Tuesday, November 01, 2005

the CARDIGANS


Let me tell you Little Testpilots... it is NOT EASY being a Cardigans fan. They are switching things up on you left and right. I speak completely from experience here. I was one of the many who first heard them on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack way back in 1997 and really got into their catchy song, "Lovefool". I was however, one of the few who pursued them beyond that. For some reason, this Test Pilot here went nuts for these Swedes, buying old albums from them and album after new album! Here is a great story regarding my affinity for the Cardigans and the pain I underwent, as told/laughed at me numerous times by Test Pilot Fletcher:
On the eve of the release of their 4th album, Gran Turismo, Test Pilot Fletcher expressed interest in going to a midnight release party on Ohio State's campus. I am not sure what CD he was going for (most likely Dave Matthews at that time) but I knew the Cardigans were not very mainstream and I wasn't sure if they would have the CD or not. I called the shop up to ask if they would have some that night and the sales clerk said, "Yeah. I think I saw a box of them in the back." GREAT - all aboard the Cardigans Expressway! So I head out there with Fletcher and wait in line, in the cold no less. The door opens up and we go inside to wait in line. As we are waiting, sales clerks are asking you what you want and bringing it to you to expedite the process. Well, every time I told them I was waiting for the Cardigans, I just got wierd looks and was told I could get it up front. I get to the cash register and ask for my Cardigans CD and time seemed to stop, the music died andit seemed like everyone in there turned to look at me. "Oh, you're that one guy who called earlier. I think you are the only person here for this..." Great. After every took a good laugh at me and I paid, I took my purchase that night and went off to listen to some odd techno album those wacky Swedes put together, pretty much ending the relationship we had.

Fast forward to today. Well, not just today YET. After Gran Turismo, which took the Cardigans in a completely different, techo direciton, the love affair ended. I was digging on the kitschy 60's/70's pop they working quite well and was looking for them to get back to it. 2 years ago I heard, after some long time off with everyone in the band going in different directions, the Cardigans regrouped and put together a new album. Being the fan I was, I had to see what they had come up with after this hiatus. SURPRISINGLY, it was really friggin' GOOD. The album, Long Gone Before Daylight, was one of my best of 2003 and also one of the best the Cardigans have produced. A quiet, somber acoustic series of tracks about (stuff I love!) getting old, looking for lost love, getting abused by love, etc., turned out to be wonderful.

NOW, fast forward to today. After that last great album, I had hoped for more of the same. HOWEVER, bubkis. AGAIN(!), the Cardigans have come up with a different sound than any of their past albums and not to great success I think. Their new album, Super Extra Gravity, is a mish mash of styles: guitar driven rock, folk melodies, and who knows what. While they explored their dark side on LGBD, that was more of a "I'm sad, come hug me" dark side. With SEG, the dark side explored is wearing dark makeup and hanging out in a alleyway ready to kick your ass. Wierd stuff.

But be it with most Cardigans CDs, I think it has room to grow on the die hards. As of 3 spins of the CD, there are some really good tracks and a handful of horrible ones I will skip from here on out. I prefer most of the slow ones though one is called "Don't Blame Your Daughter" and veers too close to that Lindsay Lohan song out now, "Daughter to Father". I am posting a mix of both for you to listen and decide for yourself. If you are a old Cardigans fan, give them another shot. If you aren't a Cardigans fan, check out LGBD and then come back to SEG.
BUY Super Extra Gravity

ALSO, check out their site the Cardigans. As a graphic designer, I really like the bold type, mix of color and black and white photography against bright colors, etc. NICE DESIGN.

THE GOOD TRACKS:
MP3 - In The Round EXPIRED
MP3 - Losing A Friend EXPIRED
MP3 - Give Me Your Eyes EXPIRED

THE BAD TRACKS:
MP3 - Don't Blame Your Daughter EXPIRED
MP3 - Godspell EXPIRED

4 Comments:

Blogger fashionable cynicism said...

I really have to disagree with you on Godspell. How could you not love this song?!?

But I agree that they never seem to make up their mind on their sound. I understand "changing" directions, but sticking with one for more than one album seems to have eluded them for a while now.

12:26 PM  
Blogger César said...

I included The Cardigan's latest record as one of my favorite releases of 2005—even when it wasn't released in the U.S.—but there's a reason for this. Really listen to the sound they're making, the lyrics, and you'll notice that it's everything they've everdone in a nice package. I think Super Extra Gravity is a bold step from the more somber sound of LGBD, progression is always good in the bands that I like to listen to. I'm never embarrassed to tell people I'm a Cardigans fan.

"Oh, that band," they'll say.

But they're making some incredible music right now (and sounding remarkable as a live band), and it's a shame that very few people are listening.

12:22 PM  
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