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Welcome to Paralyzed/The Cardigans' Biography Section. Below is a bio about the group and their work on the album.


Granted, Gran Turismo, The Cardigans' fourth album, takes its name from the video game some members of the Swedish quintet enjoyed with near obsessive enthusiasm during breaks in the recording process. Nonetheless, the title evokes both the lyrical theme and musical mood of the follow-up to their platinum-plus major label debut. "It fits the idea of being a tourist in your own life," explains Nina Persson, "that common human issue of feeling dislocated in the world, trying to participate and interact but being prevented by either inner or outer obstacles."

Melancholy melodies that impel the listener to wander an internal landscape, sometimes aimlessly, sometimes with conviction, musically parallel the concept. The mechanized slo-mo assembly-line feel of "Paralyzed." The pealing bells and resolute beat of "Marvel Hill." First single "My Favorite Game"-neo-New Wave diva pop slick and twisty as an icy freeway fastlane. "Higher," its glimmering gossamer ladder ascending celestially with precarious delicacy. All in all, some deep shit.

Which may amaze those whose Cardigans experience is limited to the kitschy ear candy of "Lovefool,” so in-demand an airwaves staple, it was the fourth most-played radio song of 1997. Others more familiar with the band, however, will see Gran Turismo as consistent with The Cardigans work.

"This album has more in common with our first," says songwriter Peter Svensson of Emmerdale. Though voted best album by Sweden's leading music magazine, Slitz -- the band, in true tragic-artist mode, focused on "reviews that said it was too serious, too dark," Svensson continues, "so our next album was in reaction to that -- life was a very happy, jolly album." "Lovefool" notwithstanding, First Band On The Moon was more in step with The Cardigans' natural inclinations, and now Svensson says: "We're back to our original intent. Everyone feels great about it, we feel like we're home."

While Gran Turismo reflects The Cardigans' earliest creative stirrings, it's also a departure and a progression. Cutting-edge production, for one thing. "We'd always used old equipment, but this time we wanted a modern sound," says Bengt Lagerberg. Adds Svensson: "Everyone thinks our producer [Tore Johansson] is this militant retro guy, but he's always just going for sound. I think he was waiting for a computer program that wouldn't compromise sound."

If the electronic edge leads Gran Turismo to enter trip-hop territory, "then it's the first trip-hop album with really good songs," Svensson asserts. "In my opinion, that scene is about beat, production, atmosphere-which I can appreciate -- but I seldom hear a good song come out of it. Gran Turismo is very much my type of songwriting -- big melodies, very simple, written on guitar -- we just added the loops and stuff afterwards.”

Gran Turismo represents a new lyrical plane for The Cardigans as well, with Persson for the first time penning the majority of the words, instead of collaborating with Sveningsson or singing his lyrics. "I like Magnus' stuff, but if I'm going to spend a lot of time with the songs, I want to know what they're about," Persson says. "It's easier to give emotional delivery to what is personal to me."

Certainly Sveningsson struggled with this, "It's hard to kill your darlings!" he says. "At the time I was a little pissed off, but Nina has developed her style so well. I put aside my pride and now I'm over 100 percent pleased with the results."

Persson's vocals -- which always went down like some silky liqueur -- now kick you in the belly upon reaching there. "Nina's voice is very important to this record," points out Johansson. "When we first started the band she was a very soft and whispery singer; now her voice is deeper, stronger, better."

Musical maturity for all members was inevitable. They were still in their teens when they formed the band in their hometown of Jonkoping in 1992. Relocating to the more metropolitan Malmo shortly thereafter, they hooked up with producer Johansson and began a career that has yielded a series of hit singles, multi-platinum worldwide sales and sold-out international tours.

The touring schedule to support First Band On The Moon was arduous. When The Cardigans finally begged off, they took six months to recuperate, then holed up in their producer's bucolic countryside home to record Gran Turismo. "We hadn't really seen each other in half a year, it helped us come together," says Johansson. "We could go out and play volleyball in the garden, and our guitar tech, who's a really good cook, came down to make meals for us, so it gave a bit of family feeling," adds Sveningsson. "But mainly we went there to be more effective and organized. Recording in town, there's always someone who'll say, 'Oh, I have to go do this...'"

Rather than impose daunting pressure, the band's popularity was cause for inspiration. "Success has given us more self-confidence," says Lagerberg. Agrees Persson, "It's made us feel that from now on we can do whatever we want and don't have to consider anybody else's opinions. Success also spurs you on to try other things -- I wouldn't want to die with 'that song,' the words 'love me, love me...' on my tombstone!"

Success places demands on those that achieve it -- a fact The Cardigans know full well. "It means a lot of work, touring and stuff," Svensson says. "That's why it was important that with this album we made music the five members of the band really, really, really like -- so we can do it again and feel for it with all our hearts."

this biography is being used courtesy of Mercury Records Homepage


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