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The best of a fine back catalogue
on 24 January 2010
The Cardigans were 1995's brightest pop suprise when they first emerged in the european music scene with " Life " and further managed a number of things in the years to follow : they significantly expanded their fanbase , made it to America with their 1996 number one hit-single " Lovefool " and outlived a crowd of peers ( Sleeper , Elastica , Cast , the Bluetones , Catatonia and Echobelly to name just a few ) who received far more generous amounts of hype by the music press back in the day , yet failed to keep the audience's interest in them on the longrun . Most impportantly though , is the evolution the group displayed as artists , experimenting with different sounds and styles and channeling new creative paths from album to album.
Indeed , their metamorphosis from the sunny , beautiful kids with retro influences of the mid 90's to the dark , cool and sophisticated country-rock musicians of the mid 00's is , at least to say , impressive . A lot of it seemed to be due to the desire by the band to shed their old skin as they themselfs where growing up and going through changes . On their first couple of records they were just out of their teens , enjoying life and all it's little pleasures ( a ride with daddy's car maybe ? ) . Then , on " First Band Of The Moon " , they added more cheeky humour and and poisonous sugar to their sound .
If the 80's were a decade known for outrageous haircuts and a happy , over-the-top approach to music and style , the 90's where a decade where some of the most depressing music ever released went top 20 .In that era of grudge and britpop , the Cardigans were an interesting off-field presence . Maybe the mood of the times caught up with them and they gave dark electronica a try with 1998's " Gran Turismo " from which came their second biggest hit , " My Favourite Game " . Bands like Garbage and Morcheeba were ruiling the airwaves at the time , still it was particularly suprising for me seeing Mrs.Persson , so enigmatic with her doll-like feautures , starting in the mysterious and twisted video of " Hanging Around " which almost felt like a David Lynch piece . " Long Gone Before Daylight " saw them returning back to the basics in a way , with amazing results while their swam song " Super Extra Gravity " was the work of now music veterans ( strangely enough , still in their mid thirties ) who proved that could also rock pretty damn good on tracks such as " I Need A Fine Wine And You , You Need To Be Nicer "
Not all those transitions went by smoothly for all fans , ( I for once ,had a difficulty embracing some of the late 90's material to be honest ) but this 2008 best of wisely includes all the stand-out songs from their 5 international albums in chronological order . While the older songs might be more known , it's their more recent , more undiscovered work that deserves the extra attention . Even more songs could have been included from 2003's LGBTD ( arguably their best record yet ) , such the heartbreaking " Couldn't Care Less " or " A Good Horse " while the three tracks from 2005's more rough-edged " ...Gravity " are some of the most meaty , gripping material they ever written . Some omisions are inevitable ( personally i would love to see more of the quirky , dreamy melodies of Emmerdale make the cut ) but overall this is truly a pop gem , especially for the younger listeners who might not be that much aware of their work .