What We Missed is WMSR’s review of summer releases.
I must begin this list by telling you: I love a good bop.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was the musical blockbuster of the summer, premiering in the United States on July 20th to great critical acclaim (or, to great acclaim from the staff of WMSR, which I assume to be the same thing). The movie flashes backwards and forwards in time from the original film, following Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) reopening the hotel after her mother Donna’s death and the young version of Donna (Lily James) as she graduates from Oxford to begin the series of events/sexcapades that sparked the original film.
In this pseudo-sequel, all of the old stars are back—with the notable addition of Cher. My only critique is that the film is sadly lacking a reunion hookup between Tanya and Pepper (now ten years older!)/the incredible number “Does Your Mother Know.” Besides that one disappointment, the film and its bops are both 5/5 stars.
Now, I will provide something that Buzzfeed has probably already done: a ranking of every song in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. And yes, I’m going to say the movie’s full name every time.
18. “The Day Before You Came”
Does anyone remember this song? Who sings it? Is it the spooky ghost of Meryl Streep who appears at the end of the movie? I’m sure no one will answer these questions just like no one has ever listened to this song after they heard it in the movie.
17. “My Love, My Life”
Meryl Streep is CHEATED out of bops in this film. Sure, she’s a ghost, but where is the panache? Where is “Money Money Money (It’s A Rich Ghost’s World)” ???
16. “I Have A Dream”
Another reprise from the original, Lily James’s version is just as good as Amanda Seyfried’s. Alas, neither can make the song not boring.
15. “I Wonder (Departure)”
Introducing a new slow song? Groundbreaking.
14. “I’ve Been Waiting For You”
This is perhaps my favorite of the slow songs (one may even call it a slow bop, because I have it stuck in my head all the time). Let me know in the comments if you also think about these lyrics all the time: “You thrill me, you delight me/You please me, you excite me/You’re all that I’ve been yearning for/I love you, I adore you/I lay my life before you/I only want you more and more.” This is a nice love song, guys. I won’t apologize.
13. “Dancing Queen”
We all love “Dancing Queen,” and we DEFINITELY love Bill and Harry recreating the Titanic boat moment while singing it, but this iteration doesn’t stack up to the original Mamma Mia! version. It’s great in the film, but less exciting as part of the soundtrack.
12. “Kisses Of Fire”
This song is the opposite of “Dancing Queen” in that it barely features in the movie but is revamped for the soundtrack, becoming a huge chorus and a true bop. Unfortunately, since the audio doesn’t match the visuals, I can’t rate “Kisses Of Fire” any higher. Even if buying a bar because you’re the only person who would hire your band to play is a very relatable move.
11. “Super Trouper”
No one can perform “Super Trouper” as well as Donna & the Dynamos, and even Donna’s daughter can’t replace her. The perfect setting for this song is before a bachelorette party/the realization that your daughter’s three dads have all crashed her wedding, and this mise-en-scene is not delivered by Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
10. “Knowing Me, Knowing You”
Would have been a bop, except that I care 0% about Sam in either his young or old versions. Hopefully this is not a controversial opinion, because he is lame and bad boyfriend in all iterations.
9. “Mamma Mia!”
Again, this film is not the setting for “Mamma Mia!”—Lily James does an excellent performance, but she is neither in overalls nor spying on her three ex-lovers.
8. “Andante, Andante”
A slow bop a la “I’ve Been Waiting For You,” “I’m your music/I’m your song” is a beautiful love song that also acknowledges we’re watching a musical. All I’ve ever wanted!
7. “When I Kissed The Teacher”
My favorite ABBA song that I’ve never heard before, “When I Kissed The Teacher” makes no sense as a graduation stunt or as a song that really fits into the plot of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Still, it’s the most surprising, most no-strings-attached fun song of the film.
6. “One Of Us”
A breakup bop. If only Sky—my least favorite character in the Mamma Mia! world—wasn’t in it, then it would be perfect. Or if they had stayed broken up.
Cher sings this ballad about the Mexican Revolution while making prolonged eye contact with her lost love, Andy Garcia. They are immortal. This is all you must know.
4. “Why Did It Have To Be Me?”
Bill was never my favorite of Sophie’s three dads (he is, rather, my second least favorite), but Young Bill redeems Old Bill completely. “Why Did It Have To Be Me” is the perfect song for a summer fling, especially when Bill and Donna’s teasing/flirting is interrupted by Harry, who sings genuinely the lyrics they’ve been using as a bit.
3. “The Name of the Game”
If Lily James wasn’t already famous, this would be her star-making number. She looks beautiful; her voice is incredible; the song is perfect. No further questions.
2. “Angel Eyes”
“Angel Eyes” is perhaps the most important song of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, for it reminds us that Tanya and Rosie are the true stars of the franchise. (It’s been a while since Tanya’s iconic line “Be still, my beating vagina,” so it’s high time they get another moment.) “Angel Eyes” is also a vehicle of great advice as well as a bop: it teaches the audience that men are untrustworthy, friendship and mimosas are forever, and you can—nay, should—steal a spa bathrobe for your personal use. Lessons we all need to learn.
It’s possible that I’m biased because I am in love with Hugh Skinner, the actor who plays Young Harry (and two characters named Will in my favorite British comedies, The Windsors and W1A). But here’s the thing: he’s charming, awkward, and can get an entire French restaurant to help him convince a girl to have sex with him. He also is so Lawful Good that he almost calls the police on Donna for being behind the hotel desk, so framing a musical number in public feels like character development for him as well as just, well, a bop.