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Sunday, 9 March 2008

on Gran Turismo

The first Cardigans album I bought was Gran Turismo, having heard "Erase/Rewind" and "My Favourite Game" on the radio. Of course, I wanted more of the same catchy, bouncey rock music, but that's not what Gran Turismo is about. It's the coldest record imaginable, full of tension and stress. The singles that I wanted to hear were simply punctuating the album with a bit of joy, stopping it from freezing over completely. When you reach "Nil", the final (instrumental) track of the album, you can feel the tension ease from your shoulders and the feeling come back into your toes. So I wasn't that impressed. Of course, I learned to love it. As I did so, I found that a lot of the tracks had more energy and positivity too like "Hanging Around" with its rocky guitar solo and "Higher" with the lyrics we'll make it out of here, oh yeah. The singles are an important part of the album, but they're not everything that the Cardigans are about.

One in particular remains cold, the opening track of the album. It has sound effects of swirling winds and Nina's high wailing voice over deep bass chords singing never lose your grip / don't trip / don't fall / you'll lose it all / the sweetest way to die. But this is one of the most beautiful songs they have ever done, just because it is so chilling. This is where your sanity gives in / and the love begins - you're insane, you're going to die, but in this twisted world, that's the place to find true love.

"Best of the Cardigans" (CD1 in the 2CD version) contains all the singles, but even in that "My Favourite Game" and "Erase/Rewind"-style songs are a small minority. In their review, digitalspy says
Ranging from the sunshine pop of their early 90's releases to the brooding beauty of 2005's Super Extra Gravity, it features a kaleidoscope of musical styles... of the most underrated bands of the last 15 years

Quite right!

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