Saturday, September 10, 2011

Great Songs of the '90s: Ace of Base's The Sign

Swedish pop genius and Abba's visual template in particular re-emerged at the height of grunge. It was truly refreshing and connected subterraneanly with the Abba reawakening birthed by Priscilla Queen of the Desert and, esp., Muriel's Wedding in 1994. Unfortunately, the band (three of them including the two gals were siblings) had some of Abba's ultimate instability. Rather like Agnetha before her, Linn ('the blonde one') had evident misgivings about being the visual focus of the group and maybe about pop-music generally. By 1998 she was half out of the band and never again a focus, and soon after that she seems to have become a full recluse.

Oh well, we'll always have All that She Wants and The Sign! The vid. for the latter is a bit of a wonder - Linn kills it and is apparently happy to do so (however fleeting that feeling was for her), and the vid. itself is boundlessly energetic with insert shots of Ankhs and other symbols seemingly influenced by dream sequences from Ken Russell's Altered States! This felt a little odd at the time but the slightly mystifying/unsettling feeling it evoked in viewers helped 'weigh down' the poppy froth of the music in my experience (again the template is Abba, whose videos used Bergman/Persona shots in the same sort of way).

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