The winner takes it all when it comes to the weekly UK albums chart battle, and on Friday the spoils went to an “over the moon” Abba for a 10th time.
The Swedish band’s long-awaited Voyage, their first album of new material in 40 years, debuted at number one, giving them the biggest first-week sales week of any album in four years.
Its first-week chart sales of 204,000 are the highest since Ed Sheeran’s Divide.
The Visitors, Abba’s final studio album, also topped the charts in 1981.
The former Eurovision winners’ greatest hits collections, The Singles and Gold, have since reached number one.
“We are overjoyed that our fans seem to have enjoyed our new album as much as we did making it,” they said to the Official Charts Company.
“We are absolutely overjoyed to have an album back at the top of the charts.”
The album is also the fastest-selling LP by a group in eight years, since One Direction’s Midnight Memories in 2008. Apart from Abba, Sheeran, and One Direction, only Adele’s 25 has surpassed 200,000 first-week sales in the last decade.
Voyage is also the fastest-selling vinyl release of the century, having surpassed the Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino in 2018.
Only The Beatles and Elvis have spent more time at the top of the charts than Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid.
While it’s clearly been a hit with music fans, the 10-track album Voyage divided opinion among critics.
“It’s vintage Abba, on par with their classic 1970s run,” declared Rolling Stone in a four-star review. But The Guardian’s two-star write-up said it was a “disappointment” that languishes in “often bafflingly retrograde settings”.
On Friday, Abba singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad told the BBC “don’t be too sure” that their comeback album is their last, in her first interview about the reunion.
“I’ve learned never to say never,” she told BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball about the possibility of future projects.
Adele, another returning star, secured a fourth consecutive week at the top of the singles chart with Easy on Me on Friday.
The ballad was the first track to be released from her eagerly awaited fourth album, which is set to be released next Friday, November 19th.
Sheeran maintained second and third place on the singles chart with Shivers and Bad Habits, respectively, while his latest album = (Equals) was knocked out of second place on the album chart by Abba.