forgotten about.

insight card - nostalgic from the abba reunion

Spotify, TikTok or Vinyl?

Our analysis also found that people are 37x more likely to talk about the different mediums which they are listening to ABBA’s new music on. Tweets juxtapose the old and the new, talking of vinyl alongside Spotify and TikTok. During ABBA’s pop reign, their songs could not be digitally downloaded or shared on social media. Fans listened to vinyls, cassette tapes and eventually CDs.

This is a fascinating insight because it serves as a social commentary of our time, highlighting the advancement of technology and the differences in how we consume music today. However, buying a vinyl has become somewhat trendy in recent years, with people today still opting to pre-order ABBA’s Voyage album on vinyl.

insight card - where are people listening to new abba songs?

A complete mixture of emotions

Music will always be subject to personal opinion. Some people will love an artist’s newest release, whereas others might not be so keen. This was certainly the case with the public’s reaction to ABBA’s most recent songs.  

On one hand, diehard fans expressed their emotion, excitement and joy at the announcement of ABBA’s reunion and new album. Words such as crying, love, excited, omg and wow highlight the huge positive response to ABBA’s new tracks, and the utter surprise that people are feeling in light of the news.

insight card - mixed emotions from the abba reunion

But on the other hand, some people were not so pleased. Twitter users pointed out that they were disappointed with the music, and our analysis found negative evaluations of the upcoming ABBA Voyage concert experience.

insight card - disappointment

Will you be going to the virtual tour?

The negativity around the Abba Voyage tour, which is to be held in London in 2022 across eight weeks, largely stems from the fact that the concerts will be virtual. Twitter users commented on this, talking about the hologram ABBA-tar replacements that are set to take centre stage and questioning why ABBA won’t be performing in real life. While this has obviously caused disappointment for fans, it also emphasises the endless possibilities of a digitised world.

As author and Forbes contributor, Bernard Marr points out, “As the quality of experience available online becomes richer and more immersive, we may find that we have increasingly little reason to put our bodies through the hardship and discomfort of queuing […] or, as in the case of ABBA, dancing around in a spangly jumpsuit on stage in our seventies!”

insight card - abba tour will be virtual

Social insights can tell powerful stories about how people are reacting to trending news, and Relative Insight’s text analytics technology provides an efficient, scalable way of analysing this data effectively. ABBA’s reunion has left fans reminiscing about their favourite songs and memories, reacting with an overload of emotions, and wondering whether or not to buy tickets to a hologram show. The question is: will you be attending?

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