This week The League wants to know what our guilty pleasures are. Well friends (that is, if you still want to be friends after this) the time has come for me to reveal my secret shame: my deep and unconditional love for Ace of Base. I’ve been sitting on this gem for a long time, carrying the torch alone, waiting for just the right moment to publicly embarrass myself.
But today you could say I SAW THE SIGN. (Sorry. Had to.)
No, you haven’t time traveled back to 1994. You’re looking at a very recent picture of Ace of Base CDs and cassingles that I still own. Present tense, baby. Though not quite as strong as it used to be, this photo is evidence of my undying love for a band that, by and large, most people have forgotten, as well as evidence that I have terrible taste in music. It is also evidence that “pop reggae” was once a thing.
Thousands of years from now when generations far into the future dig up the festering remains of our once great pop culture empire, they will unearth a tattered copy of The Sign, stare deep into the mysterious pink center of its vagina-like album art, and ponder its meaning.
The majority of you reading this probably don’t realize that Ace of Base didn’t stop making albums after The Sign–which, if you remember, was damn near inescapable with its string of worldwide hit singles (including the infectious title song) bombarding the radio and certified nine-time platinum status–but they did.
In fact, the band’s second album The Bridge was released in 1995 and was, in many respects, a far superior album. Says me. You might remember its earworm of a hit single, “Beautiful Life,” but probably not much else unless you were A) a dedicated fan; B) it was one of your “Just Add Two More CDs to Get Free Shipping!” selections from Columbia House; or C) your name is William Bruce West. I recently learned on Twitter that Will is just as much of an Ace of Base fan as I am, calling into question all my previously-held beliefs about black guys. He even knows about “Ravine.” Every reciprocated tweet was like a secret handshake welcoming me into some loser-y club for which I thought I was the only member. However, on the issue of Linn having a better voice than Jenny, well, Will and I will just have to agree to disagree.
This is how much I love Ace of Base: even though I own all of their albums on CD and digitally, I refuse to throw away this cassette tape.
After The Sign, The Swedish pop act went on to record several more albums with completely different names outside the United States where they were ignored–1997’s Cruel Summer which covered the famous Bananarama song, and the long-awaited Da Capo in 2003–before ultimately breaking up in 2009. A year later the band re-formed with two different girls (and yes I own that album too). But like Becky’s replacement on Roseanne, the new girls are prettier but it’s just not the same!
As one of the first pop groups I can remember being really into (some annoyed family members might say to the point of obsession, given they had to endure my endless looping of “Don’t Turn Around”), Ace of Base gave me my first harsh lesson about America’s relationship with pop groups. Namely, how we devour them to the bone, then quickly shit ’em out and flush. Of course, it didn’t help that Ace of Base’s upbeat, infectious pop infused with love and positivity ran counter to the flannel shirt depression of grunge and alterna-rock that was so popular during their brief period of stardom, when they perfected awesome poses like this one:
Not to mention their endearingly cheesy lyrics, made all the more so given their less than stellar command of the English language. Sweet, naive, thirteen-year-old me was certain that a big Ace of Base comeback was going to happen someday, after everyone realized their genius. Only they never did. By the time I got to high school I learned to keep my AOB love on the down low, outside of a few trusted friends who were privy to all my embarrassing interests, like Sailor Moon. Now that I think about it, this could have easily been a post about Sailor Moon.
But hey! At least it’s not Justin Bieber, AMIRITE? In fact you, you can just copy and paste that last sentence and use it for everything you’re ashamed of.
Before I go, this post would not be complete without one of Ace of Base’s classic, uncomfortable music videos that make no sense. Play me out, you angelic songstresses of Swedish pop!
Experience some of these other pearls.
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to share one of our guilty pleasures. I don’t know what can possibly be guiltier than Ace of Base, but let’s find out. Together!
- UnderScoopFire! is the Corey Haim to my Corey Feldman.
- Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool likes high school girls…of the Monster variety.
- Pop Rewind’s list will give you Goosebumps. From Fran Drescher.
I’ll update with more guilty pleasures as other Leaguers complete the assignment.
Thank you for holding. Your League post is very important to me. It will be listed here in the order in which it was received. Beep!