The 90's Billboard #1s Rate: 1990-1994 - AND WE ARE DONE | Page 188 | The Popjustice Forum

The 90's Billboard #1s Rate: 1990-1994 - AND WE ARE DONE

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ironheade, Nov 6, 2017.


  1. I've never connected with it.

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    PS. I think you'll find that this is the only song by Ms. Jackson that received a bum score from me.
     
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  2. No.

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  3. Wow, I must have been feeling very generous when I scored 'Again' an 8. Maybe I hit the wrong number on my keyboard. A 6, maybe, but an 8, no.
     
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  4. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    Cream outlasting Again?

    That’s unexpected.
     
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  5. This show got me hooked on Paula. Especially after hearing Vibeology! What a jam!
     
  6. Again was the unexpected sing-a-long song at the Unbreakable concert. I get why people may not like it, but it's such a great vocal performance, especially when her voice kind of trembles and almost cracks. *sniff*

    Black Velvet, if you please.
     
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  7. As one hit wonders without a 'stan vote' behind them, I think Alannah Myles and Shanice will both go before the top 20.
     
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  8. I'm getting worried now.

    I know which Swedish act has outstayed their welcome and it ain't this…..

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  9. Oh, then you must mean... this?

    28. Don't Turn Around - Ace of Base
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    Average: 7.528
    Highest score: 7 x 10 (@GimmeWork , @WowWowWowWow , @iheartpoptarts , @Remorque , @P Grandson , @ryan_riot92 , @Jeffo )
    Lowest score: 1 x 3 (@Eric Generic )
    Weeks at #1: 2 consecutive airplay (#4 on the Hot 100)
    Year-End Hot 100: #10 (1994)

    After its initial wave of popularity, Eurodance wouldn't make much more stateside impact until the end of the decade, but that certainly wasn't the end for the exposure of Europop across the pond. After all, what would any chart be without a bit of that ol' Swedish songwriting wizardry? This proved a good opportunity for a certain team of three siblings and their former Nazi buddy, who came out of nowhere to burn up the charts of 1994 with three inescapable smash hits. Personally, I'd say “The Sign” was the best of the three and “Don't Turn Around” was the worst, but really, that's not saying too much. I find them all to be quite interchangeable, both in terms of music and quality. Ace of Base were a reliable group for turning out these pleasant (and ridiculously catchy) pieces of Europop fluff, that were enjoyable enough – but that's all they ever were.

    Anyway, “Don't Turn Around” is another cover – the original being a 1986 Tina Turner B-side, but more familiar in its reggae rearrangement by Aswad (on which Ace of Base's is modelled), which had gone to #1 in the UK in 1988 – and I'd say it has some advantages over the Aswad rendition. However, we'll get to those later, because they only really struck me on the re-listens. For one thing, the vocals from Linn and Jenny Berggren... aren't the best, no. The icy-toned spoken word parts are quite nice, but when it comes to singing, the vocals really thin out in a lot of places, especially when they have to stretch at all, and they turn quite alarmingly pitchy at times (“just tell me about the JOHRNEIIIGHHH!”). And then in comes the really short rap verse from Ulf Ekberg on the bridge, which, yeah, I have no idea why it's there. And what do they do with it in terms of production? A cod-reggae beat with campy Europop synths layered over it? From Ace of Base? I never would have guessed! I'll have good things to say about it in a bit, but it can't be ignored that the mix of “Don't Turn Around” is pretty thin and lightweight, and that a lot of the synth tones have not aged well at all, those lower bassy ones on the chorus in particular.

