Swedish invasion

Many years have passed since The Cardigans shot to international fame with “Lovefool.” But they are back with a more mature sound

By Olivia Wycech  /  Contributing reporter

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 - Page 12

Sweden nailed it with Ikea, Volvo, Abba and Avicii — and, let us not forget, The Cardigans, who have reunited after a five-year break and will perform tonight at National Taiwan University Sports Center (台大綜合體育館) before heading to Japan to play Summersonic.

After their 1996 single Love Fool was featured on the Romeo + Juliet movie soundtrack, it quickly saturated airwaves. And though the song may be a common reference point for the band, it actually came off of the group’s third studio album.

“It’s true that we broke the USA with Lovefool, but we had tours and albums in the charts in Europe and Japan before that,” said Magnus Sveningsson, bassist for The Cardigans, in an interview with the Taipei Times.

The band has since put out another three albums, all featuring Nina Persson’s melodic voice. But it’s hard to pigeonhole their sound into any one category since their albums have become heavier since the sweeter-sounding days of Lovefool. It’s far from pop and even further from rock, but one thing is certain: Persson’s voice makes you feel happy.

Persson not only fronts the band, but she also takes credit for the group’s canny lyrics, with many songs assigned playful titles like I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer.

“Nina has been writing most of the lyrics since Gran Turismo in 1998,” Sveningsson said. “We all think she’s a master of words, the best Swedish artist to write English lyrics. We always read through her lyrics and ask questions and sometimes come up with suggestions, but none of us could ever do what she does, so we’re all very cool with her writing about love and life.”

This October marks 20 years since Sveningsson handpicked Persson to sing in the band.

“Peter and I wanted to start a band with a female lead singer. We wanted a delicate, almost girl-like voice and by chance we found that in Nina. She and I had been in the same high school but we never hung out then. So it was just plain luck and then some talent.”

Even after 20 years, Sveningsson credits the band’s positive attitude and solid friendship for making their reunion a cinch. “We’ve been blessed with zero drug problems and very minor ego problems so it’s been quite easy.”

Getting back together doesn’t necessarily mean fans can expect a new album any time soon, but they have a lot of existing music to pick from for tonight’s show. “The focus will be Gran Turismo, in its full length. Then adding on lots of encores including one or two Super Extra Gravity songs,” Sveningsson said.

The Cardigans play tonight at the National Taiwan University Stadium (國立臺灣大學綜合體育館), 1, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段1號). The show starts at 8pm but queuing is expected to begin at 4:30pm. Tickets range from NT$1,400 to NT$3,800 and can be purchased on the Web at www.ticket.com.tw or from any 7-11 iBon machine. Call (02) 2796-1078 for more information.