One thing that bothers me about The Cardigans‘ discography is the way that the international version of “Life” messed up the album’s concept by cherry-picking songs from the proper Swedish version of the album, and their previous long-player “Emmerdale”. The two albums have quite distinct feels (actually, all six of their studio albums have quite distinct feels): “Emmerdale” is full of gentle-sounding but quite bleak songs with cellos and woodwind and that, while “Life” is a much more “up” album full of character-driven slice-of-life songs. But the international version of “Life” just throws together a mishmash of songs from both LPs, and though “Emmerdale” was later released internationally in its original configuration, “Life” never was. So now there are two albums out there with a bunch of tracks in common, which they shouldn’t have.
Anyway, this Canadian-only EP features the re-recorded version of “Rise & Shine” from the international “Life”, along with “In The Afternoon”, also on the international “Life” but from “Emmerdale” really, plus three slowed-down cover versions of songs by Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. Alright individually, though a bit much back-to-back, and anyway their best effort in this vein is Sabbath’s “Iron Man” from “Emmerdale”. “Mr Crowley” does offer the chance to hear the group’s menfolk doing a cappella harmonies though.
Bafflingly, on Allmusic, it says that this EP contains a unique re-recording of “Rise & Shine”, though nobody else seems to think it does. It certainly sounds like the “Life” recording to me.
Link: The Cardigans – Under The Covers EP (password: salad)
1. Rise & Shine
2. The Boys Are Back In Town
3. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
4. Mr. Crowley
5. In The Afternoon
When The Cardigans released their Best Of album in 2008, it was thoughtfully packaged as a double CD. The first CD was the singles (plus a few favourite album tracks), and a fantastic collection it was too. The second helpfully collated most of the non-album B-sides, minus the covers, live tracks and remixes. Noticeably though, the second CD was rather light on material from the period of their biggest album, 1997’s Gran Turismo. There’s a simple explanation for this: across the three singles, only one non-album song, “War”, was released as a B-side during that campaign (and it duly appears on the Best Of in two versions). The rest was live tracks and, especially, remixes.
The singles from 1996’s First Band On The Moon had dabbled in remixes, Todd Terry providing them for “Been It” and “Lovefool” (mainly for the American market) and Ian Pooley for “Your New Cuckoo”. But for Gran Turismo, The Cardigans went remix-crazy. All three singles – “My Favourite Game”, “Erase/Rewind” and “Hanging Around” – were supported by an assortment of remixes, and in Sweden there was even a five-track EP, Gran Turismo Overdrive, with mixes by Martin Landquist, a.k.a Nåid. His mix of “Erase/Rewind” also features here, though it’s not the main reason I’m sharing this particular CD.
For me, the standout track here is the remix of “Explode” by Marco Manieri, done in a Kraftwerk/OMD style. Even for a band who liked to change their musical style a lot, this stands out as quite different to anything else that ever bore The Cardigans’ name. It’s gorgeous and one of my favourite Cardigans tracks, even though they’re hardly on it.
Also here as a bonus, and a contrast to “Explode”, is Dimitri From Paris‘ somewhat bonkers synth-disco (morphing into mock-turnablist cut-up shenanigans) version of “Erase/Rewind” itself. Dance yerself dizzy.