welcome-backNew albums this year from David Bowie and Rod Stewart remain delightful surprises with original self penned songs, but this year also brings the return of the mysterious pop legend Agnetha Fältskog, the blonde-haired, bell-clear voice of Abba is back with a new solo album after hiding away from the public eye for over three decades.

The 63-year-old's fifth solo album 'A' was released in May this year to critical acclaim, and is her most successful selling solo album to date. It's in many of the top ten charts around the world including The United Kingdom and Australia. Her new single from the album ''When You Really love Someone' has had positive airplay, and is currently a regular favourite on my twice weekly radio show on the FM airwaves of Sydney.

Before she disappeared from the music scene following the band's split in 1982, Agnetha was one of the most famous voices and faces in music in the 70s and early 80s, as the Swedes' popularity exploded across the world,

She had sporadic solo success in the following years, and with the exception of her 2004 album of covers titled 'My Colouring Book'' she more or less withdrew from public life.

Agnetha was tempted out of retirement by lyricist Joergen Elofsson, who has previously written songs for Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Westlife.

"We wanted to make this as if Agnetha hadn't entered Abba," said lyricist Elofsson about 'A'. "We were interested in what she would have sounded like if she hadn't been in the group, and yet it's important that she comes across as we remember her to be."

The album also features a duet with Gary Barlow of Take That which has been described by critics as "annoyingly good".

Speaking recently about her decision to re-emerge on the music scene she said: "It is nearly 10 years since my last album, and almost 25 years ago since I recorded my original material. I thought at the time that maybe that would be the last one, and after that I really didn't think that much about it".

"My life contains so many other things. I have my children, my grandchildren, my two dogs and a big place in the country. I have my own life."

In recent years, Fältskog has made the odd public appearance in Sweden and Denmark to promote Mamma Mia!, the phenomenally successful stage musical based on the songs of Abba. When Mamma Mia! was made into a film starring Meryl Streep, Fältskog attended the Swedish premiere and happily posed for photographs with her former band mates.

The question of an Abba reunion is often put to all of the former members, but is consistently rejected by them all as something that would never happen. Yet Agnetha has stated recently that Frieda and herself are closer now than for many years, so who knows what could happen in the future?

Fältskog was one quarter of Abba along with her former husband Björn Ulvaeus and her friends Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson. Together they sold 370 million albums and singles worldwide.

Abba still feature heavily on AM & FM networks around the world such is the enduring popularity and quality of their catalogue, and this excellent album is just a reminder why we fell in love with Agnetha's wonderful voice all those years ago.

The Winner really does take it all!