Cruel Summer (Ace of Base album)

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Cruel Summer
Studio album by Ace of Base
Released August 25, 1998 (Japan); September 1, 1998 (US)
Recorded September 1997 - Early 1998
Genre Pop
Length 45:40 (US)
53:15 (Japan)
Label Arista
Producer Clive Davis, Ulf Ekberg, Jonas Berggren, Hani
Ace of Base chronology
Flowers
(1998)
Cruel Summer
(1998)
Singles of the 90s
(1999)
Singles from Cruel Summer
  1. "Cruel Summer"
    Released: July 7, 1998
  2. "Whenever You're Near Me"
    Released: October 8, 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars [1]
Entertainment Weekly B+ [2][3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[4]

Cruel Summer is the third American album by Swedish pop music group, Ace of Base. When Flowers saw the sale of four million copies after its release in Europe, Asia and Africa on June 15, 1998, Arista Records decided to release their own version of the album in the US and Japan, re-titled Cruel Summer.

Cruel Summer was released on August 25, 1998 in Japan with two bonus tracks, and on September 1, 1998 in America.

Background[edit]

In 1996, the band completed its promotion of The Bridge album, which had sold seven million albums worldwide. Ace of Base did not immediately return to the studio as they had with their second album. Band member Linn Berggren tired of the spotlight, and had returned home early from the group's tour of Asia. The quartet took a break from both recording and promotion; Ulf Ekberg moved to Marbella, Spain.

In mid-1997, the band's record companies asked Ace of Base for new material. Representatives at Arista Records specifically asked for "summery", sunny songs. By Autumn of 1997, "Doctor Sun" had been recorded; it was the first song completed for the new album. The band members test-played the song in several clubs in Gothenburg. Originally, the song featured vocals from all four members, but Ulf's vocals were eventually cut on the final version, which was not released in the United States.

The band members had resisted recording another cover, but at the insistence of their British record label, Polydor Records, Jonas Berggren chose Bananarama's "Cruel Summer". The original version, however, was considered unsuitable, and a new version, overseen by Arista president Clive Davis and produced by Cutfather and Joe was commissioned instead. Jenny had written "He Decides" for the new album, however, this song, too, was considered unsuitable in its original form, and was remixed by Charles Fisher. The resulting mix was darker in tone than the original. Ulf composed "more than twenty songs", but only one was used on the released album. Linn wrote and produced a demo entitled "Lapponia", which was originally submitted for The Bridge, but the track was rejected. Instead, Arista generally chose songs written by Jonas for the American version, although not all of these songs were considered album-worthy in their original versions. Jenny was asked to record new vocals for "Donnie", and Linn's vocals were cut altogether. The resulting remix was later described as a "Phil Spector-inspired Wall of Sound". "Life Is a Flower" was considered unsuitable for American audiences, despite high chart positions worldwide. Clive Davis ordered a new version, which became "Whenever You're Near Me", an adult contemporary love song. The record company head also was instrumental in the recording (and re-recording) of "Everytime it Rains". The original vocals by Jenny were found unsuitable, and a version featuring Linn's voice was used instead. "Travel to Romantis" was remixed by Love To Infinity and "Always Have, Always Will" was edited for the U.S. release.

While the band members began their promotion for the worldwide release of the Flowers album, Arista executives wavered on whether there would be a U.S. album at all. As late as spring of 1998, Arista representatives had commented that the album was "too bubblegum" and would not be released at all in the States. When it became clear the album was selling well in Europe, representatives at Arista relented, and the album was released, three months after the European version. The name of the album, however, was rejected. Arista settled on the name Everytime it Rains, but retitled the album Cruel Summer after printing 500,000 copies of the single.

Track listing[edit]

