Dancing Queens (2014) ABBA Tribute

With the social media promotion that the artists on this compilation CD did, it was easy to hear about this album; which was how I found out that it was being recorded. Paty Cantu, who is featured on the album, promoted her single heavily, as well as Fey fans letting everyone know about their favorite’s participation too.

Dancing Queens is a tribute to the Swedish pop group, ABBA, who reigned the pop charts in the ’70s with their hits. Anyone who doesn’t know who ABBA was, no matter the country they are from or the language they speak, must be under a rock. ABBA’s worldwide popularity has had artists around the world covering their songs in many languages, even in the early ’80s. Pop groups like Menudo had number-one hits with covers by ABBA; so it is a no-brainer to bring together some of today’s hottest recording artists to celebrate the group that is considered ESSENTIAL in the pop music collection. ABBA’s music proves to be timeless with Dancing Queens.

The album starts off with ABBA’s most recognizable songs “Gimme Gimme Gimme”, “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen”. The songs don’t differ too much off of the original versions, but with new technology and sounds, the music is updated and fits each of the artists’ unique sounds. What the album did correctly was finding artists whose sound blended well with each other, allowing the tracks to flow seamlessly allowing you to forget you are listening to a compilation album.

Maria Jose brings a club-like atmosphere with “Gimme Gimme Gimme” sung in English, then Paty Cantu brings it down with a slower than normal version of “Mamma Mia”, which she also sings in English. The Mexican-American Los Angeles-based band took the reigns of the title track, “Dancing Queen”, with an infused pop-cumbia style.

After dancing around your living room, you chill out with Carla Morrison’s version of “I Have A Dream”, entitled “Estoy Soñando”, which was sung in Spanish and was a remarkable slower version of the original version. The slowed-down version represents Carla’s unique dream-like music style. While it is probably one of the songs I like least on the album, it was the perfect song to fit her voice and sound.

We go back to English with the pop band, Jotdog’s version of “On and On and On”, which is totally upbeat and has a great sound to it. It is hard to tell that English is not their first language. Fey gives us her version of “Super Trouper” in English also, the music seems like it would fit well with Fey’s “Faltan Lunas” album.

The next surprise is a classic rock version of “S.O.S.” which is performed by the all-female rock band, Ruido Rosa. This version has made me want to find out more about this group. It is nice to see a Latin all-girl band. After the rock, the album mellows out with a dreamy version of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” by Daniella Espalla. The dreamy sound carries over with Belanova’s version of ABBA’s most popular song in Latin America, “Chiquitita”. The song was released in the early ’80s by Menudo in Spanish and became an anthem in its own right. Belanova’s light vocals create a version of that is completely ready for a sing-a-long.

Belanova makes way for the part of the album that appeals to the younger generation. Danna Paola’s version of “Take A Chance On Me” mixes a little techno with pop and club music that fits what is hitting the top 40 airwaves. This song could make it big in the US if given the chance. Danna Paola’s English is perfect. Next up… The Rosso Sisters. Their version of “Waterloo” makes you want to get up and jump all over your living room. This song has become a guilty pleasure on my iPod.

After The Rosso Sisters make you feel like you are a kid again, the album begins to wind down with a more adult sounding finale though we are far from over. Sofi Mayen and The Rebel Cats take us back in time with a 50’s or 60’s Spanish pop version of “Hasta Mañana”. Then the Spanish style guitars come out with Jenny and The Mexicats for their English version of “Voulez-Vous”.

My one major complaint with the album is the placement of Susana Zabaleta’s Spanish-language ballad version of “Thank You For The Music”. It seems fitting the be the end of the album as the song is saying thanks for the music. I feel that the song could have joined all the artists on the album together for the chorus of the song. I think the album lost of full-on “We Are The World” moment that could have ended the album with a blowout. But instead, they took the song and placed it to get lost between Jenny and The Mexicats and Quiero Club’s version of “Fernando” which is a dreamlike club style. “Fernando” is a great cover. Excellent job by Quiero Club. And now we finalize the album with a club-style version of “Winner Takes It All” by Ana Victoria that makes you want to get back up and dance, but then the album ends with an instrumental version of “I Have A Dream” by David Garrett.

Overall, the album is great and you are an ABBA fan or a fan of pop music in general, this album is a MUST for your collection. Every one of the artists did a great job on their vocals and music and has a nice variety of big-name artists and lesser-known artists. It definitely makes me want to go find some of the artists that I might not know like Ana Victoria, Ruido Rosa, and Daniella Espalla.

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