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Monday, March 16, 2015

Ace Of Base Hidden Gems Review

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Ace Of Base's new album is out! And you should drop everything and go buy it right now! It is called Hidden Gems. And as the title suggests, the album is made up of songs that either weren't released or songs that were used as b-sides or bonus tracks.

If you click on the title of each song, it will take you to a video were Ace Of Base members Jonas and Ulf talk about the songs. What follows is my review.

1. "Would You Believe" — This is an amazing song that was recorded in 2005 and previously unreleased. Although some demo versions were leaked a few years ago. Both Linn and Jenny singing with their own parts. Even though the song is 10 years old, it is amazing and it is a wonderful song. It is the first single and it is better than most songs out there today. There is an official lyric video. But check out this fan-made video using clips from the "Lucky Love" video. They did an amazing job.

2. "Go Go Go" — Another great song that was previously unreleased from around 2002. Although a demo called "Dr. Beat" was leaked a couple of years ago, too. This is apparently a single in some country and might just be the second single. Go Go Go Dr. Beat indeed!

3. "Into The Night of Blue" — This was actually written with the legendary Dianne Warren. And it was released as Japanese bonus track for the Cruel Summer/Flowers album in 1998 as well as a b-side on the Scandinavian version of the "Cruel Summer" single and the UK single "Every Time It Rains." This is a very ABBA-esque sounding song. A delight!

4. "Don't Stop" — This was a Japanese bonus track for the album Da Capo in 2002. It also appeared on the b-side of the German single "The Juvenile." It's a wonderful, fun song!

5. "Make My Day" — Also a previously unreleased song from around 2002! I'd heard a demo of it called "Tho Tho Thoa." Ulf says the beat is too fast, and I think I would agree with him. Having said that, it a very fun song! The chorus is great and there is a magical middle-8 section. My only complaint is that magical middle-8 section comes back for the end and the song is faded out during it, and far too early in my opinion.

6. "Mercy Mercy" — I'm very familiar with this mid-tempo number as it was one of the b-sides to the UK single "Always Have, Always Will" in 1998. It's a nice little song.

7. "No Good Lover" — This was the b-side to "Life Is A Flower" in 1998. It's very reggae and definitely has the classic Ace Of Base sound. Funny lyrics, too!

8. "Summer Days" — Another Japanese bonus track from the Da Capo album in 2002. A beautiful song about remembering good times. Bittersweet to a happy beat with a lovely melody.

9. "Giving It Up (2014 Remake)" — Never before released! It is a really old song originally called "Bad Dad." Jonas and Ulf got out the various demos of it and gave it an updated feel. It was originally recorded around the time of their first album.

10. "Come To Me" — A brilliant song from 2002 that finally gets released. It is so good that it could be a single! I think it is very uplifting. The middle-8 drops the beat out and it comes back with a key change. LOVE it!

11. "Prime Time" — This is basically the same song as the superior "Cuba Cuba Libre." The latter song was recorded in 2002, but the label didn't like it. It was reworked into "Prime Time" in 2005, but it still never saw the light of day. Until now! This is good. But "Cuba Cuba Libre" is great!

12. "Look Around Me" — An unreleased song from their album The Bridge in 1995. However, if you have their 1998 European album Flowers, then you'll notice Ulf's rap from this song was released in the song "I Pray." The song sounds like it fit right in on The Bridge.

13. "Pole Position" — Previously unreleased, but the demo has been around for awhile. The liner notes in Hidden Gems say that this is from their first album era. But it sounds nothing like their first album. And the liner notes, Ulf says: "We wanted this to be our first single and Jacques Villeneuve would do a feature on it when he was F1 World Champion." However, Jacques Villeneuve was world champion in 1997. And in the commentary, they say it did indeed come later. Is it me, or was the melody of the verses used again in "Doreen" from The Golden Ration album in 2010?

Here is a performance of "Southern California" with Clara and Julia.

14. "Sunset In Southern California" — Speaking of The Golden Ratio album, this is the unreleased original version with Linn and Jenny singing. The song is very different to The Golden Ratio version. Only the choruses are the same. I think I prefer this version. The Golden Ratio version always reminds me of a country song.

15. "Moments of Magic" — One of my favorite unreleased songs. I love it! It always reminds me of my wedding. So I think of it as a wedding song. There was a demo floating around that was a slow song. This one has a beat, and it is pretty fab.

A live version of "Hey Darling" ... but not the Bells Version.

16. "Hey Darling (Bells Version)" — This is an unreleased mix of the song that appeared on their 2002 album Da Capo. However, because of a glitch … there were two different version pressed on the CD in various regions. So this is a different version altogether with more music elements … like Bells.

17. "Cuba Cuba Libre" — I talked about this under "Prime Time." This is the far superior version of the song. I absolutely love it! A shame it is just now being released. But better late than never!

I really hope there is a Hidden Gems 2 album to come! And here's what I'd love to hear ..

Happy Nation/The Sign Era:

"Wheel Of Fortune (Original 1991 Version)"
The Bridge Era:

Flowers/Cruel Summer Era:

"Love In December (Alternative Disco Version)"

Da Capo Era:

"Remember The Words (Original Production)"
"World Down Under (Fast Version)"
"All Because Of You"

From 2008:

The Golden Ration Era:

"Let It Play (On The Radio)"
"The Piper"

But for now, go buy Hidden Gems from Ace Of Base! You won't be sorry!

Cheers then,

1 comment:

  1. Re Pole Position I think they meant first single from the next album (which would have come after Flowers), but someone misinterpreted what Ulf meant and thought it was from the first album