Who doesn’t know Broadway and its reputation for theater in New York City? Even more so, who doesn’t know the jukebox musical Mamma Mia!, if anything, at least by name? Lastly, everyone knows the music of ABBA, and yes, American Pop icon Cher. Put it all together and you have Cher’s latest album, Dancing Queen, set for release on Friday, September 28, 2018 via Warner Bros. Records.
A legendary Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Award winning sensation, Cher has decided to record an album of ABBA’s famous works from the aforementioned production Mamma Mia!. When asked about the the inspiration behind the album, Cher stated, “I’ve always liked ABBA and saw the original Mamma Mia musical on Broadway three times. After filming Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, I was reminded again of what great and timeless songs they wrote and started thinking, ‘Why not do an album of their music?’ The songs were harder to sing than I imagined but I’m so happy with how the music came out. I’m really excited for people to hear it. It’s a perfect time.”
That in mind, Dancing Queen marks her twenty-sixth album. Produced and recorded in both Los Angeles and London with collaborator Mark Taylor, for those who forget, Taylor previously produced Cher’s international hit “Believe,” a song which went to number one in over fifty countries. An impeccable team for the legendary ABBA re-imagining indeed, the album features ten tracks, so are you ready to put on your dancing shoes?
Opens with the famous hit “Dancing Queen,” the track comes in easily recognizable, but also completely new to the ear, as it is uplifted by Cher’s signature velvety and deep alto. Suddenly there is a change up as “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” transitions with funky guitar chords and its Disco Pop ballad ambiance. A song which particular fits Cher’s voice to a T, it gains a new dramatic flair with her singing while being layered perfectly with the original beat.
Then there is “The Name of the Game” which comes in on a completely different wave. Gone is the fabulous Disco Pop, and introduced is a more earthy, less cosmic Classic Rock sound. Here Cher’s singing is stripped down and heartfelt, accompanied by a bare acoustic guitar and drum track. This is before “SOS,” the emotional ballad about a beautiful love fading away. Breaching the lines between despair and hopefulness, Cher carries the song brilliantly and uniquely. Similarly intense, but in different extremes, “Waterloo” bursts in cheerily yet defeated. The instrumental work is especially well-pieced here – between saxophone, ribbons of piano riffs, and rhythmic drum beats.
Flowing along seamlessly, “Mama Mia,” is as familiar as ever. This rendition is more laid back rather than poppy, which seems to add a thoughtfulness to the overall sound and message. Thereafter, the Spanish influenced “Chiquitita” comes in staccato, and smooths out as Cher croons, “Chiquitita, tell me what’s wrong?” Infamous instrumentals lead into “Fernando,” building from a gentle wave of music into the crescendo of a chorus, as Cher serenades in smooth and lovely way.
Continuously adding her own flair to the music, “I don’t wanna talk, about the things we’ve gone through, though it’s hurting me” Cher mourns in the emotionally charged “The Winner Takes it All,” hitting some very strong notes. Last, but not least, “One of Us” marks an excellent choice in concluding the album in an electric manner. Overwhelmingly deep and powerful, it is sure to make some eyes dampen.
Dancing Queen, as previously stated, is a very fun cover of the famous ABBA and Mama Mia! hit songs. Classic, yet fresh all at the same time, Cher has re-invented, while stayed true to some well loved songs everyone will love to hear. That is why CrypticRock gives Dancing Queen a 4.5 out of 5 stars.