Ace of Base – All That She Wants


Release Date: May 93
Chart Position: 1

Vince
There were a few naysayers when this was added to the Neggae hot 90, so before we start I’d like to clear a few things up:
Q: Does it appear on mid-90s reggae compilations – the sacred scripts on which the Neggae hot 90 is based upon?
A: Yes, see here for any confusion.
Q: Can you even have reggae/neggae in Sweden? Is it warm enough there?
A: Well Bob Marley saw to that, and from these seeds Ace of Bass grew (cracking band name too.)
Q: The song is weak though – I’m sure there’s no way Jamaican reggae artists would cover it?
A: Carlene Davis disagrees, in quite a banging fashion.
Q: But surely British people are the only white-folk to have propriety over reggae? Jamaica being one of our former colonies and all that?
A: Tut tut.

Of course this song should reside in this list. Ace of Base were the original Scandifarians/Rastanavians, armed with ice-cold synths, bubbling basslines and sax solos to die for.
This is the song that kickstarted the Neggae Spring. This and the next five records returned an average chart placing of 3.8.
3.8!
That makes Neggae more popular than Acid House, Merseybeat, Grunge and 2-step garage. Shit just got real.
As for the song, it’s a pop classic. The two-note flute intro is reminiscant of Land Down Under (proto-neggae classic), and the minor reggae keyed chords drive the song along. The real beauty of the song however lies in the outro; that three note bassline that I swear they must have nicked, but am unable to prove. Ultimately though, the final say lies with the British record buying public who bought it like billio, and placed it at number one.
Score: 9/10 – because all nations are welcome on the Neggae journey.

Gouldy
Sweggae? Sceggae? I’m not really sure what this is but I’m not sure it’s Neggae, however it’s the Hot 90 so I must abide by the rules. Inspired by Abba’s ‘Tropical Loveland’ , Ace of Base called in legendary Dr Alban producer Denniz PoP to give their song a more commercial sound as they were struggling for success with their techno sound in their metal loving hometown.
Originally the song was called ‘Mr Ace’ and was sent to PoP, luckily for the Swedish Neggaeists the demo cassette got stuck in his car stereo, forcing him to listen to the song over and over again, this convinced him to produce and rename the song. I’m not sure how the original song sounded but I’ve a sneaking suspicion his main contribution was to press the button marked ‘Reggae’ on his Casio keyboard to get that ‘lift music’ reggae, piano riff, although admittedly I like the intro, used nicely here. There’s been a lot of conjecture about the lyrics, arguing whether the baby she wants is literal or a figure of speech, personally I couldn’t give a f*ck, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to change my life either way, if she was that desperate all she needed to do was fall asleep next to Julian Assange.
The video’s hardly Bergman, a sepia tinted borefest of the lead singer mugging earnestly at the camera (terrible skin by the way) and the femme fatale of the piece doing her make up, yawn mon.
Score: 3/10 not offensive but pretty bland and uninspiring, like Janssons frestelse.

Norm
Hmm, Ace of Base. I don’t want to go against the grain but I’m struggling to find any correlation between a Scandinavian pop group and the likes of Shaggy and Jimmy Cliff.
It’s a very catchy tune but has little substance and is quite boring towards the middle and by the end I’m ready to to turn the dial. “All that she wants is another baby” repeat, repeat, repeat, blah blah blah!
This has to be one of the worst and unimaginative videos we’ve seen yet, no creativity or island spice to this one. The most appealing part of the video was the Ron Burgundy “Jazz Flute” background. Slow and sexy has more imagination and oomph to it.
Score: 2/10 for me, can’t go lower than Marley. Not a BBQ tune and no scantily clad, hip thrusting island girls and not quite neggae!

