Is it just me, or is there something very scary about ABBA's Dancing Queen and William Shatner appearing on the same album? Perhaps it's a subliminal fear that some sadistic DJ rigged with the sampling equivalent of The Enterprise's transport deck might shuffle their molecules onto to the same track. Shudder.
Fortunately, Dancing Queen comes courtesy of A Teens who sing a damn site better than either Shatner or the A Team, but with a lot less attitude. This faithful, modestly accomplished rendition neither insults nor embellishes the original. A great song, but surely every cinephile has already surfeited.
Which may explain it being overlooked as the soundtrack's hit-single trailblazer, in favour of Bosson's One Of A Million . . . er, One In A Million. Very pleasant vocals, very catchy chorus, very cliched drum programming, very misleading title, very corporate average. No wonder it's been so successful.
Another recent success to excess have been the Baha Men. After they Let The Dogs Out I was sincerely hoping someone would lock them in the empty kennel. However, I must sheep(dog)ishly admit that their Get Ya Party On has enough deep funk groove to facilitate its own bidding.
And if there's a party going on, the laws of physics dictate that there must be at least one airing of Mustang Sally. Los Lobos achieve the miraculous here by breathing new life into the only song that's suffered from more overkill than Dancing Queen.
Sharing their hyper-soulfulness is the following track, Bob Schneider's Bullets, before a sharp tack(y) to Southern Hicksville, in the shape of the fatuously dipsomaniacal Liquored Up And Lacquered Down, anaesthetises us for the advent of Willy Shatner.
The dramatic pauses and end-of-phrase inflexions that made Captain Kirk an icon and Shatner's (in)famous performance of Rocket Man a potentially lethal weapon (death by kitsch), are here on Miss United States, but whip me with the winning ribbon if I'm dreaming Scotty, so is the most infectious chorus since . . . well, Dancing Queen.
But the crowning achievement of this pop pageant is the BT remix of the Tom Jones warbled, Paul Anka penned, She's A Lady. Jones doesn't write songs; doesn't play a musical instrument to any degree of note(s); but always plays to his strengths. I don't know if this particular reworking was the initiative of the Underwear Magnet himself, or whether he merely agreed it was a good idea, but with a little help from a voice that is indeed One In A Million, BT creates serves up a compelling blend of electronica and soul. A great example of not just resting on one's samples.
Published March 8, 2001