Ace Of Base, Singles Of The 90s

Keith Harris

By Keith Harris

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Love is demanding, without understanding. Buoyant Swedes like these will never successfully dodge those pesky Abba comparisons, so let's set the record straight: Ace of Base were better. Like, a lot better. Benny and Bjorn may have drawn up the initial blueprints for mega-platinum Europop, but by the time sisters Jenny and Linn Berggren were recruited by their brother Jonas and his fellow keyboardist Ulf Ekberg, three colossally tectonic musical developments had considerably toned up the old girl: techno, Madonna and the gloomier edge of new wave. In other words, Ace of Base had beats (a sly reggae no less insinuating for being synthetized), savvy chick singers (well, savvier than Agnetha and Frida anyway) and an undertow of melancholy portent that was as tart as lemon-lime bubble gum.

Ace of Base: Better than ABBA.

A decade and a half after the fact, haunting questions remain: Is the sex predator of "All That She Wants" a duplicitously fertile welfare cheat? Does the fact that "Happy Nation" and "Beautiful Life" both sound so darn sad have something to do that Ace of Base hail from a socialist paradise that is nonetheless dangerously daylight-deficient? And most of all, will Eurodisco ever top the amazingness that is "The Sign"? If you hear anyone dismissing these confections as mere "guilty pleasures," steer clear of the bum. How could a person like that bring you joy?