In what may be the most unexpected release of the year, the queen of pop, Cher, has made yet another comeback, this time covering songs by the beloved band, ABBA. After her standout role in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the singer has released a 10-track album full of the Swedish band’s classics, and while nobody may have asked for it, the upbeat, cheesy and surprising poignant album can almost be considered a necessity.
The album starts out strong, with two of the bands biggest classics, ‘Dancing Queen’ and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’. With this being the first album from the singer since 2013, all of the tracks stay relatively true to ABBA’s original arrangements, but are given a new shine, due to multitude of added catchy synth and bass lines. She continues to bring this flair to other hits in the album such as, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Waterloo’, with the re-working of these iconic tracks giving them a new, campy, and fun sound that is expected from the queen of pop, without diminishing the loyalty to the bands original songs. While the admittedly excessive auto tune takes away from the singer’s natural talents at times, the processed vocals ultimately add to the enjoyment of the tracks, and proves that these upbeat anthems are ones to not take too seriously.
However, it’s not just the disco classics that stand out, as throughout the works, Cher does an impressive job at covering ABBAs most notorious ballads. ‘Chiquita’ and ‘Fernando’ are surprising standouts of the album, as it’s clear that this is where the singer’s faithfulness to the original arrangements works the best. The tender and touching emotion of Cher’s vocals, mixed with the genius writing of Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus is truly magic, and provides an unexpected but welcome change from the upbeat dance tracks that come before. Cher even manages to retain this emotional maturity in her cover of ‘The Winner Takes It All’, with the heart-breaking sincerity of ABBA’s original song still coming through, amidst the added disco beats that turn this ballad into an upbeat dance number. Though an unexpected twist in what was expected to be nothing but a cheesy pop album, these tracks provide a refreshing new insight into the singer, and allow the listener to see the true extent of her talents.
Overall, the album is far from a musical masterpiece, with moments where the synths seem forced, and some of the softer songs in the middle of the album seeming to lull after the upbeat dance tracks that came before. But the magic of both Cher and ABBA is ultimately enough to make this an exciting, enjoyable and overall captivating album, that provides an unusual, yet welcomed blend of cheese-filled dance tracks, and moments of genuine sincerity. This endearing mix showcases both the disco queen herself, and the talent of ABBA’s writing, in the best possible way, and ensures that that album, like Cher herself, is nothing but sheer entertainment, making it a new gem in the singer’s already iconic career.