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Review: "Cruel Summer" by Swedish Pop Music Group Ace of Base

Updated on March 31, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

About the Album "Cruel Summer"

Swedish pop music group Ace of Base really established themselves as a real force in the pop music genre with their awesome 1993 album The Sign. In 1998, they released their 3rd studio album called Cruel Summer. That is a cover song that they did and even though I never really loved the original version, they do a pretty good job of it here. The name of the European version for this album is called Flowers and it has a slightly different track listing. The album was produced by Ulf Ekberg, one of the members of this band. He is a friend to the other members. Although Cruel Summer is the weakest album of the band’s first three releases, it really does not matter because there are more than enough solid songs to keep pop music fans entertained. For those of you that like the music of ABBA, you will really love Ace of Base as I did when I first heard their music back in 1994!

A Photo of the CD Cruel Summer


Why Did I Decide to Review Cruel Summer?

This writer decided to review this album because sometimes we need a little variety in our lives. There are so many genres of music and we have to cover pop music as well.

Cruel Summer Songs Whenever You're Near Me and Everytime It Rains

The song called Whenever You’re Near Me is a song about believing in and loving someone in good times and in bad times as well. We all need that special someone to believe in right? Maybe some of us are not meant to have a partner but that’s a different story. The song has an acoustic guitar part playing throughout and this continues an element that the band explored in their previous album The Bridge. The song called Everytime It Rains is a slow, steady pop song in which Linn Berggren does the lead vocal part. Many of us can’t seem to forget what happens when it rains. Not only do we get wet but some of us fall in love during a rainy period.

Adventures In Paradise A Classic Song

Next comes the energetic song Adventures in Paradise which has always been one of the strongest songs in this album not just because of the harmony vocals but the beats as well. The song is about partying from morning until night, creating a sense that we are in paradise. Sweden is one of those countries that is able to compose great music in multiple genres and we might as well give them the most credit and say that this is a sort of paradise!

Cruel Summer Review Part 3

Then we hear an even better song called Don’t Go Away. For this song, Linn and Jonas’ sister Jenny performs the lead vocals. The song is basically about the fact that when you are in a good relationship you should not let it go to waste. You have to make the most of this love that you get. All of us can be what we want to be, but we cannot waste love that is healthy and good. However, some of us are tempted and engage in sinful acts. This is one of the most beautiful songs in the career of Ace of Base along with Tokyo Girl (best song in the album). The song Always Have, Always Will sounds like a 1960’s oldies song. Sometimes we cannot get enough love as we always want to show that other person how much they mean to us. Tokyo Girl has some of the best vocals in the career of the group and the rhythm is one of the best I have ever heard in the pop music genre. This is about a girl that is energetic and she has the moves to rule the world! The last part when there is the line “sweet as a baby” has to be one of the best and most soothing ways to finish off a song! Travel to Romantis is a song about someone who is fantasizing about being on vacation with the person because they are trying to escape form their mundane existence. Cecilia is a song about a well-known girl. The tradition says that she will live a long time. Sometimes we have to be in the spotlight to realize how worthy we are as human beings. He Decides is a song about a relationship in which one of the people in it is a control freak. The man in this relationship decides whether she should laugh, cry, and smile. She is afraid that if he does not truly love her, she cannot go on with her life. Relationships such as the one described in this song cannot last if they are built on a foundation of control.

"Don't Go Away" (a tribute to Jenny Berggren)

What Are the Best Songs in Cruel Summer?

The strongest songs in this album are Adventures in Paradise, Don’t Go Away, He Decides, Tokyo Girl, and Travel to Romantis. It is still a very solid release form the best pop music group in Sweden’s history! If AKB48 is Japan’s best pop music group, for Sweden it definitely was Ace of Base before they disbanded for good in 2015.

"He Decides"

Some Further Analysis About the Song Tokyo Girl

Tokyo Girl is about a very cute and yet strong girl that has the moves to rule the world. She has elegance and the money to spend it the way that she wants. Japanese is also a very hard language to learn as the song says. Some people will never really know who this girl is even if they get near her. I find Japan to be one of the most interesting countries in the world with a very fascinating culture. This song alone gets 10 points out of 10!

The Song "Tokyo Girl"

Favorite Song on the Album Cruel Summer

What is your favorite song on the album Cruel Summer?

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The Song Called Travel to Romantis

How Has the Album Fared Over Time?

As we revisit the songs of this 1998 studio album in 2019, how has Cruel Summer fared over time? By this point in the group’s career singer Linn Berggren had been growing tired of the spotlight and had decided to return home early from the group’s tour in Asia. Cruel Summer is not as strong of an album as “The Sign” or The Bridge.” Everytime It Rains is a soothing song to listen to though. If we are truly in love with someone the feelings seem to intensify with time.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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