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Weekly Mishmash: March 16-22

Ace of Base – Singles of the 90s. When this imported Best-Of collection appeared a few months back as a surprise offering on the defiantly indie, I saw the sign and gave it a guilt-free download. Listening to it gives me a serious yen for good ’90s Europop — and makes me wonder why so much of this stuff never made it to the U.S. market. Their luscious Motown tribute “Always Have, Always Will” or the wonderfully retro “C’est La Vie Always 21” are both fantastically constructed pieces of pure pop, but they never got a chance on our soils. “The Sign” and “All That She Wants” are here, of course, along with the underrated goodness of “Beautiful Life” and “Lucky Love” (the superior original version, not the acoustic remix made for U.S. radio). Yes, after reading everything about Ace of Base on Wikipedia, I’m almost embarrassed about how much knowledge I’ve accrued!
Patrick Cleandenim – Baby Comes Home. My other eMusic download. I’d never heard of this guy before, but his debut album has an appealingly scrappy “retro” vibe which takes in swing, ’60s soft pop and Broadway as influences. It’s nice and all, but the only song that truly stuck was the moody “Days Without Rain” — sort of a lost Mamas & Papas song. Cleandenim has ambition to spare, but his melodies aren’t too memorable and the production came off as too sloppy (especially compared with Ace of Base!). But then again he’s only 22, so whatever he comes up with later on down the line should be worth the wait.
Into the Wild (2007). Beautiful performances and great cinematography add up to a film that resonated long after we saw it. If Sean Penn intended for us to see the main guy as a hero, I don’t know if he entirely succeeded. But I definitely understand the need to break free of the constraints society puts upon us.
Maybe It’s Love (1935) A b-level comedy from the ’30s that plays like a Busby Berkeley musical without the music. Gloria Stuart, 62 years before she went on the Titanic, is the center of attention here — but the main interest in this film lies with leading man Ross Alexander. Alexander had a short-lived career at Warner Bros., making due in various happy-go-lucky “best friend” roles before taking his own life at 29. Like Ramon Novarro, he came across as very likable and very gay onscreen — and watching him in this silly fluff makes me wonder what would have become of him had he lived in a more forgiving time.
13 Going On 30 (2004) Another piece of fluff, but Jennifer Garner was so appealing that I almost didn’t care about the movie’s numerous period inaccuracies (a twelve year-old girl in 1987 loving Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”? C’mon!). Many are still waiting for the vehicle that will make Garner an A-list star.

One Thought on “Weekly Mishmash: March 16-22

  1. John H. on March 30, 2008 at 10:27 am said:

    Ace of Base are *so* underrated. I thought their last proper album, Da Capo, was really amazing.

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