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Cardigans: Gran Turismo Cardigans 
Gran Turismo
[Mercury]
Rating: 7.0
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I'm not ashamed to admit that the Cardigans grabbed my attention not with their spacepop hit "Lovefool," but with their deliciously sexy vocalist Nina Persson, and the way she beckoned me seductively from the video of the same name. I knew she wanted me, and her ocean- blue eyes yearned to whisper "Jag alskar dig," in my hairy ears. I played hard- to- get back in 1996, when they released First Band on the Moon, and I contine to play hard- to- get, safe in the secret knowledge that Nina fights through every day, yearning for my touch. Believe me when I tell you, Nina, absence breeds anticipation-- we must wait for the proper moment for our Scando- American vibes to be combined like a tasty black- and- white milkshake. We must wait...

Our delicious waiting is made even more appetizing by the Cardigans "new" release, Gran Turismo. The sounds I hear disturb me, though. Where the Cardigans seemed so on top of their game on Last Band, Gran Turismo gives me a Nina that seems to have grown morose from her waiting. The light, sharply- arranged and smilingly ironic attitude that saturated their previous effort has metamorphosed into a self- concerned dragging effort devoid of the featherweight happiness that the Cardigans have been notable for.

Leaning more heavily on distorted guitars and electronica tidbits, most lyrics circulate thematically around breakups and regret. Nina's vocals are fitting to the subject, but where the Cardigans' past tracks about disappointment would often initially sound like a romp through the fertile fields of first love, Gran Turismo regretably strips away this fa�ade. Let's be clear, though-- Gran Turismo isn't a bad album, it's just a distinct downer when compared to their earlier records.

I continue to wait for Nina to come to me. I feel her need for me is most urgent now, still sharpening our desire. Yet, I wonder-- is it all my fault? Could Nina be sending me a message? Should I go to her, gathering her close and soothing her fears, smoothing the sugary- coating that she refused to give to Gran Turismo? Come to me, Nina, come to me...

-James P. Wisdom

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