“Don’t Shut Me Down” by ABBA
As we delved into a bit more in depth in our analysis of “I Still Have Faith in You” (2021), ABBA, in its heyday, was a world-famous band that dissolved prematurely due to marital issues between its members.
That is to say that throughout the prime years of its existence, ABBA basically consisted of two married couples, i.e. Björn was wed to Agnetha and Benny to Frida. This was back in the days when family acts were a lot more common than they are now.
But anyway, when things went sour in these unions, both couples divorced within a year of each other. And that reality influenced the songs that the group concurrently put out.
Well even though they may not have been able to reconcile their marital issues, the ABBA gang remains close friends / business associates to this day. That’s the concept which the aforementioned track is primarily based on. But as with “Don’t Shut Me Down”, it is dealing more with the topic of forgiveness.
“Don’t Shut Me Down”
Even though ABBA may now be proclaiming peace, that is not to imply that they haven’t had their beefs over the years. Of course there’s going to be beef when you’re dealing with not only one but two divorced couples.
So even though Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson continued to work with each other throughout the decades, Frida Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog went their own separate ways. And the reason we’re bringing all of this up is because it is well known that “I Still Believe in You” is based on their personal relationship(s). But we would venture to say that such is also the case with “Don’t Shut Me Down”, though not as directly.
Or being more specific, when ABBA got back together, there was definitely some forgiveness in order. Whatever beefs that may have been being held onto needed to be squashed, if for no other reason than to generate bread.
So whereas songs that ABBA dropped during their divorce phase, such as The Winner Takes It All (1980) and When All Is Said and Done (1981), may have been influenced by that time period in their association, such may also be theoretically the case in this song. And why? Because as you can see, it is based on the vocalist and addressee having some sort of serious, long-standing beef with each other.
In fact when the former goes to make peace with the latter, the addressee is even “bewildered” as to why she or he would show up in the first place.
Please “don’t shut me down”, for I’ve changed
But what the vocalist is saying is that now he’s a changed person. The implication is that they have come to realize how their own actions contributed to the issue at hand. So relatedly they appear to have, shall we say somewhat suddenly, become very passionate about mending their relationship.
But the rift between the two of them is a deep one. Or put differently, the addressee may not be as willing to forgive and forget. So that’s why the vocalist is like “don’t shut me down”, you know, like ‘don’t slam the door in my face’. Instead, as implied above they have now deemed it time to make peace.
So now, it’s like the onus has actually been placed on the addressee. Yes, the vocalist may have been a bada-s back in the days, but now they have realized the error of their ways and have ‘transformed’ accordingly. Therefore, the vocalist does not want to be judged by their old character but rather have the addressee bear witness to the “new me”.
So in closing, we’re not literally applying this to the ABBA situation. For instance, this interaction does read as if it is placed in a romantic context, with the two lovers burying the hatchet by the time all is said and done.
But we’re not trying to imply that the ABBA crew is going to remarry or anything like that. Rather, “Don’t Shut Me Down” can be deemed generally applicable to any relationship between loved ones that has been seriously fractured, such as theirs once was.
And all it really seems to be saying in that regard, in essence, is that we shouldn’t hold on to grudges too strongly, especially if the other party does their perceived best to make amends.
Facts about “Don’t Shut Me Down”
This is one of two songs that ABBA released, via Polar Music, on the date of 2 September 2021 as the lead single to their album Voyage.
These tracks are particularly notable for being the first new music that ABBA has officially come out with in just shy of 40 years. Yes, you read that correctly! However, these songs, with more emphasis being placed on the other single, “I Still Have Faith in You”, are generating mega fanfare considering that ABBA, even if some of the younger generation may not be familiar with their work, remain one of the most-beloved musical acts in industry history.
In other words, they’ve not only sold a gazillion records but also, as illustrated with this track, tend to drop songs that are generally inoffensive and easily relatable.
All four members of ABBA serve the role of both backing and lead vocalists in the group. However the two males of the crew, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, are also instrumentalists, the latter especially.
Additionally, the pair happen to be regular songwriting partners akin to Lennon-McCartney. Abd Björn and Benny, as usual, are credited with writing and producing this ABBA track.
And for the record, the two female vocalists are named Frida Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog.
Also to note, this track was recorded in 2018, i.e. around when the quartet officially got back together for the first time since the early 1980s.
ABBA’s “Voyage” Album
Legendary Swedish music group ABBA will release their ninth studio album, Voyage, on November 5, 2021. Voyage is the group’s first album containing new songs following their split in 1982 and almost 40 years.
After ABBA’s unofficial split up in 1982, they witnessed massive renewed interest from music lovers and the public in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the success and interest of their music did not bring the group together, as it was reported that they turned down a $1 billion offer to perform together in 2000. However, on June 6, 2016, they reunited and performed their hit song, The Way Old Friends Do, at a celebration ceremony in Stockholm.
ABBA announced the release date for Voyage on September 2, 2021, through a YouTube live stream. They also announced that their 2018 record singles, I Still Have Faith in You, and Don’t Shut Me Down, were Voyage’s lead singles. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus wrote all the ten songs on the album. The group has been promoting the album through social media accounts named ABBA Voyage and through mounted billboards in London.
In 72 hours after the album’s announcement on YouTube, it recorded over 80,000 UK pre-orders. It also broke UK’s Universal Music Group record for the highest pre-ordered album.
Of the three singles ABBA has released in advance of “Voyage”, “Don’t Shut Me Down”, i.e. the one that received the least press, actually ended up performing better on music charts than the others two (“I Still Have Faith in You” and “Just a Notion“). But that said, it has been pointed out that in fact as of the early goings, the sales of all three have been less than encouraging.