Cher: Dancing Queen

Cher Dancing Queen

2.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5

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A collection of ABBA covers inspired by her stint in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cher’s Dancing Queen finds the singer-actress ably shifting between the Swedish foursome’s disco and pop-rock numbers in characteristic fashion. That unmistakable and iconic voice makes it impossible for Dancing Queen not to sound like a Cher album, but for an artist who’s built an entire third act by carving out her own distinct niche in dance-pop music, the album feels surprisingly derivative, even anonymous. Faithful to a fault, the tracklist sticks safely to ABBA’s most well-known hits, among them “SOS,” “Mamma Mia,” and, of course, the title track. There are scant re-imaginings here, and no obscure disco gems like “Lay All Your Love on Me,” which might have made the album feel less like karaoke run through an Auto-Tune machine. When Cher and producer Mark Taylor do stray from the originals, it’s either with mixed results (the midtempo “The Name of the Game” is given more a more robust arrangement, but the ABBA version’s nuances are smothered) or the reinvention doesn’t go far enough (though “Waterloo” gets an almost electroclash-inspired update, it stops short of replacing the original song’s brass with more electronic elements). A stripped-down rendition of “One of Us” might more accurately reflect the song’s bittersweet lyrics, but it ultimately ends the album on a funereal note. Sorely missed throughout Dancing Queen are Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s delicate harmonies; in their place, Cher feels a bit like a bull in a china shop.

Release Date
September 28, 2018
Warner Bros.