Mamma Mia! – the hit movie based on the worldwide hit musical based on the worldwide hits of ABBA – is getting a sequel. Can we then expect a musical based on the new movie? Here’s hoping.
Cameras have rolled, Hollywood stars have sung again (don’t be rude, Pierce’s vocals weren’t as bad as you’re making out) and unlike a James Cameron/Avatar update, there wasn’t a decade to wait between announcement and release date. Later this year you can return to a Greek island and the tale of one girl, her mother, and three potential fathers. Who knew Benny and Björn had so much in common with Jeremy Kyle?
But here’s what any ABBA fan whose complete ABBA collection comprises ABBA Gold, and at a push the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, is saying: “Are there any songs left?” Well yes. Hundreds. Not all as pop-perfect as Dancing Queen or The Winner Takes It All, but eight studio albums, from the flower power-esque debut to the electronic eighties of their final LP. Based on the trailer, we’re going to see a few re-workings from the first film, which is a bit of a shame considering how much more gold there is to be discovered. And if we’re completely honest, the rest will probably be based on More ABBA Gold.
So without spoiling anything for ourselves, let’s have a look/listen at what to expect when Mamma Mia! goes again. And maybe even guess how they could tie them into some sort of story.
First off, the songs they missed from ABBA Gold (how could they?)
Mamma Mia! producers: “We’ve got Cher in the film, but we’re not telling you what she’s singing.”
Cher, on her legendary Twitter account, two minutes later: “I in MAMMA *mum emoji* MIA *clapperboard emoji* singing FURNANDO *microphone emoji*”
Knowing Me, Knowing You
It appeared in the stage show, and with the film flashbacking to Donna’s past, those lyrics of “memories, good days, bad days” are bound to lead into something with a sepia tone.
One of Us
ABBA’s last hit, and another one that references exes: “They passed me by, all of those great romances.”
The Name of the Game
While appearing on the film’s soundtrack, The Name of the Game only appears in a deleted scene on the DVD (they were sort of like Netflix in the olden days, but not as old as the ABBA olden days). It’s too big a hit to not include, surely?!
And then, to More ABBA Gold:
Summer Night City
A personal non-ABBA Gold favourite (although reportedly not a favourite of ABBA‘s), Summer Night City is a disco number (surprise surprise) and was a sizeable hit in ’78, becoming their last chart-topper in their home country. (Sweden, if you wasn’t aware.) With lyrics about “walking in the moonlight, love making in the park” it’d lend itself ideally to Donna’s younger dalliances.
Again, “look into his Angeleyes, one look and your hypnotised” – this would be ideal for whichever of Donna’s three (that we know of) love interests gets her between the sheets like she was merely an ingredient in a particularly spicy Moussaka (potentially xenophobic comment there, sorry Greece).
The Day Before You Came
Potentially the most literal song in the band’s back catalogue (no metaphors likening a romance to a historical battle here), the content might not quite fit, but TRASH‘s film buff Robert can see Julie Walters giving this one a go, and adding in the “doodle-oo, doodle-oo” synths herself in her trademark, Northern tone.
A swooping power balled that might be difficult to crowbar in, but if they did it with Waterloo…
Donna’s band are going to be at the height of their non-fame during this film, and this bit of glam-rock would sound great blasting out from a small Greek club.
Is it about aliens? I always thought it was about aliens. And with a vocoder effect on the vocals, let’s give this one to Cher. Plot twist: Grandma is an alien.
On and On and On
Another one that’s absolutely ideal for Donna’s band (AKA the original Sugababes) to belt out.
Young Donna laying on her front on the bed, legs kicked in the air, twirling the telephone cord. Easy.
I Wonder (Departure)
Lyrically it’s made for a reminiscent moment from young Donna – leaving her past behind, and musically it’s grand crescendo two-thirds in is made for a cliff top spin, scarf in the air, to tie in nicely to Streep’s The Winner Takes It All performance.
In all honesty, possibly one of the weakest songs on the whole collection. Let’s just leave it off.
Head Over Heels
One for Donna and Rosie to sing about Tanya, the cougar played by Christina Baranski in the original film. “She’s a girl with a taste for the world…”
When I Kissed The Teacher
This track has been confirmed, with Benny playing the part of the teacher.
I Am The City
A sort of new track on More ABBA Gold (it was recorded in 1982 but never released), the only way this might work is in some sort of La La Land, odd opener that kind of covers the setting but not the main characters. There’s probably a technical term for this.
Quite easy really, just shove in a character with this name…
Another used in the original musical (for a dream sequence, no less), it might be odd to include it in a different way, but it’s one of the best, non-successful singles, and whereas Sophie sang it originally, she could share the vocal with her mum for a same situation, different decades duet.
The Way Old Friends Do
Clearly a favourite of the band’s, with them performing it in 2016 for their first “gig” in over 3 decades. As with When All I Said And Done, it’s a textbook almost-closer to the film, probably when we’re flashed-forward to the present day and Streep, Brosnan and co have got their arms round each other.
And the rest – one from each studio album – that are crying out for a part in a musical:
People Need Love
The band’s first single, a honky-tonk piano led romp almost sounding nothing like ABBA (technically released by Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid). The background dancers and singers can la la la until their heart’s content.
“Where is the Spring and Summer that once was yours and mine?” – even as a snippet, with the rest of the melody playing as part of the score, this Brotherhood Of Man-ish (a British, ABBA-ish, Eurovision band) track screams sunsets.
I’ve Been Waiting For You
Julie Walter‘s Rosie can continue to chase some companionship with this one: “And finally it seems my lonely days are through – I’ve been waiting for you.”
I’m A Marionette
Part of the mini-musical The Girl With The Golden Hair, which the band performed during their 1977 world tour, let’s say Donna’s getting herself all in a TANGLE, she feels like she’s being PLAYED… TOYED around. Hey! You could almost say she’s sort of like a marionette.
Lovers (Live A Little Longer)
Genuinely one of the best ABBA songs you may not have heard – Lovers (Live A Little Longer) is like the step-sister of Dancing Queen. She’s still got the strings and the disco beat, but she’s a little more mysterious and she doesn’t always do what you’re expecting. This would be a great one for either Meryl and Pierce to get one with, following a spat perhaps…
Happy New Year
You know what was missing from this camp musical rom-com caper… A bit of Christmas. Or that day exactly one week afterwards.
In fact, let’s tick another box. It’s a camp rom-com musical, its a Christmas film, it’s a WAR FILM. Think of Soldiers moment as that bit in Grease 2 where he sings about “doing it for our country….”, when they actually mean “doing it” in the rude sense.
So there we have it – Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (almost) fully mapped out with songs and scene suggestions for them. And actually, probably enough songs for part 3 – Mamma Mia! The Same Show Again.