The title of this blog is not a very good one, so I have left it off the top at the moment.
I thought I should just explain that when I say I love cardigans, I don't mean that I have a lot of jumpers with gaps down the front. I love music by the band called the Cardigans. Let me tell you a bit about them.
The Cardigans are Nina (the singer, who writes the lyrics), Peter (guitarist, who writes most of the music, although it is adapted by everyone as it is practiced), Magnus (bassist), Bengt (drummer, composed "Nil" on "Gran Turismo") and Lasse (plays second guitar or keyboard). They have been releasing records for 14 years now, so they are pretty well established. In fact, in terms of their popularity, they are probably past their peak.
When they started out, they moved from their tiny little town to Malmo (which should have some exciting symbol over the o, but I can't be bothered to find out how to do that). After two years together, they released their first album Life, closely followed by Emmerdale. The names Cardigans and Emmerdale were mainly a slightly childish way of trying to break into the British market, particularly because their favourite music was Black Sabbath, along with other bands like the Smiths.
They don't sound like that though, and they never have. Their first music is carefree pop music. Even when the songs are sad, the tune and the tone of Nina's vocals are cheerful and uplifting.
The next album, First Band on the Moon, became slightly darker, although the effect was similar. The song that most people have heard of from this, was Lovefool, which became famous by being on the soundtrack to Romeo and Juliet. The album was released in 1996.
Gran Turismo was released in 1998, and this is when I started buying their albums. It is the most spooky album they have ever made, and when you first listen to it, it puts you on edge slightly, but it is well balanced with songs Erase/Rewind, Nil and My Favourite Game and it is a beautiful album. The tension in the album was also in the band at the time, and they argued for much of the tour. Once the tour was finished, they took a long break, and pursued solo careers and had families. Most or all of the members are now in long-term relationships and several have children.
Eventually, after around four years gap, they produced Long Gone Before Daylight. This time they were not living the rock-and-roll lifestyle, instead they were just making beautiful music, fitting it around family commitments. This is the most peaceful and beautiful of their albums, and it is their favourite, in part because they got rid of their producer and made it themselves. Without a producer to publicise it, it was not as successful as their other albums, but it is at least as good.
In 2006 they made another album, Super Extra Gravity. They decided to return to their producer, who made the album more edgy, but the sound was did not change beyond all recognition. These are probably my most-played songs at the moment, and it is another fantastic album. I saw them play last summer and they were amazing. They sound as tuneful live as on the albums, just with all the magic of hearing everything live instead of crammed into a circular piece of metal. Nina's voice is the best voice I know, but it is only special because of the other members who make up the sound they produce.
Have a listen!