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Review of the Album "Happy Nation" by Swedish Pop and Techno Band Ace of Base

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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We Analyze the European Version of a Very Famous Album by Ace of Base

Happy Nation is actually the European version of the album The Sign which was released on November 2, 1992. We analyze and review this album as it will have been 30 years since its release. Happy Nation has a slightly different track listing and attempt will be made to mostly discuss and analyze those songs that are not on The Sign. There is also a U.S. version of the album Happy Nation but for the purposes of this analysis we will be focusing on the one that was released in Europe.

Some Background About the Release of "Happy Nation"

Happy Nation was actually first released in Denmark by Mega Records. The managing director of Metronome Records at the time Albert Slendebroek spoke to Music & Media Magazine about the album. He basically mentioned that there was the rise of grunge and techno music and then these people (Ace of Base members) arrived on the music scene and then managed to create something that was happy and simple. He also mentioned that they wrote what he called “brilliant pop tunes” and that these songs really hit a nerve at the time. Such a sentiment would be pretty accurate because after the decade of the 1980s where so many artists such as Debbie Gibson, Michael Jackson, and Madonna made their presence felt and really established the pop/rock culture at the time, Ace of Base arrived and basically became a more modern version of ABBA in the 1990s.

About the Songs In "Happy Nation"

Songs such as “Waiting for Magic” have more of a techno feel and are slower than songs on The Sign. Lyrically it is slightly different than on The Sign and there is one part of the song in which the lyrical phrase is stopped or cut off and there is a male vocal part in it as well. I look at Ace of Base as a musical group that came onto the scene and sort of revolutionized pop music at the time because they used various techno and electronic beats as opposed to just writing soft, romantic songs that sounded the same. One example of this stylistic difference is the Banghra Version of the song “All That She Wants.” The techno beats are followed by repetitions of certain lyrical lines.

“Munchhausen (Just Chaos)” is one of the first songs that is on this version that is not on the mentioned version. The song begins with the constant uttering of the words “just chaos.” Then there is the song called “Fashion Party” which is lyrically about having a really good time at a party in which a lot of dancing is involved. Focus lyrically is about a fashion model named Connie Walker in which the man who is looking at will lose her. Or will he?

“Dimension of Depth” is an instrumental song and shows a side of Ace of Base that most of us have not seen before. This is the ability to write classically influenced instrumental songs which this one is. It has that symphonic feel that you may find in a lot of the power metal albums as well, usually before a full length song but we digress.

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"Fashion Party"

Final Thoughts About "Happy Nation"

The idea or theme of happy and simple songs does apply here to a certain extent. If you are in a period of transition and or recovery in your personal life, this album is a great one to listen to in place of something hard and heavy and it certainly is better than listening to super sad pop music songs.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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