en: Life (The Cardigans album) [info]
The second album by the Swedish pop/rock mavericks may have begun life as an in-joke, but it was the definitive statement that launched them as a truly international force as well. Here was an album that demonstrated that not only did they have the multi-faceted writing skills to put them in the charts, but also they had the studio smarts to back the songs up as well.
Formed by two heavy metal fans, Peter Svensson and Magnus Svengingsson, the band had already caught the attention of the European market with their debut, Emmerdale. Two things made them stand out: The singing by non-professional Nina Persson and the music theory and jazz background of Svensson. This allowed them to be one of the first truly 'ironic' pop acts that could turn out saccharine, sunshiney hits that still had enough intelligence to appeal to a broader audience.
By 1994 they'd toured the world and really gelled. Life was to be their most optimistic-sounding effort, filled to the brim with gems like "Hey! Get Out Of My Way" and "Daddy's Car" (they were always great at song titles). The former and "Carnival" were to be their entry points into the lower reaches of the UK charts. Major smash single territory was to wait until the follow-up's "Lovefool", but Life was a platinum-seller on its own merits. What's more, as a cheeky nod to their founders' pasts they even managed to include a popped-up version of Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". Talk about dextrous.
The world's press of course then had the band tagged as popticians and nothing more. Subsequent, darker albums like *Super Extra Gravity *and *Long Gone before Daylight *would prove them to be far deeper than that. But *Life *remains a pop gem.