Summer Walker Beats Abba’s First Album in Decades to No. 1

When Abba, whose classic songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me” are the epitome of Europop ear candy, announced in September that it would be returning this fall with its first studio album in 40 years, it was assumed that the new release would be an immediate blockbuster.

The album, “Voyage,” came out on Nov. 5, and it has indeed reached higher on Billboard’s chart than any previous Abba release — but it did not quite go to No. 1.

“Voyage” opens at No. 2 with solid album sales but low streaming numbers, edged out by the latest from Summer Walker, a 25-year-old R&B singer from Atlanta.

Walker’s “Still Over It” becomes her first No. 1 album, with the equivalent of 166,000 sales in the United States, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking arm. Fans mostly consumed “Still Over It,” Walker’s second album, on streaming services. It had 201 million clicks online and sold 12,000 copies as a complete package.

Abba’s “Voyage” had the equivalent of 82,000 sales; of those, 78,000 were attributed to copies sold as a complete package, including 42,000 CDs and 17,500 vinyl LPs. (It was available in eight vinyl configurations, including two picture discs and five color variants, in addition to standard black.) Songs from “Voyage” were streamed 4.9 million times — or about as many clicks as Walker got in four hours during her debut week.

“Voyage” is also the title of Abba’s virtual comeback concert, in which computer-generated “Abbatars” of its four members will perform with a live band in a custom-built venue in London, starting in May.

“What interested us was the idea that we could send them out while we can be at home cooking or walking the dog,” Benny Andersson, one of the group’s members, told The New York Times in a recent interview.

Despite the enduring popularity of Abba’s singles, its original albums were only moderate chart hits in the United States. According to Billboard, the group’s highest-charting title before “Voyage” was “Abba: The Album,” which went to No. 14 in 1978. (Two Abba-related soundtracks did better: “Mamma Mia!” went to No. 1 in 2008, and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!” landed at No. 3 a decade later.)

Ed Sheeran’s “=,” last week’s top seller, falls to No. 4, while Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” is No. 3 and Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” is No. 5.

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