By Maria Lubanovic, Copy Editor
[Warner Bros.; 2018]
Rating: 7.5/10 (Gay Rating 10/10)
Key Tracks: “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”, “Waterloo”, “One of Us”
Who knew that the world needed an album of bubbly songs from a Swedish ‘70s Eurovision band to be covered by one of the biggest names in pop ever? She’s a master of reinvention, but she’s also timeless. She’s Cher, bitch.
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Dancing Queen is Cher’s 26th studio album. After her lauded appearance in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, it makes sense that the world would be clamoring for more Cher. Even though her cameo appearance was tiny, it sparked a movement that made us all think, “The world needs Cher to exist outside of Twitter.” She’s also decided to go on another Farewell Tour.
Something about the production of this album makes songs that originally used to bop into songs that grind and slap. Many of the tracks have much more of a disco-style than the originals and, for the most part, it glitters and shines. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” is much more electronically charged and features Cher’s signature auto-tune. It adds a level of modern sensibility and gay club methodology that is unparalleled in the rest of the album.
“Waterloo” works the same way as “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” The ideas are the same; there’s more electronic backing, a higher tempo and better danceability (is that possible?). The track still holds onto some of the best elements from the original, namely the swinging saxophone accents and the piano background. It’s the best combination of old and new elements.
The track that started it all, “Fernando”, is exactly the same as it was in the movie. It just takes out Andy Garcia. Oh well.
The production of Dancing Queen can either be seen as true to the ABBA feel or as too close to the original songs. A few of these tracks are almost cheesy in execution, although it’s unclear if that’s because of the original source material or not.
ABBA is notoriously cheery, so it’s surprising when one of their songs can strike an emotional chord. Cher brings new levels of soul and emotion to tracks like “One of Us”. The production has been changed quite a bit, opting away from the chugging beat of the original song and turning it into something significantly more poignant. Cher is able to convey a level of sadness and regret that few musicians can replicate. This is probably one of the tracks that benefit most from Cher’s vocal prowess.
The biggest problem with this album is that it’s a pure gimmick. Cher is an amazing artist and has a legacy of amazing performances and music that stands the test of time. But, as Cher gets older, it makes sense that she would turn to making music that people clearly want, even if it isn’t true to herself.