Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon (1996) Album Review

I've always had a fascination for the smash hit "Lovefool". I didn't quite comprehend how big the song was, being just a kid when it came out. But it was HUGE. It topped charts across the world including Billboard, and was featured in several Hollywood movies- most notably Baz Lhurmann's Romeo + Juliet. But time has passed, and the lesser I hear the song, the more obscure the band got for me. In those rare occasions when it does go on the radio I'm like "Which band was this again? This isn't The Cranberries, but I'm damn sure it starts with a 'C'!" - which is weird because I kept remembering The Cranberries (which I still find obnoxious), but always seem to forget The Cardigans. But anyway, the last Lovefool "serving" I got sent me searching for this Cardigans album, and so goes the rest of my story.

The Cardigans
This Danish-Swedish band, as far as I can tell, are masters of the retro sound. But don't let the sunny, sugary exterior of this album fool you. Closer examination of the lyrics reveal much much darker themes, mostly about a woman who readily and willfully accepts abuse from a partner who couldn't care less. Whether Nina Persson, the band's vocalist, was subjected to the same kind of relationship during the writing of these songs remains up for question. The low esteem and self-deprecating nature of the lyrics, although sad, is ironically amusing at the same time. "Oh, I think you're standing on my left foot. It's hurting but it's okay cos I'm in your way." The same stories of abuse and sado-masochism aren't exactly a rarity since I do happen to know a couple of women who are willing to take an emotional beating just to save their relationships. Seriously, ladies. Enough with that stuff! Man the f*** up!

Reality aside, this album presents these dark themes into a carefully woven piece of sunshine that is sure to delight and bring some smiles and disgust from its listeners. The rhythm section is among the best when it comes to the indie/retro sound, not to mention the cute vocals - which seemingly buries the underlying themes beneath the ground. That would of course explain why a lot of people who lived through the 90s often misunderstood this band as just another schmaltzy pop act (and that includes me). Definitely something worth remembering and worth recommending to coming generations.

My score:
8 out of 10

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