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Album Reviews : * Ace of Base, “The Bridge,” Arista.

It’s not really as scathing as it sounds to say that the liner notes to “The Bridge” are more entertaining than the album, for those notes are supremely amusing. The Swedes’ descriptions of the genesis of each song are full of twisted English and self-importance. Try this “explanation” of the song “Wave Wet Sand”: “As far as I know, wave wet sand is not reliable.”

If the music were so inscrutable, it might be more interesting. ABBA lite (we’re talking featherweight) with a reggae beat alternates with bouncy, fulsome pop. The huge international hit “All That She Wants” is included here in an almost imperceptibly different version called “Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry.” (Liner notes: “This song was recorded in the ‘long-drink summer’ when a vodka cranberry was never wrong.”)

A few tunes are eminently hummable, among them “Perfect World” and an acoustic “Lucky Love.” But the most irresistible thing about the album is the notes to the schlocky “Ravine”: “A flower which can’t be reached by the sun can’t survive--it has to be replanted. I am such a flower. I was replanted.” Beautiful.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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