Standard Edition[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Cruel Summer"   Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey, Keren Woodward, Anthony Swain, Steve Jolley Cutfather & Joe 3:35
2. "Donnie" (Ole Evanrude Version) Jonas Berggren Ole Evenrude 3:47
3. "Whenever You're Near Me"   Jonas Berggren, Mike Chapman Ole Evenrude 3:32
4. "Everytime It Rains"   Billy Steinberg, Rick Nowels, Maria Vidal Cutfather & Joe 4:52
5. "Adventures In Paradise"   Jonas Berggren (Co-Written by Joe Belmaati, Mich Hedin Hansen) Cutfather & Joe 3:32
6. "Don't Go Away"   Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg, John Ballard Charles Fisher, Ulf Ekberg 3:41
7. "Cecilia"   Jonas Berggren Ole Evenrude 3:55
8. "He Decides" (Charles Fisher Mix) Jenny Berggren Charles Fisher, Jonas Berggren 3:49
9. "Always Have, Always Will" (Edit) Jonas Berggren, Mike Chapman Ole Evenrude 3:46
10. "Tokyo Girl"   Jonas Berggren, B. Steinberg, Ralph McCarthy Johnny Jam & Delgado 3:36
11. "Travel To Romantis" (Love To Infinity Mix) Jonas Berggren Jonas Berggren, Johnny Jam & Delgado 3:27
12. "Cruel Summer" (Blazin' Rhythm Remix) Sarah Dallin, Siobhan Fahey, Keren Woodward, Anthony Swain, Steve Jolley Cutfather & Joe 3:31

Commercial Performance[edit]

Despite spawning a top 10 single, the album did not sell well. It peaked at #101 on Billboard's Hot 200 Album chart and dropped out of the charts soon after release, despite good reviews by Fred Bronson, who praised the album for its retro sound. A second single, "Whenever You're Near Me", received little attention, and was not even correctly promoted on the Arista website, where it was listed as "Whenever You Need Me"; despite fan efforts to get the mistake corrected. The record company soon ceased any further promotion. People Magazine reported in December 1998 that only 122,000 copies of the album had sold, while the Flowers album was certified multi-platinum.

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart 23
Chile Albums Chart 4
US Billboard 200 101

Personnel[edit]

  • Borje "Buller Bang" – Percussion
  • Delgado – Keyboards, Programming, Producer
  • Sasha – Bass
  • Per Adebratt – Keyboards, Programming
  • John Amatiello – Keyboards, Programming, Engineer
  • Andy – Remixing
  • John Ballard – Vocals (background), Vocal Arrangement
  • Ulf Bandgren – Guitar
  • Bas-Berra – Bass
  • Joe Belmaati – Arranger, Keyboards, Programming, Producer, Engineer, Mixing
  • Jenny Berggren – Vocals, Vocals (background)
  • Jonas "Joker" Berggren – Keyboards, Programming, Engineer, Vocoder
  • Linn Berggren – Vocals, Vocals (background)
  • Marit Bie – Vocals (background)
  • Marianne Bundevik – Vocals (background)
  • Mark Burdett – Design
  • Douglas Carr – Keyboards, Programming, Engineer
  • Suzanne Carstensen – Vocals (background)
  • Desi "Dezrock" Caruso – Keyboards
  • Cutfather – Arranger, Producer, Mixing
  • Clive Davis – Executive Producer
  • Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg – Producer
  • Tommy Ekman – Arranger, Keyboards, Programming, Engineer, Mixing
  • Ole Evenrude – Arranger, Producer
  • Charlie Falk – String Arrangements
  • Charles Fisher – Producer
  • Birthe H. – Vocals (background)
  • Peo Haggstrom – Keyboards, Programming
  • Hani – Producer, Remixing
  • Nana Hedin – Vocals (background)
  • Henrik – Conductor, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
  • Johnny Jam – Keyboards, Programming, Producer
  • Ulf Janson – Conductor, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
  • Bjarne "Spiff" Johansson – Percussion, Drums
  • Mads Johansson – Guitar
  • Jonas Karg – Guitar
  • Dave Lee – Programming
  • Peter Lee – Remixing
  • David Leonard – Mixing
  • Jonas Linell – Photography
  • Marian Lisland – Vocals (background)
  • Bernard Löhr – Mixing
  • Matz Nilsson – Mixing
  • Tue Roh – Fender Rhodes, String Arrangements
  • Thomas Siqveland – Programming
  • Eivind Skovdahl – Percussion, Engineer
  • Joakim Stiren – Programming, Mixing
  • Stonestream – Drum Programming
  • Leon Zervos – Mastering

Sales[edit]

  • Canada: 50,000+ units sold - gold certificate
  • Japan: 142,840 units sold
  • US: 125,000+ units sold

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Cruel Summer (Ace of Base album) at AllMusic
  2. ^ Lanham, Tom (1998-08-14). "Music Review: 'Cruel Summer' Review". Entertainment Weekly: 80. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  3. ^ "Ace Of Base - Cruel Summer CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 4. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.