This summer, ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog returns with A, her first album of original material since 1987. It's already debuted at No. 6 on the UK album charts. Although you should temper any expectations of the “Dancing Queen”–style belters with which she achieved fame and glory, the bittersweet ballad “When You Really Loved Someone” proves that her voice has lost none of its elegance. We caught up.
What’s the most personal song on A?
It would be the song that I wrote myself: “I Keep Them on the Floor Beside My Bed.” It was a great satisfaction to be able write music again.
Why do you think ABBA has attracted such a loyal gay following?
I think it partly comes from how ABBA was presented from the start -- with high heels, spectacular costumes, and music you wanted to dance to.
Why is Sweden everywhere, from Robyn to Ikea and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?
We have been very open-minded about picking up influences from around the world, especially from England and the United States.
It’s your voice that dominates in the ABBA classic “The Winner Takes It All.” How did you feel watching Meryl Streep sing it in Mamma Mia?
It’s never an easy task to try to perform a song as well as the original, but she is a great actress and did her own interpretation that suits the
As a child you were a big fan of Connie Francis. Who are your other music heroes?
One of my absolute favorites is Nina Simone. When she sings it hurts inside of me. Elvis Presley still does it for me. I wish I’d had the chance to sing a duet with him.
ABBA now has its own museum in Stockholm, including a life-sized hologram of the band. How does it feel to be a tourist attraction?
A bit weird because we are still alive! But it’s good to have a place where I can leave my ABBA clothes and accessories.
Listen to "Dance Your Pain Away" below: