Jörgen Elofsson, the producer of Agnetha Fältskog’s new solo album ‘A+’, says the project allowed the ABBA star’s 2013 LP to “grow into its full pop bloom”.
Featuring 11 songs, the album includes reworked versions of all 10 songs originally available on ‘A’ along with the new single, Where Do We Go From Here?.
Both collections are distinctly different and when it comes to the work he and his collaborator, Peter Nordahl, did on the project, Jörgen tells RETROPOP’s November issue: “We didn’t remix the album – that’s not what we’ve done. It really felt like, ‘Let’s see what would happen if we did this now, like we never did it before’, and we ended up with a set of twins that grew up in different worlds and different cultures.
“So it’s more than remixing; it’s a new identity and what really strikes me is how well she fits into that world.”
Although the album uses Fältskog’s original vocals, the singer was actively involved in the creative process and made several visits to the studio during the development of the songs.
“We would meet and talk about the songs, then I’d go back and work on them for a couple of weeks,” Jörgen shares. “At some point, we knew we’d need to play them to her, which is always a scary moment because you really want her to like them. Not just go, ‘Yeah, right’, but really feel like she’s engaging with them. So she’d come over to my studio – always on time, you know how old school artists are – and we’d sit down, maybe have a coffee, and then I’d hit play and look at her, trying to capture what her face is saying. You know, I don’t want to say, ‘Isn’t it great?’, if her face looks like a lemon!”
If the sessions for the 2013 album restricted the sound of the record to “what her first international record would have sounded like if she hadn’t joined ABBA”, this time was a case of anything goes. “She loves good pop music and she’s talking about songs all the time,” he adds.
“She’ll say, ‘I heard this song on the radio’, or , ‘I found this on YouTube’, or whatever – because she’s really into music.” Of her recent favourites, he reveals: “She loved the Elton John and Dua Lipa song [Cold Heart]! It’s sort of a flow; she has this side of things where she loves the ‘60s and ‘70s and she’s constantly talking about this guy, [US singer-songwriter] P.J. Proby, for instance,” he shares. “But then she’ll find new songs – she loves the Swedish artist Laleh, who’s quite famous over here and probably known in the UK too.”
‘A+’ features the brand new recording, Where Do We Go From Here?, which Fältskog was initially hesitant to record. “I said, ‘I have this new song, there’s no pressure, but I think this could seal the deal’,” Jörgen remembers. “So she listened to it and she said, ‘I really like it, but [the demo singer’s vocal] is so good – I could never sing like that…’ She took it with her and lived with it for a while, then she called me back and said, ‘I really want to do this, I think it’s great and I think I can do it’. So I didn’t have to twist her arm.”
On her faith in her abilities, he says: “She’s got this confidence thing going, ‘Oh no, I can’t do that’, then she just does it and it’s like, ‘Wow’. The last time, all we wanted her to do was to join us in London for a short promo trip – that was it – then she went and did lots of other bits and in the end got up on stage with Gary Barlow. It was crazy!”
With that in mind, then, could there be the possibility of more music from Agnetha Fältskog? “I’m constantly trying,” Jörgen chuckles. “She’s such a good writer and she has a load of songs lying around. People forget she’s not just a pop star – she used to write all through her own career before ABBA, so she’s a really good songwriter and I think that’s why we understand each other in music so well.
“She loves music – and look, we can all dream and I will continue dreaming. Who knows? Maybe somebody else will come up with a great idea… I know she has other things that she wants to do as well, but I’ll do my best, I can promise you that!”
Read the full interview in the October 2023 edition of RETROPOP, out now. Order yours or subscribe via our Online Store, use our Store Finder to locate your nearest stockist, or get Digital Copies delivered direct to your devices.