Monday, June 8th, 2009

Aqua – Back to the 80s

They did go away, just so you know. They’re not away anymore, though…


Anthony Easton: It’s good to know that American country does not have the chokehold on strung together, barely there references that are supposed to signify some nostalgia, but move into a complete blankness.

Hillary Brown: How do I make a big heart with HTML? Aqua, I would not let anyone else get away with this, but you perky little bastards are somehow making it work and making me genuinely nostalgic and happy about a fairly terrible decade.

Chuck Eddy: Wait, weren’t satellites and 7-Up and Devo around before the ’80s? And Lene’s accent sounded cuter and Rene’s accent sounded pervier and the beats sounded bubblier back in Barbie lollipop days. But if you think I’m gonna give an Aqua song that shouts out to “Twisted Sisters on MTV” a grade lower than 7, you don’t know me.

Michaelangelo Matos: “When Michael Jackson’s skin was black” nearly made me choke on my own tongue, but otherwise this is a glossy, horribly obvious checklist; everything listed on it loses some luster simply by association.

Ian Mathers: When I heard that Aqua’s new greatest hits included a new track and was almost entirely re-recordings of their old singles, I seriously questioned why you’d bother with it. I’m not a fan of Aqua, but surely the point was their old chintzy/cheesy style, right? But it turns out that “Back to the 80’s” a. doesn’t sound like the Aqua I’ve heard at all and b. is awesome. It’s a bit more restrained and the melodies just seem more fully-formed than they used to be. And if nothing else, you have to love the way Rene says “BA NA NA RA MA” on the chorus.

Jessica Popper: There’s not much progression from their old sound, but I don’t mind at all; I loved Aqua, and this song is as ace as anything they ever did.

Edward Okulicz: I bought and love both Aqua albums and Lene Nystrom’s (excellent) solo album and I find it comforting and thrilling in equal measures that absolutely nothing has changed – this is pretty much exactly the same as “Cartoon Heroes” but a little faster, i.e. good and fast. Airheadedness is seldom this enjoyable.

Peter Parrish: Aqua’s big problem is that LazyTown stole their aesthetic and immediately made it twenty times more terrifying, so their budget Eurodance beats with husky manchild interjections now just sound tired and flat.

Martin Kavka: I hope this becomes a big hit, so that Janis Ian can sue them for plagiarizing “At Seventeen,” win, and start livin’ large.

Martin Skidmore: Nowhere near enough pop energy in this. The lyrics about the ’80s are sometimes amusing, and the chorus can certainly be sung along with, but it’s all a bit mature to play to their strengths, and Rene Dif sounds smooth rather than rasping and strange. It’s sort of slick, but not so much fun.

Matt Cibula: I almost gave this a good grade because they’re just as plastic and cynical as ever (yay!) and so I could mention my theory that Aqua is a low-calorie mashup of Ace of Base and the Sugarcubes. Then I listened to it again and yuck, not even as good as that other song about the 80s and that was bad too. Added a couple of points out of sheer cussedness.

Jonathan Bradley: I guess if your late nineties heyday is rapidly in danger of becoming the next big thing in nostalgia it makes sense to pretend the whole world is still fixated with the eighties, but the pre-emptive attack is a failure. It isn’t just that the sweetly underplayed introduction is too quickly swamped in cheese, or that Aqua have a tin ear for pop culture (“Back to the ’80s” sounds like it was written with careful reference to one of those “You Might Be a Child of the ’80s If…” chain emails). No, the worst offence Aqua commits here is predicating their comeback on biting a fucking Bowling for Soup hit. I know it sounds absurd, but I thought Aqua had a little more self-respect than that.

5 Responses to “Aqua – Back to the 80s”

  1. A controversial one, yes (#6 unweighted, #4 weighted). Is it just me or is it kind of weird when white Swedish people say things like “when Michael Jackson still was black”?

    Anthony: “chokehold on strung together, barely there references that are supposed to signify some nostalgia, but move into a complete blankness.”

    Not only does Asher Roth have this chokehold, he could probably specify the moves of several different WWF stars of the late 80s and early 90’s to describe what it is like when he coughs. You see, he smokes marijuana.

  2. No Swedes in Aqua — Danish / Norwegian.

  3. Woops! Yes, Danish, obvs, same principle.

  4. Was sent to us via Youtube a few weeks ago. We love it! But NOT available in OZ yet! The song sums up our “band” but it is a cheezy fun salute to the 80s (Vale Michael Jackson). Middle aged wannabe’s will love it!

  5. The Michael Jackson reference has been removed.