The 1990’s Music Industry Rewarded Laziness
Seeing as how I am largely a byproduct of the 1990’s I had the opportunity to grow up enjoying a lot of wondrous things such as MC Hammer making a zillion dollars off of one song and subsequently spending it all on the randomest shit ever (“2 Legit 2 Pay My Bills”), a time when Nickelodeon didn’t suck copious amounts of things I cannot say on this blog, and the awesome green version of Gator Golf (the new orange one is terrifying). Also in the nineties (1993 specifically) this virtually unknown Swedish pop band called Ace of Base released their debut album Happy Nation. If you don’t know who Ace of Base is you still might recognize this song anyways because it’s terribly catchy in a godawful “this is why some people hated the 90’s” kind of way. Here is, arguably, their biggest hit single ever, The Sign.
Well now don’t you just feel energized after hearing that spiffy little jingle? I kinda feel like dancing myself. Ace of Base had other hits from that album as well, here’s another one of their hits called All That She Wants.
No wait a second that can’t be right I just posted that song didn’t I? Let me double check. No, that’s definitely All That She Wants and it sounds exactly like The Sign. They are essentially the same song with different lyrics and both of them were chart-topping hits all over the world. This time let me be serious though, here’s another song by Ace of Base that sounds completely different. In fact it’s a cover of an Aswad song called Don’t Turn Around.
I’m sorry did I say this song was different? Because it’s not. For the third straight hit single this song uses the exact same beat as both The Sign and All That She Wants. It is the exact same beat except with a slightly altered tempo or pitch every time. Was I really the only person picking up on this in the 90’s or is everybody seriously retarded? Surely this madness couldn’t possibly carry into the other non-hit songs on the album right?
You don’t listen very well do you?
I mean seriously are you just not paying attention to anything I am saying?
Hello? Are you still with me?
Hey, asshole! That’s enough!
Excuse me, I’m over here. You’re supposed to be paying attention to me. Stop listening to those Ace of Base songs, please, so I can continue with this pointless article.
You heard me when I said this was a best-selling album, right? At one point in time it was kicking Michael Jackon’s ass and, worldwide, was outselling Thriller. Thriller. Michael Jackson, whose musical composition style and vocals are unmatched by hundreds of people who try to imitate him, was being outsold by a CD essentially comprised of the same fucking song over and over again. Luckily Jackson prevailed in the end and Thriller has sold over 100,000,000 albums worldwide and I’m pretty sure him being dead and all is going to make that number increase about twenty fold considering what I know about how people tend to react to stuff. Still, though, to date Happy Nation has sold 23,000,000 million copies worldwide. To put this into some kind of perspective here is a list of albums that Happy Nation has either outsold or is pretty much tied with:
- Britney Spears’ Oops I Did it Again & Baby One More Time
- Metallia’s eponymous album
- Madonna’s Like a Virgin
- Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory
- U2’s The Joshua Tree
In some respect I feel that Ace of Base may have been doing this on a bet, that someone dared them to make an international best-selling album using only a music loop they pulled from a copy of U-Rox DJ Studio Suite 4.5. Well, they did. They sold 23,000,000 copies of that album and from what I remember I don’t recall anybody actually caring. Hell, AllMusic’s review of this album basically states that it’s the same stupid beat over and over again but because it’s catchy they still give the album a 4/5.It’s “catchy”? Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby was “catchy” and he avoided directly plagiarizing Under Pressure by adding a single hi-hat crash to the ripped bassline of that song and people still got uppity and said “hey that’s the same song that’s cheating” but I guess when the actual band just CTRL+V’s the hell out of their own music that’s perfectly fine and apparently gets your album certified 23x Platinum (also known as 2x Diamond) by the RIAA.
It was either a pretty ballsy or blatantly lazy move on Ace of Base’s part, and I don’t quite know whether to give them a thumbs up for trolling the entire world or to toss the copy of this album that I have in the garbage can.