Saturday Night Fever
Album Comparisons: Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever is the essential disco film, the quintessential showcase on celluloid of late 70s fashion, style, choreography, and music, and the feature that made John Travolta's a household name. Of course, one could point out his character's abundance of undesirable qualities - bigotry, racism, megalomania, narcissism, and misogyny - but in Hollywood's reality only the "coolness" matters, and the character of Tony Manero has come to be seen as the epitome of masculine cool for the late 70s disco era. It's true that the film's style and theme are dated today, but the soundtrack remains absolutely killer. I finally "discovered" this album in the late 90s toward the end of my college days, and the disc took a good deal of wear and tear from countless bumps and jolts in the portable CD player during the 80 mile round trip to and from Arlington three to five days a week. There have been - as of this writing - three major compact disc releases of this classic album, and for an album of this stature only the best is good enough. Which one will that be?

Stayin' Alive

1987 Polydor CD release

Stayin' Alive

1995 remaster

Stayin' Alive

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Stayin' Alive

How Deep Is Your Love

1987 Polydor CD release

How Deep is Your Love

1995 remaster

How Deep is Your Love

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

How Deep is Your Love

Night Fever

1987 Polydor CD release

Night Fever

1995 remaster

Night Fever

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Night Fever

More Than a Woman (Bee Gees)

1987 Polydor CD release

More Than a Woman

1995 remaster

More Than a Woman

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

More Than a Woman

If I Can't Have You

1987 Polydor CD release

If I Can't Have You

1995 remaster

If I Can't Have You

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

If I Can't Have You

A Fifth of Beethoven

1987 Polydor CD release

A Fifth of Beethoven

1995 remaster

A Fifth of Beethoven

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

A Fifth of Beethoven

More Than a Woman (Tavares)

1987 Polydor CD release

More Than a Woman

1995 remaster

More Than a Woman

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

More Than a Woman

Manhattan Skyline

1987 Polydor CD release

Manhattan Skyline

1995 remaster

Manhattan Skyline

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Manhattan Skyline

Calypso Breakdown

1987 Polydor CD release

Calypso Breakdown

1995 remaster

Calypso Breakdown

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Calypso Breakdown

Night on Disco Mountain

1987 Polydor CD release

Night on Disco Mountain

1995 remaster

Night on Disco Mountain

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Night on Disco Mountain

Open Sesame

1987 Polydor CD release

Open Sesame

1995 remaster

Open Sesame

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Open Sesame

Jive Talkin'

1987 Polydor CD release

Jive Talkin'

1995 remaster

Jive Talkin'

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Jive Talkin'

You Should Be Dancin'

1987 Polydor CD release

You Should Be Dancin'

1995 remaster

You Should Be Dancin'

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

You Should Be Dancin'

Boogie Shoes

1987 Polydor CD release

Boogie Shoes

1995 remaster

Boogie Shoes

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Boogie Shoes

Salsation

1987 Polydor CD release

Salsation

1995 remaster

Salsation

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Salsation

K-Jee

1987 Polydor CD release

K-Jee

1995 remaster

K-Jee

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

K-Jee

Disco Inferno

1987 Polydor CD release

Disco Inferno

1995 remaster

Disco Inferno

1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release

Disco Inferno
And the winner is: 1998 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab release. This one is the clear winner, with great sound and great dynamics. The remastered version looks at first glance to be okay, but don't let the surprisingly low mastering levels fool you as it has nevertheless (and clearly so when compared to the other two versions) been compressed. It also sounds a bit bright to my ears when compared with the MFSL release, as if an effort was made to enhance the higher end frequencies. This is, unfortunately, something that seems to be common with remasters, done in an attempt to fool the listener into thinking the result is crisper and cleaner sounding. Honestly, both the MFSL and the remaster sound pretty good, but the added compression is a deal breaker for me. The 1987 release has better dynamics than the remaster when adjusted for volume level, but isn't as clean as the MFSL audiophile version. Overall, the remaster is another great release from the folks at the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab.