ABBA's music has always been unapologetically commercial. Songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are known to have paid close attention to musical trends and adapted their compositions to appeal to popular tastes. Their songs are tidy three-minute packages suited for radio play, and many, like “Dancing Queen,” were thematically and stylistically suited for the dance hall. With densely layered tracks, their songs filled up space; with pulsing beats and memorable melodic hooks, they were crafted to be sing-along crowd-pleasing favorites.
“Dancing Queen” typifies ABBA’s successful formula. After an unforgettable keyboard glissando, the drums lay down a disco beat. The eight-bar stanzas serve only to set the table for the chorus that provides both the melodic hook and emotional high point of the song.
Some have tried to impose a salacious meaning to the lyrics (for example: "You come in to look for a king / Anybody could be that guy” or “You’re a teaser, you turn ’em on / Leave them burning and then you’re gone"), but it’s a long reach. In fact, the lyrics echo the fundamentally innocent character of the music. They set out to capture both the exuberance of dance and the paradoxical combination of being lost in the music while happily aware that you are the center of attention.