Mamma Mia, here we go again. Nearly a quarter-century after ABBA's sad demise, the four-headed Swedish hit machine continues to cast a long shadow over global popular culture, with their songs popping up everywhere from the silver screen to the Broadway stage. Following in the footsteps of popular early '90s cover band Björn Again, the mysterious Golden Quartet (who presumably have nothing to do with Wadada Leo Smith's critically-acclaimed jazz ensemble of the same name) take a chan-chan-chance on an album devoted entirely to ABBA's greatest hits. These renditions eschew the originals 'vintage '70s and '80s production values in favor of a sleek disco-pop sound — can you hear the synth drums, Fernando? — but the arrangements from the hit versions are copied practically note-for-note. (Okay, maybe Agnetha didn't really moan, "C'mon, gimme a break, will ya?" in "Take A Chance On Me," but who's counting?) In a sense, it's the musical equivalent of the Stepford Wives: kind of creepy and robotic, but still pretty damn attractive just the same. While it's hard to discern the exact meaning or purpose behind such an exercise, it's clear that the songs themselves are built to last. And that's truly the name of the game.
By Gavin Borchert on 12.28.07 in Reviews
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