dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ace Of Base? I Always Have And Always Will

This ain't no lie: I've been wanting to write about Ace Of Base since Chart Rigger fluttered to life almost three years ago. Now I'm just tired of waitin'!

You'd think these four would have better things to do than to get married and shoot out kids -- you know, like actually putting out an album! It's been five (!!) years since Da Capo, and no, that shady bargain-bin Platinum Collection hits CD Arista lobbed out four years ago doesn't count.

These cats are interwoven into the fabric of D'luv's formative years -- from driving around during lonely teenage fall nights listening to "All That She Wants," to ditching my uncle's funeral early in January '94 to buy the "The Sign" single at the mall, to a week-long 21-year-old loss of my marbles with a coke-addled mafioso with "Beautiful Life" as the constant backdrop (hey, I was looking for someone to guide me on my way, now and forever).

Can you actually believe there was a time when an act like Ace Of Base had the best-selling album of the year in America (1994, 7 million copies, The Sign)!? I mean, all you Swede-pop-addicted bloggers oughtta have a shrine to these phonetically-challenged mystics next to your cupboard full of Ramen Noodles. If I'm not mistaken, in December 1999 Billboard declared them to be the top-selling foreign act of the 1990s in the U.S.

So where'd they fuck off to? Well, Clive Davis dropped them from Arista after three albums and a greatest hits, they put Da Capo out in certain countries in fall 2002, and have done sporadic live appearances since then inbetween raising individual families.

However, a check of Ace Of Base's rarely-updated website this morning reveals that they've scheduled almost a dozen concerts (their first full ones since 1996) in Russia, Denmark and Lithuania in November and December.

Wikipedia also notes the following:
In a recent interview in Sweden, Jenny Berggren revealed information about the band's future plans. She said there is "a lot" happening in the Ace of Base camp and that "we have to wait and see". The next album is shaping up to be really good; with some good songs, but with no producers or renewed contract as yet.
This gets me kinda giddy. I dunno. I feel like of all the cheese-pop '90s acts to be ashamed of, Ace Of Base kind of transcend that and deserve some props. I, for one, am looking forward to their return. For me, as a group that wrote and produced much of their own material and whose reggae/Europop-hybrid style was often imitated -- plus who launched the career of Max Martin -- they're much, much more relevant to pop than Spice Girls ever were.

Here's to turning up the Base in 2008.

I just wanna be anybody...

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13 Comments:

  • At 4:10 AM, Blogger Paul said…

    well slap my ass and call me nancy! yay, i adore the base! I was never too keen on all that she wants but they soon won me over with the sign, which is a tremend pop song. DazPasteMyFace still maintains always have always will is one of the greatest pop creations of the 90s. OOo guess what i will be listening to all day?! PS the blonde guy, not the stocky one, was well porkable

     
  • At 6:48 AM, Blogger Phil said…

    Even though I was old enough to know better at the time, I honestly used to think she was singing about wanting another child in All That She Wants. And I used to love the way the beardy stocky one used to do a 'keyboard dance' ie, stab with one hand, mouth the words, wiggle yer arse and wave in time with the other hand. Altogether now...

     
  • At 4:20 PM, Blogger Yuяi said…

    1 <3 AOB!! I've missed these Swedish jokers too. I paid $$ on eBay for Da Capo back in the day and loved it--even though it was no Sign.

    "All That She Wants" is not about popping out the kids???...say it ain't so.......!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Poster Girl said…

    Criminally, I have virtually no knowledge of them--I mean, I know and love some big hits ("The Sign," "All That She Wants," "It's A Beautiful Life," "Don't Turn Around"), but that's it.

    What's the album to start with?

     
  • At 12:31 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    It's amazing Ace Of Base were so successful. Even then they were very out of step with "popular" music at the time. They were the poster children of the anti-grunge movement and for that fact alone they deserve a special place in pop history.

    My favourite Ace Of Base song is "Lucky Love" - I think "The Bridge" was a huge improvement on "Happy Nation" - despite the great singles on the first album.

     
  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger J'ason D'luv said…

    To answer Poster Girl's question first, Ace Of Base really only had four album, plus about half a dozen or so 'hits' collections their labels have thrown out over the years.

    Since you're here in the States, their albums often were retitled here at Arista and Clive Davis's request, as their original titles were deemed 'too European.' The same thing with the tracklisting....Clive would have them record certain songs or re-record others specifically for the American market.

    The most notorious case of this was their big European hit, "Life Is A Flower," which they were made to re-record and retitle as "Whenever You're Near Me."

    Naturally, Singles Of The 90s is a great place to start, and though it wasn't released here, it's on U.S. iTunes.

    Anyway, these are their albums in order of greatness, in my opinion:

    1. FLOWERS (U.S. title Cruel Summer, 1998) -- surprisingly, the European version is the one that's on U.S. iTunes. Their are some great album tracks on there, like "Captain Nemo" and "Dr. Sun," that got left off Cruel Summer here. Stupid Clive.

    2. THE BRIDGE (1995) -- Max Martin's big break! Plus, "Beautiful Life" really is one of the greatest singles of the '90s. "Blooming 18," "Ravine" and "Angel Eyes" are all great album tracks. It was a much more mature album for them than their debut, which is odd since they were forced to rush it out after the huge success of The Sign they year before.

    3. DA CAPO (2002) -- An overall great album, though it only came out in parts of Europe and Asia, and the album tracks were much better than the singles. Actually, the one single, "Unspeakable," is probably the best song on the album. Then go for "Hey Darling," "Remember The Words" and "Change With The Light."

    4. THE SIGN (called Happy Nation everywhere else in the world, 1993) -- Naturally, their most-dated, uneven album would have been their biggest success. Where's the loyalty, fickle pop consumers?? It's all very dated, but it has "The Sign," "All That She Wants," "Don't Turn Around" and "Living In Danger," so there you go. "Young And Proud" is a jam, too.

     
  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Deschanel said…

    They should tour with Alcazar, that would be Sweeeede!

     
  • At 2:29 PM, Blogger Meeg said…

    I am not-as-embarassed-as-perhaps-I-should-be to admit that "The Sign" was the first CD I ever bought. Ace of Base is totally cheesy and eurotrashy but they put out some fun songs. I wouldnt mind listening to "the Sign" or "Life is a Flower" right now. Also, what?! "All that she wants" isn't about some girl who wants to get knocked up? What is about then?

     
  • At 3:07 PM, Blogger Lily Sesilia said…

    they are back!! with some gigs that will happen soon!!! I am going to see them LIVE in Copenhagen!!
    Big fan of AOB since 1993 and still strong... :)
    AOB!!

     
  • At 10:03 PM, Anonymous zot said…

    Back then I thought the thinner guy was so freaking' hot! I still think he was hotter than, but the fatter guy is way, way hotter now!

     
  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger Stenar said…

    I will always love Ace of Base. I am excited that they're working on a new album.

     
  • At 9:32 PM, Blogger Steven Vance said…

    You forgot to mention their brief return to the American shores when Bally fitness clubs used their song, "Beautiful Life," to promote the hope of having a beautiful body similar to the actors in the commercial.

    For some, like myself, this revival was a revered 30-second period of TV watching.

     
  • At 9:55 PM, Blogger Joshua said…

    I wish I had seen this post substantially before Halloween. Get a group together and be Ace of Base for halloween! That would be LEGENDARY

     

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