Before they literally grew beards and faded from the spotlight...Ace of Base
is a Gothenburg
band with its heyday in The Nineties
and arguably one of the most prominent Swedish pop music exports right after the likes of ABBA
The greatest merit of Ace of Base was their début Album Happy Nation
(called The Sign
in certain other markets) that found its way into Guiness World Records in 1995 as the best-ever sold début studio album with, until then, 21 million sold copies (which have become 24 in the meantime). note
Another peculiarity of Happy Nation
was being the first album to represent three #1 hits at the Billboard chart list, these being "All That She Wants" (their initial breakthrough), "The Sign" (which made their breakthrough into the US) and "Don't Turn Around", all from 1993-94. Last but not least, these three songs from one and the same album were in the Billboard Top 100 for 48 weeks. This record would only be broken by Katy Perry
(who said to be inspired by Ace of Base nonetheless) who made the same stunt for a whole year.
Their subsequent albums The Bridge
failed to repeat the success of Happy Nation
, but were still a commercial success with 7 and 2 million sales respectively. Da Capo
was the last album of the traditional line up and only sold about 500,000 copies. The wane of success coincided with the gradual self-disengagement
of the perceived face of the band, Malin, leading to her eventual exit in 2007 and the subsequent exit of Jenny in 2009. With only Jonas and Ulf left, they watched for two new female vocalists and eventually found them in Clara Hagman and Julia Williamson who were lost in the meantime and made the band a lone pack of two wolfs once again.Band members:
- Jonas "Joker" Berggren (1990-present): Mastermind behind the formation of Ace Of Base (and their precedessors, at one time called Tech Noir) and its major songwriter. More into synth than actual singing, being the lead male voice if singing ever happens.
- Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg (1990-present): Received some backfire when it became public that he used to be into the neo-Nazi scene in his youth. Even more so than Jonas into synth and the least prominent vocal part.
- Malin "Linn" Berggren (1990-2007): Once the lead vocalist of the band, if not even face, she went more and more to the background from their third studio album on. While she got herself more and more into the background, first on tours, then in the studios, she eventually quit the band in 2007.
- Jennifer "Jenny" Berggren (1990-2009): Originally the second female vocalist of the band, she took over the female and vocal lead of the band after her sister Malin got more and more disengaged. Was dissatisfied that the band didn't get to make a new album since Malin got inactive and quit the band in 2009 to pursue a solo career.
- Clara Hagman and Julia Williamson (2010-2013): Part of the new lineup, filling the gap of the original female vocalists and making way for the last studio album.
- Happy Nation / The Sign (1993)
- The Bridge (1995)
- Flowers / Cruel Summer (1998)
- Singles Of The 90's (1999)
- Da Capo (2002)
- Golden Ratio (2010)
Ace Of Base provides examples of:
- Album Title Drop: The Bridge, from "Lucky Love" to be precise.
- The Band Minus the Face: More and more so with the gradual retreat of Malin.
- Band of Relatives: Malin and Jenny in the traditional line-up, sisters of Jonas. Subverted now as he's the last Berggren in the band.
- Breakup Song:
- "Everytime It Rains"
- "Don't Turn Around"
- "Love In December"
- "Lucky Love"
- "The Sign"
- "Wave Wet Sand"
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: "Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry"
- Cover Version:
- "Don't Turn Around" by Tina Turner
- "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama
- "Wonderful Life" by Black
- Creator Breakdown: Back in 1994, Jenny and the mother of the Berggren family were attacked by a knife-wielding Stalker with a Crush (actually, a lunatic fan girl from Germany) who actually targeted Malin. Fans suspect that this were the reason why Malin became less and less involved with the band. Hard to blame her, really. The incident also fueled the song "Ravine", written and sung by Jenny.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Ulf
- Demoted to Extra: Malin. Best to be seen at the covers of the albums Flowers and Da Capo where she's been suspiciously placed into the background.
- Ethical Slut / Femme Fatale: "All That She Wants"
- Gender Equal Ensemble
- Give Me a Sign: "The Sign", making it a quasi-Trope Codifier
- Hair Contrast Duo: The blond Malin and the brunette Jenny. If you remember that Malin quit her music career altogether and Jenny pursued a solo career, you may well feel reminded to Agnetha and Frida.
- Intercourse with You: "Adventures In Paradise"
- Lonely at the Top: "Living In Danger"
- Long Runner Line Up: Definitely qualifies for type 2, but also borderlines type 1 for the traditional line-up, depending on whether you set the line at the issue of Da Capo (9 years after the issue of the album Happy Nation and 10 years after the single Wheel Of Fortune respectively) or at the formal exit of Malin in 2007.
- Love Nostalgia Song: "Lucky Love"
- The Munchausen: Lampshaded in "Münchhausen (Just Chaos)".
- Ominous Latin Chanting: "Happy Nation"
- Rerelease the Song: "Wheel Of Fortune" got a second chance as a single after the success of "All That She Wants" turned the band into greater spotlight.
- Surreal Music Video: "Beautiful Life"
- Utopia: "Happy Nation"
- You Cannot Kill An Idea: "Happy Nation"