Ace of Base

REVIEW: ‘Gold’ – Ace Of Base

Ace Of Base – “Gold”

by Christopher Smith

In keeping with the current trend of “Gold” albums from Belinda Carlisle and Five Star, Ace Of Base, one of the biggest pop groups of the 1990’s, have released their three disc “Gold” set, taking in more than a dozen global chart hits that include number one’s in the UK and the US. Jonas Berggren (b.1967), Ulf Ekberg (b.1970), Linn Berggren (b.1970) and Jenny Berggren (b.1972) formed Ace Of Base in 1990, but it wasn’t until 1993 when they set the charts alight with their quirky number “All That She Wants”. And “All That She Wants” is another baby, apparently! The song topped the UK singles chart and became the third biggest seller of the year behind UB40 and Meatloaf. It peaked at No.2 in The States as well as making the top spot in most European countries that existed.

Their debut album “Happy Nation”, originally released in 1992, went on to sell a whopping 23 million copies worldwide and featured further hits “Wheel Of Fortune”, “Waiting For The Magic”, “Living In Danger”, the title track and “The Sign” which topped the US singles chart, made No.2 in the UK and received multiple Platinum discs for sales from Austria to Australia. As a further bonus, the group released their version of “Don’t Turn Around”, which had topped the UK singles chart in 1988 when released by Aswad. Ace Of Base’s version made No.4 in America and No.5 in the UK as well as claiming a sixth top ten hit for them all across Europe and further afield.

The quartet returned in 1995 with their second album “The Bridge”, which sold over a million copies in the US and a further five internationally. The album yielded the hits “Lucky Love”, “Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry” and “Beautiful Life”, the album’s biggest and best known hit. Although the album was a sizeable hit, cracks were beginning to show within the band. Linn was dissatisfied with many of the tracks and its production and after the lacklustre performance of the third single “Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry”, the project was abandoned. The track “My Déjà Vu” was released as a promotional track in France, while the rest of Europe got “Angel Eyes”, a track many considered to be a potential hit. This was despite some more than complimentary reviews when the album was released, one critic noting that it was a “bigger, deeper, darker and more accomplished effort than its rather half-baked predecessor”!

Undeterred, the band returned to the studio and in 1998, released their third effort, “Flowers”. This time the execution and production seemed to work as no less than seven singles were lifted from the album over a period of fifteen months. “Flowers” itself sold over 2.5 million copies, although popularity in the US was now on the wane. Nevertheless, hits came in the form of “Life Is A Flower”, Always Have, Always Will” and the groups cover of Bananarama‘s 1983 UK/US smash hit “Cruel Summer”, which Ace Of Base equalled Sara, Keren and Siobhan’s UK chart position and took to No.10 the other side of the Atlantic, one place lower than the Nana’s had achieved fifteen years earlier. “Whenever You’re Near Me” would become their last charting single in The States in late 1998 when it could only manage No.76 there.

Although interest in Ace Of Base dwindled by the close of one century and the beginning of the next, the four did achieve hits across mainland Europe with “C’est La Vie” (1999), “Beautiful Morning” and “Unspeakable”, both in 2002, as well as having minor hits with the albums “Da Capo” in 2002 and “The Golden Ratio” in 2010, their most recent studio release. The group have released a number of hits compilations over the years, the most successful (until now) being “Singles Of The 90’s” in 1999, which charted over most of Europe and was certified Platinum in Japan. Linn left the group in 2007 and Jenny followed two years later, both were replaced with singers who would record and tour with the group for another four years until Ace Of Base finished altogether.

With the release of “Gold”, Ace Of Base come back into the room, as they were and as we remember them with a greatly expanded three disc set. Disc one features sixteen of their biggest and best known hits, while disc two features mixes and remixes of these hits, many previously unavailable for many years. Disc three is a DVD disc of all the groups video singles from “All That She Wants” to “Unspeakable”. The album is released by those lovely people at Demon Music, who have been responsible for releasing many old and missed albums from the past forty years from artists like Boney M, Simply Red, Transvision Vamp, Simple Minds, Belinda Carlisle and many others. “Ace Of Base Gold” is also available as a culled down LP, pressed on 180g heavyweight gold coloured vinyl, for all collectors and Ace Of Base fans to keep and treasure and remember this once unrivalled foursome, who ruled the charts and sold over fifty million records in the process!

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