Dancing Queen: Cher’s Modern Take on ABBA Classics

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Dancing Queen: Cher’s Modern Take on ABBA Classics

Evan Hecht, Editor-in-Chief

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Cher is back again, releasing her 26th studio album, Dancing Queen. After the success of the recent summer blockbuster, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, Cher’s love for the Swedish pop group ABBA was revived. On August 9th, Cher announced she’s hitting the studio again to cover more of ABBA’s greatest hits in her recently released, studio album, Dancing Queen.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cher stated, “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?'” And just like that, Dancing Queen was born.

Cher hit the studio and remastered 10 of ABBA’s greatest hits: “Dancing Queen,” “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight),” “The Name of the Game,” “SOS,” “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia,” “Chiquitita,” “Fernando,” “The Winner Takes It All,” and “One of Us.”

As a fan of both Cher and ABBA, I was excited about the album’s release. Cher and ABBA both share  similar music styles, with ABBA highlighting a synth meets live instruments and Cher encompassing every musical style of her 52-year career. Contrary to popular opinion, I enjoyed Cher’s role in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Although her part was rather small, the grandeur of those 15 minutes made it the perfect part for Cher. After getting to hear her rendition of “Fernando” in the film, I was excited to hear her cover more of ABBA’s classics.

With any reproduction of any ABBA song, you have to cover two of their greatest commercial hits: “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia.” It’s no surprise she covers those two songs, but others came as a shock to me. I was surprised to see her cover of “One Of Us,” “Chiquitita,” and “SOS.” I see those are some of ABBA’s least popular, or least well known, songs. I expected to see other songs like “Super Trooper,” or “Honey, Honey.” I was also surprised to see “Fernando” on the tracklist considering she just covered it in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.

From the album, my personal favorites are “Waterloo,” “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight),” “The Winner Takes It All,” and “The Name of the Game.” I think she still has the authenticity of those songs, while still putting a new twist on them. Although Cher is not a modern artist, she gives the songs a modern feel. She still keeps the synth sounds and live instruments, while attaching her classic auto-tuned sound we all know and love.

Another surprise was her take on “One Of Us.” The original ABBA cover and even the Mamma Mia cover approach the song with a light-hearted beat. Both versions still communicate the emotion in the lyrics without giving a sad beat. Cher not only conveys the emotions lyrically but, through her ballad interpretation of the song, she gives it a whole new life.  But she doesn’t just pull an audible with “One Of Us.” “The Winner Takes It All” is another ABBA classic that is originally a ballad. Instead of taking the typical ballad approach, that even Meryl Streep did in Mamma Mia, Cher starts off with the typical ballad approach and then quickly turns to an acoustic guitar with a solid beat, giving the song a more upbeat and pop feel.

Personally, I enjoyed the album a lot. I think it was a great move for Cher’s career. She has been in the entertainment industry now for 52 years. She’s done everything from disco to Motown, to rock, to pop. At her age, nobody is expecting her to be releasing music at all, let alone new songs. ABBA’s discography already carries so many classic hits, along with Cher, so it was a perfect move for her. On top of all that, it was a smart move running with the momentum that Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again gave her. I think the album is a lot of fun and everyone should give it a listen.    

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