MAMMA MIA! (Universal) Rating: NNN
A generous colleague of mine gave me a disc containing every song in the recently released movie, in order of its sequence in the film but sung by ABBA. So I can attest to the fact that the movie soundtrack beats the ABBA tracks every time.
Sometimes it's just that the soundtrack has more punch or the guitars are crunchier (Does Your Mother Know?). Often it's because the choruses sound better sung by Benny's 30-voice choir and not by four pop stars (Voulez-Vous, Lay All Your Love On Me). As for Meryl Streep, trust me, she can sing - her emotionally charged version of The Winner Takes It All totally eclipses Agnetha Fältskog's original.
But essentially, these tracks outshine ABBA's because the songs are better show tunes than pop songs. Mind you, if you hate ABBA, forget about it.