Song 325: ABBA, “Dancing Queen” (1976)

abba-dancing-queen-rca-victor

I’ve been debating for a while about which ABBA song to write about, but who am I kidding? It was always going to be “Dancing Queen,” that unstoppable pop stalwart. It’s probably being played at some wedding or Bar Mitzvah at this very moment. And everybody is happy about it.

The best thing about “Dancing Queen,” in my opinion, is its pace. It just thumps along, taking its sweet time as if aware of its own greatness. There aren’t many midtempo party songs—maybe because it results in some super-awkward dancing—but ABBA absolutely nails it here. The drums are the key; they keep the beat steady while offering the occasional “bop-bop” snare hits (you can hear them after Agnetha Fältskog sings “only seventeen” in each chorus).

The second-best thing about “Dancing Queen”? That piano. Without it, the song is just a pretty-good pop song; with the piano included, you’re immediately reminded of old dance halls and romantic movies. It sounds like love and happiness. (It also inspired Elvis Costello to use a similar piano sound on “Oliver’s Army,” a decision that elevated his song from B-side status to worldwide hit. Though, it should be noted, “Oliver’s Army” is… not about love and happiness.)

Will the popularity of “Dancing Queen” ever end? I hope not. In fact, I think it should be instated as a required song at celebratory public functions. That’s basically already happened, I just think we need to make it official.

Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s