tue 23/04/2019

CD: Cher - Dancing Queen | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cher - Dancing Queen

CD: Cher - Dancing Queen

A shameless celebration of all that glitters

Cher: the inventor of reinvention

Cher. Abba. The Mamma Mia films. If you're not excited by all of the above, I'm afraid we can't be friends. I will not apologise for being thoroughly giddy at the prospect of a Cher album of Abba covers. The Queen of Camp taking on some of the greatest pop songs of all time: it's unashamedly exhilarating.

Well, the idea of it was, anyway. In reality, the album is – fine. A bit like a Chinese takeaway, or the finale of Bodyguard, the anticipation has somewhat outweighed the event itself. 

Dancing Queen opens with its title track. What's immediately striking is that the instrumentation of the song has been virtually untouched (possibly for the best, Abba die-hards would argue). But when the voice that comes in belongs to Cher, rather than Anni-Fred and Agnetha, it's jarring. I'm reluctant to use the words "backing track" or "karaoke", but it's just – odd. Especially from the inventor of reinvention. 

It's somehow gloriously modernised and horribly dated at the same

Next up is "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", which possibly benefits from its 2005 sampling by Madonna in "Hung Up". It's somehow gloriously modernised and horribly dated at the same, and features a bit more of Cher's signature vocoder, which I've not been so excited about since Cher: The Unauthorised Rusical featured in season 10 of Ru Paul's Drag Race

Cher's appearance in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is the cherry on top of a sickly-sweet and self-aware piece of cinema, all belly-laughs and blubbery sucker-punches, and I can't help but feel like this album should be taken with the same healthy pinch of salt. The new rendition of "Fernando", as seen in the movie (though disappointingly not a duet with Andy Garcia this time around), fits comfortably onto the album. Saying that, all of the songs sit comfortably, like a much-loved flared lyrca catsuit or a well-worn pair of silver foil platforms. 

There are some truly gorgeous moments on the record, notably "Chiquitita" and "The Winner Takes It All", but maybe I'm getting goosebumps because these songs will forever be imbued with the emotion of Meryl Steep's original Mamma Mia performance. Thank goodness they didn't put "I've Been Waiting For You" on there.

I'll be honest. I don't love Cher's Abba album. But I do love Abba, and I do love Cher, and frankly, that's enough for me. "SOS", "Mamma Mia" and "Waterloo" are as euphoric as their originals. In a period of intense geopolitical uncertainty, I'm glad this album exists. Abba and Cher are a pretty perfect pairing, and while I'm more likely to reach for ABBA GOLD than I am this record, it's absolutely inoffensive, and great fun.

All of the songs sit comfortably, like a much-loved flared lyrca catsuit or a well-worn pair of silver foil platforms

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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