Jonny:
What a great track and what an introduction to the new kids on the neggae block. The Swedish outfit comprising of Buddha, Joker, Linn and Jenny, (not textbook neggae names granted –  but don’t let that fool you; this is neggae through and through), arrived on the scene in May 93 with this gem of a tune.
This was a new take on the genre introducing a type of dub reggae (deggae?) and a welcome twist on the now runaway movement as it continued its dominance of the UK charts, and our lives. The tune was not only a debut single that went to no 1 but also the biggest and most successful track on their debut album Happy Nation / The Sign, which is even still today one of the biggest selling debut albums of any artist, in the world, ever.The tune was so catchy it went on to spark at least 10 covers since its original release including versions from Britney Spears (heartfelt) and even Noel Gallagher (bit uncomplimentary).
I remember vividly hearing this for the first time. I loved it and was keen to buy the single as soon as payday arrived. As a paperboy, payday was a Sunday and I eagerly awaited the brown envelope of cash to drop through the letter box. It was compensation for me dumping 120 copies of the Byfleet News and Mail in the River Wey at the back of the estate.
Was this justified  Well, I skimmed this highbrow fish and chip wrapping frequently, and concluded that nobody would be missing out on updates of missing cats and a frankly dark classified section. However, back in ’93 in Byfleet there were no shops open on a Sunday, so I had to play the waiting game. But as soon as Monday came around, I was straight into Woolworths to pick myself up a copy and I play the crap out of it for a good few weeks.
As for the song itself, I like the use of the horns and wind pipes (or whatever they are) that give us a little intro as it drops and the bassline starts up that remains solid throughout the song.
The quality of the vocals, both lead and backing are not as strong as other tunes in this hit list, but are good enough for me and good enough to make the song thoroughly enjoyable and very easy to foot tap to. This is a classic BBQ song and I remember it being a must at any BBQ through the summer of 93.
The video lets it down a little I feel, a load of slow-mo nothingness really. A girl knocking round her flat getting ready to go out as the band sit around in her front room performing, not sure what the intent it but is lost on me a little clearly.
Am I wrong to find the lyrics a little sinister? A girl that is basically just after a one nighter in order to get pregnant? “Your a fox and she’s a hunter”, “she’ll be gone in the morning”, “she’s going to get you”; all a little bit loose for my liking now. However when I was 15 this was just fine.
All in all, I don’t feel that the video or the sinister lyrics take enough shine off an overall great tune that sums up how exciting that spring and Summer of 1993 really were.
Score: All I want…….is to give it a 7/10

Jamie
Ace of Base. Pioneers of the Swedish Neggae scene.
Made up of Ulf “Buddha” Ekberg and the Bergrren siblings, the Ace were immediately labelled the new ABBA with the worldwide acclaim of this debut single. OK, they’re a four piece and the front woman is a blonde but that’s as far as it goes for me. I never heard Bjorn and Benny lay down any off-beat neggae yamaha.
Top 5 in a swathe of countries including the UK and The US, the band quickly established a synth based take on Neggae, or EuroNeggae as I like to call it. this lead to 5 albums, a series of world tours and some serious krona. At the peak of their powers The Ace played to a sold out crowd of 55,000 in Tel Aviv alongside none other than Doctor Alban. The original Swedish Neggae Mafia.
The song is simple, catchy and structured well. Having not listened to it properly since my departure from Middle School in 1992 I actually appreciate this song more now than I did on its release. The beats are well ahead of their time. They’re almost moombahton, just 20 years to early. Surely there’s a moombah mix of all that she wants out there somewhere. Wouldn’t take a lot to re work this for the kids of today.
The base line is decent. It would be better if played on a real base guitar, but I guess that would fall foul of the very nature of Euro Neggae. Everything must be synthesised and sound like it came out of a can. In the video Buddha is seen mincing around with a clarinet in the back ground. Do me a favour? You cant buy clarinet’s or saxophones flat packed from a retail outlet.
The vocals from Bergrren’s 2 and 3 are good. Some nice harmonies and nothing overly flamboyant or eggy help to make this a decent pop song. All in all I think Ace of Base deserve their place in the Neggae hall of fame.
Score: Sju av tio från mig Mon (That’s a seven out of ten from me Mon.)

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.6

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