Super Extra Gravity

Studio Album by released in 2005
Super Extra Gravity's tracklist:
Losing a Friend
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Godspell
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Drip Drop Teardrop
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Overload
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I Need Some Fine Wine and You Need to Be Nicer
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Don`t Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds)
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Little Black Cloud
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In the Round
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Holy Love
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Good Morning Joan
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And Then You Kissed Me (Part 2)
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Bonus Tracks
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Give Me Your Eyes
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Slow
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Super Extra Gravity review

Super Extra Gravity is a fine, sure-footed pop record

Like any promising thoroughbred, The Cardigans shot out of the pop gate with confidence and grace, fast establishing the kind of form that looked set to win them fistfuls of rosettes. And, for a while, they did. Since debuting with Emmerdale, they released an album annually for five years and, in 1997, became superstars with their sweet and giddy Lovefool single. A significant hurdle loomed, however, in the shape of 1998's Gran Turismo, which, lacking any obvious singles, saw the band fall heavily. They limped off for a rethink and, when they returned five years later – with the markedly more confessional Long Gone Before Daylight – a once excited pop world simply shrugged its shoulders. But Super Extra Gravity is a fine, sure-footed pop record, shorn of the retro, slightly kitschy overtones of their debut, the awkward flirtation with electronica that marked out Gran Turismo and the overly measured, self-aware statement of "maturity" that was their last LP. As ever, Nina Persson – whose slightly ragged, sweetly soulful voice is surely one of the most underrated in pop – focuses on the grown-up business of relationships, while the band marks out a kind of tempered, post-grunge/pop middle ground with a healthy slug of Pixies, a little R.E.M. and a dash of country by way of Wilco.

The Cardigans continue their evolution into a serious indie group with polished songs

Scorn, revenge, agnosticism and kinky sex; all this deviance may come as a surprise to the multitudes who bought into the fluffy easy-listening effervescence of The Cardigans' earlier material. Super Extra Gravity will, however, be less of a culture shock to long-term subscribers; The Cardigans always had their darker side, the band's sound taking a turn down a more shadowy alleyway. Whilst lyrically Long Gone Before Daylight is set in a bubble of an intense relationship going right and wrong, Super Extra Gravity takes inspiration from farther afield. Religion is one theme; in Godspell. While Don't Blame Your Daughter reads like a letter giving her ex-husband and children's father a good ticking off. Nina Persson goes on to explore the ill-effects of too much alcohol on a raging jealous tongue with the best song title ever, I Need Some Fine Wine, And You, You Need To Be Nicer. But dysfunctional relationships are a common theme, with old song And Then You Kissed Me gaining a sequel here. There are no great departures instrumentally and The Cardigans continue their evolution into a serious, spacious indie group with polished songs. It seems that the ironic, chatty Cardigans of Emmerdale are gone forever, but they're still sounding great. Aside from the first single other highlights include the sparse album opener Losing A Friend, In The Round, Good Morning Joan featuring a wall of guitars and the sad and beautiful Don't Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds).

A winning combination of the strange and beautiful

Once again, the band have changed direction and have ditched some of their more lightweight pop moments in favor of a more direct, slightly rockier sound without forgoing their knack for writing great pop songs. Every listen of the new record reveals another gem – The Cardigans have succeeded in their aim: to make a beautifully deranged album that never ceases to surprise the listener. Nina's voice is most of the times a feather, the kind of one you would wanted waking you up every morning. But she can sound some aggressive and out loud too. The Cardigans show a super extra competent talent album, with no fear of sounding different from the last album. They always conducted their "business" like that, having in mind the risk of not creating a musical identity. That’s what they looked for, and that’s one of the reasons many people respect them and consider them the best rock pop band of new times. Super Extra Gravity is a winning combination of the strange and beautiful. The production is glossy enough to be commercial but also hard enough to be cool – a difficult balancing act, but one The Cardigans manage to pull off with some aplomb.