Super Extra Gravity Import
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If The Cardigans' previous album was majestic and mature, Super Extra Gravity is an unruly and spectacular album. Still, there are similarities. The band succeeds in retaining everything that was good about Long Gone Before Daylight while, at the same time, rebelling against it. Continuity and reaction in one.
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In fact, if you are new to the Cardigans or are just looking for a fresh, perhaps unexpected sound, I suggest you start by listening to In The Round, and Godspell, two superb tracks.
If you are familiar with the Cardigans, you may think of them as a one hit wonder from the lovefool days. This is a band that has so much more material, and this album is definitely worth checking out.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you're already a Cardigans fan I can explain Super Extra Gravity like this...
It rocks harder than Long Gone Before Daylight.
It doesn't rock as hard as Gran Turismo.
It's nowhere near as poppy as Emmerdale, Life, or First Band on the Moon.
If what I just wrote makes no sense to you...
If you're a new Cardigans fan I would recommend you buy their 1995 album "Life" first. If you like it - move onto "First Band on the Moon" and proceed chronologically; going back for 1994's "Emmerdale" last. In my opinion getting the Cardigans CDs in this order lets you truly experience the growth of this band. Very cool.
The Cardigans continue to develop as a band; and with each new record they take their fans in a completely new direction. That's one of their best qualities; and why Super Extra Gravity is an excellent record. In my opinion it's not their best; but it is very good.
Favorite tracks are "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer" and "Godspell".
I've been a Cardigans fan for nearly as long as they've been around, which is close to a decade. Their music seems to move with the general feeling of the musically inclined at that point and time, even so far as initiating the next wave of emotion. When I was younger and needed a different sound from everything so commercial that was being spoon fed to us, I was given Life, their second album. As I grew up, it seemed their music transitioned as well rather than recreating itself and becoming diluted. Life was such an innocently tainted album with a hush of warm anger that you would be long basking in it's light before you felt sly schemes already manifesting themselves in your mind and disrupted your organized view of love and friendship. For the Cardigans, their inspiration was found in hard rock, death metal groups and a desire to go against everything their small lives had led them to up until their converging, so I wasn't as surprised when they began inching toward the darkness with covers of black sabbath and anthems against love.
It had been years since Gran Turismo when I learned they'd released Long Gone Before Daylight. I was skeptical because I didn't find myself relating to them as much when Gran Turismo came out, and sensed that maybe as an artist, they we're more a tool for commercialism rather than the love of music. But trusting them, I bought the cd and soon it took the reigns of my emotions that I'd unsuccessfully controlled, and steered me into a direction that I almost wasn't sure that I was allowed to feel. Giving her failed love a physical manifestation (And then he kissed me) by solemly singing of how this emotion beat her and left her bruised evokes an understanding of how relationships, in their endings, are powerful enough to seemingly affect you in that manner. It was perfectly calm yet deeply upset, the antithesis of what's been playing and produced, and exactly what I needed to hear . It felt like emotions could be expressed by just listening to that album and that I understood what was being expressed.
So, much to my surprise, Super Extra Gravity was right around the corner to being released, because apparently LGBD was not released in the US until a year after it had come out in Europe.
Putting that cd in drew so much anticipation from me and I knew that their opening chords were the start of something great. The first track is a collection of chaos, timing, depth and intelligence that sets you up for the rest of the album. Godspeed, the next track, is one of my favorite songs. I've read that it's about the town they are from, which is engrossed in the christian religion. The song- a declaration of rebellion and opened eyes to their dogma. The following songs are amazing without trying to be and that's what I love about them. Each one breaking the mold of traditional song structure, allowing an obsessive love over a song to develop from something as obscure as the last chords strummed not once throughout the entire song, but used to seal the end of a track. They're not wrapped in the production so much that it begins to lose it's original spark, yet not so fearful of being understood that they short change themselves.
This album is angrier and louder than LGBD, and in a lot of ways, resembles the same process we take in getting over a relationship in that LGBD was a quiet, hurtful rage that spurned Super Extra Gravity into orbit as a way of healing. Super Extra Gravity was the perfect transition from LGBD and my faith in The Cardigans as true musicians has deepened even further. I would love one day to hear them go back to their breezy-afternoon-cocktail-lounge roots as a testimony that they're who they've always been, only showing the human quality of another emotion.
Either way, the lead singer, Nina Persson, has a truly unique, emotive voice and all of their albums have that listenable quality where one songs manages to sound different from the next.
I had high expectations for Super Extra Gravity, and they were met. People are right to say that every Cardigans album sounds different, but with Nina's voice as a constant, this variability is a strength. Super Extra Gravity is rougher and rockier than LGBD, but I like it just as much. I especially like "Don't Blame Your Daughter" and "I Need Some Fine Wine...And You Need To Be Nicer", and "And Then You Kissed Me II". The entire album, however, is fantastic, clever, and holds some nice surprises for Cardigans fans, especially.
For new listeners, I recommend starting at Gran Turismo- it's very accessible, and I dare say that if you don't like that album, you aren't going to like the Cardigans. Go back to their earlier albums only once you're addicted to Nina Persson's voice (shouldn't take long). It's also worthy to note that Nina Persson released a great solo album under the title "A Camp"- not to be missed.
Super Extra Gravity is a neat package of 11 tracks (and 3 bonus tracks), bound by a very interesting album cover: singer Nina Persson looks particularly beautiful whilst pretending to be `dead' on the cover. Visual aesthetics aside, the album is extremely hard to classify: "Losing A Friend" sounds like a Beatles song that was never released, "Give Me Your Eyes" might as well have been sung by Debbie Harry and "Little Black Cloud" sounds almost identical to Smashing Pumpkin's "Tonight Tonight".
The Cardigans have never been an eager-to-please band. They have always been highly experimental, yet simple, and undeniably chimerical, switching from indie to country to ambient pop from album to album, and even within a single album, as they do so superbly here. The band retains some of the sleek electronica used on Gran Turismo but it is the Emmerdale-esque mastery in the quiet guitar solos by Peter Svensson that drive the band's unique sound. Some acutely experimental tracks are "Slow", with its low tone chords and Persson's rough yet sweet soulful voice and "The Round", a track stripped bare down to its minimal bass lines. There are also highly glossy single-worthy tracks in here such as "Holy Love" and "Godspell".
After this 6th studio album, one can only learn to never expect anything from the Swedish quintet because with every album, they have always managed to deliver nothing less than original. Super Extra Gravity goes from evoking raw emotion at certain points to creating addictive highs the next. And although it might not have the heavy electronica à la Ladytron or Goldfrapp nor the heavy guitars of Interpol, this album is mixes all these elements (and more) and comes up with a winning mix. This might just be The Cardie's best release to date.