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Bananarama’s ‘Summer’ Receives the Ace Treatment

*** / ACE OF BASE

“Cruel Summer”

Arista

Every now and then, a musical act introduces a new version of someone else’s old hit, and the fit is so perfect that it makes you chuckle with delight. Such is the case with Ace of Base’s rendition of “Cruel Summer,” a big single for Bananarama in 1984.

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While the Swedish group doesn’t exactly reinvent the song, Ace of Base’s unabashedly sweet, vaguely wistful sensibilities are perfectly suited to this bubble-gum pop classic, and the group’s sparkling, electronically enhanced arrangement is every bit as irresistible as the original.

The rest of the album is predictably peppy, with delirious contemporary dance tracks and warmer, Motown-style numbers. Mid-tempo tunes such as “Don’t Go Away” and “He Decides” are a bit moodier, with that touch of tender melancholy that is a hallmark of much Scandinavian music. But taken as a whole, this collection provides a sugar rush worthy of a six-pack of your favorite cola. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a cool summer.

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


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