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The Cardigans - Best Of

Cardigans, The Best Of

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

WITH a career spanning 14 years and over six million albums sales worldwide, The Cardigans remain one of Sweden’s biggest musical exports. Little wonder, then that they have finally got around to releasing all of their hits on one album – and it’s a corker too.

Best Of comprises 21 of the band’s finest moments from their six studio albums so far, including their breakthrough hit Lovefool to established classics such as Erase/ Rewind, My Favourite Game and – more recently – the feisty rocker I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer.

The Cardigans are, for those that don’t know, Nina Persson, Peter Svensson, Bengt Lagerberg, Magnus and Sveningsson and Lasse Johansson and they have consistently managed to stay fresh with each new release.

They’re defined, of course, by Persson’s striking vocals – which can appear soft and playful on tracks like Lovefool (with its teasing, tempting “love me, love me” intro) or raw and sultry on the likes of My Favourite Game and Hanging Around.

The best thing about this best of compilation, however, is the way in which it even manages to reintroduce some tracks to fans who might only have picked up The Cardigans’ trail post-Lovefool.

Their early material – from debut album Emmerdale – is fun, breezy and effortlessly catchy, especially during the jangling, Smiths-esque guitars of Rise & Shine, or the aching fragility of After All, which even manages to conjure images of a jazzy, lounge piano bar setting.

Life, their second release in 1995, was the LP that really made critics and music fans sit up and take notice around the world, though, with the hip, feelgood anthem Carnival emerging as one of the standout tracks and singles. It’s probably one that you may have forgotten, but it’s a summery effort that really does put a smile on the face.

Daddy’s Car, meanwhile, is just a really nice record – strong in melody and boasting another of those effortlessly sweet vocals from Persson.

Thereafter, the album operates on pretty familiar territory with the highlights pretty much picking themselves. But worthy of special mention is the classic My Favourite Game, with its stop-start style and country-rock shuffle. It was adopted by a computer game for its advertising campaign and still retains a sense of freshness whenever it hits the radio.

Erase/Rewind, with its moody, atmospheric electronics, subtle back beat and dreamy vocals, is another timeless, shimmering effort, while Higher is another moody beauty and – by their own admission – the closest The Cardigans have come to gospel.

For What It’s Worth is another effortless crowd-pleaser, while You’re The Storm is a beguiling slow-burner that blossoms into an utterly enchanting love song (the chorus, especially, never fails to blow me away). It’s arguably one of their most under-rated songs.

Final word, however, goes to the inspirational rocker I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer, which is built around the simplest but catchiest of guitar riffs. It’s also the seventh longest song title ever written – but don’t let that put you off. It’s one to get drunk on musically.

Best of is also available with a bonus limited edition double disc including B-sides and rarities – it places the icing on the cake of this excellent compilation. Don’t miss out.

Editor’s note: You can now download the Kleerup remix of Erase/Rewind for free. Simply follow THIS LINK

Download picks: I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer, You’re The Storm, Erase/Rewind, Higher, Carnival, Lovefool, Rise & Shine, My Favourite Game, For What It’s Worth, Communication

Track listing:

  1. Rise & Shine
  2. Sick & Tired
  3. After All…
  4. Carnival
  5. Daddy’s Car
  6. Lovefool
  7. Been It
  8. Losers
  9. War
  10. My Favourite Game
  11. Erase / Rewind
  12. Hanging Around
  13. Higher
  14. For What It’s Worth
  15. You’re The Storm
  16. Live and Learn
  17. Communication
  18. I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer
  19. Don’t Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds)
  20. Godspell
  21. Bonus Track
  22. Burning Down The House

Bonus disc

  1. Pooh Song
  2. After All…
  3. I Figured Out
  4. Laika
  5. Plain Parade
  6. Emmerdale
  7. Carnival
  8. Happy Meal I
  9. Nasty Sunny Beam
  10. Blah Blah Blah
  11. Losers
  12. Country Hell
  13. Lovefool
  14. War
  15. Deuce
  16. The Road
  17. Hold Me
  18. Hold Me
  19. If There Is A Chance
  20. For The Boys
  21. (If You Were) Less Like Me
  22. Slowdown Town
  23. Give Me Your Eyes
  24. Slow