    And yet. Something about “Don't Turn Around” manages to transcend these very clear problems, which could have been insurmountable in the hands of another artist. Sure, the production's a little on the rinky-dink side and the vocals are rather questionable... but when the hooks are this great, and nearly effortlessly so, who can quibble? The big improvement that Ace of Base make over Aswad is in pushing the tempo up a bit, which adds some more punch to an already very catchy chorus, and then adding in that whistle-tone synth as a post-chorus, which is exactly the sort of light-as-air yet maddeningly indelible hook that Swedish Europop songwriters excel at. The result, like nearly everything else they've ever done, is an earworm and a half, especially with the short blasts of distorted guitar added on to the chorus, which only serve to make it even catchier. As far as a song succeeding on pure catchiness and hook potential alone in this rate, even despite its other obvious weaknesses, it doesn't get much better than this. And while we're at it, I've had plenty of criticism for the lead vocals, but the spoken word parts really do work well, adding a fiercer, sharper edge to the original lyrics (which weren't bad in themselves, by the way). So in the end, “Don't Turn Around”, and Ace of Base, emerges as more than the sum of its parts. Disposable bubblegum it may be – but at least it's pretty tasty bubblegum.

    iheartpoptarts (10) - You guys, I love Ace of Base so much. (We are deaf to your pleas!)

    WowWowWowWow (10) - Of course.

    GimmeWork (10) - May not be a popular opinion (Certainly looks like it wasn't. - Ed.) but I like this better than The Sign. But they're both 10's so I guess it's only by a bit.

    berserkboi (9) - Lesser than The Sign as it kinda fizzles after a while but strong overall!

    Ray (8) - My favourite bit is the intro – the ice-cold “I will survive…without you”. A gunshot should follow really. (If only the rest of the song was that cool.)

    DJHazey (9) - Probably just an 8 in their own rate, but it's definitely getting a little bump here.

    ohnoitsnathan (5.5) - Sounds more like a B-side to me. (And originally, for Tina Turner, it was!)

    Sprockrooster (4) - Not as offensive on the ears as The Sign, but that is probably because I never heard this before this rate. (Yeah, "The Sign" did get a bit overplayed, even now... I'd hardly call it offensive, though.)

    Filippa (5) - I like Aswad’s version of this song best. Ace of Bace wrote usually their own stuff, so why this cover?

    Empty Shoebox (6) - Another cover that I'm marking down just on the fact that it's a cover? Well, this whole thing is subjective isn't it? If you wanted something approaching objectivity or meritocracy, you shouldn't have asked me along. (Good thing I didn't want either of those - it'd make the rate boring, for one thing. - Ed.) I don't think this is better than the Aswad version.

    Rooneyboy (9) - Much better than the original.

    londonrain (8.5) - Tina Turner missed a trick not making this song a single. Still a classic - and the pre-chorus was clearly the inspiration for the chorus to Lady Gaga’s Alejandro, which I’m absolutely fine with. (Not my favourite Lady Gaga single, as it happens...)

    mung_bean (9) - I like this version, and clearly Lady Gaga did too. (Ah, but did the Berggren girls ever swallow a rosary?)

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    So is there a mashup of these two out there? There should be. ​
     
  10. Ray

    Ray

    I'm too lazy to look, but there used to be multiple ones on YouTube when Aceofbaseandro came out.
     
    Ironheade likes this.
  11. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    This one is a bit clunky but I like that someone used Zorro and Frida for the video, so here it is.



    (Sadly, this just highlights how different the production is between the two songs, even though they share a sonic template.)
     
  12. The Happy Nation era still can do no wrong for me. (How I wish Young & Proud was a single though).

    I wasn't even aware of the Aswad version (let alone Tina's) back in the day, so Ace Of Base's version is the definitive one for me. I love Jenny's robot vocals acting like a Greek chorus.
     
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  13. Don't Turn Around is my second favorite of the Happy Nation singles, it's quite underrated I'd say. All That She Wants gets more attention/love, but I don't find it as strong.
     
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  14. This is all well and good, but can we please get rid of my remaining zeroes?
     
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  15. As a pedant, I'm going to moan about the thread title. Ø does not exist in Swedish. The closest is Ö. See København/Köpenhamn.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray

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    LEAVE BISON ALONE
     
  17. My lowest Mariah score is a 5 though.
     
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  18. I actually didn't know that, so thanks! Might want to tell that to Monty Python, though. (Yep, that's where it comes from, for anyone who didn't know. The fake subtitles at the start of Holy Grail, specifically.)
     
  19. Wait, you have MULTIPLE zeroes left!?
     
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  20. Two, I think.
     
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