I always have to stop myself when I say I like “all kinds of music”. Because, honestly, that just isn’t true, there is really only one kind of music I like. No, not [just] Black Metal, I’m talking about music in a minor key. I mean, I’m a pretty happy guy, but there is something about sad, sad songs that just does it for me. I don’t dislike Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Fall”, but I far prefer “Summer” and “Winter” (guess which seasons he writes in a minor key). “Satisfaction” is a fine song, but I’d rather listen to “Paint it Black” any day…you get the idea. Basically, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting [of soul crushing sorrow and sadness]
This month on Minor Key Monday I talk about a band I swear I remember being played on my school bus, only to find out 20 years later that they were actually kind of great:
Like I said, I’m sure I had heard Ace of Base songs at, like, school dances and stuff, but it was not until my pop reawakening of the last 5 years that I actually thought about listening to them seriously. And, while I have yet to just sit down and listen to an Ace of Base album, I must admit that today’s song has seen a lot of youtube play at my place over the last year or so.
I like most of their famous songs (I even like what I’ve heard of their new stuff with all new singers!), but, obviously, especially “Happy Nation” (from their 1993 smash hit The Sign) is a song that speaks to me on a visceral minor key level. It plays like a eurotrash dirge, full of epic melancholy and euro-angst. Hell, I don’t even think I’m going to look up the lyrics because I just want to assume the “happy nation” they are talking about is totally not actually a happy nation at all.
Impressively, “Happy Nation” even seems to be strongly influenced by reggae, not exactly something that should have won it any points in my book. Granted, I keep hearing that “real” “tr00” “kvlt” reggae is good stuff and that I should check it out, but I somehow doubt that it will appeal to me nearly as much as this bastardized pop version of what reggae sounds like. Make fun of them all you want, but these motherfuckers knew how to write one hell of a catchy song–and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.