Monday, June 14, 1993

Aha released Memorial Beach

First posted 1/18/2009; updated 9/10/2020.

Memorial Beach


Released: June 14, 1993

Peak: -- US, 17 UK, -- CN, 132 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: synth pop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Dark Is the Night for All (5/24/93, 19 UK)
  2. Move to Memphis (10/14/91, 47 UK)
  3. Cold as Stone
  4. Angel in the Snow (9/6/93, 41 UK)
  5. Locust
  6. Lie Down in Darkness
  7. How Sweet It Was
  8. Lamb to the Slaughter
  9. Between Your Mama and Yourself
  10. Memorial Beach

Total Running Time: 49:33

The Players:

  • Morten Harket (vocals, guitar)
  • Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitar, bass)
  • Pål Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars, drums, percussion)


3.200 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)

About the Album:

“For its fifth album, a-ha varies its style somewhat, trying for a U2 approach on lead-off track Dark Is the Night for All. This is a long way from the peppy appeal of ‘Take on Me,’ but just as far from an improvement.” AMG

“An earlier version of Move to Memphis appeared on the compilation, Headlines and Deadlines ,” WK released in 1991.

“Some lyrics from Locust were reused on the Savoy single ‘Whalebone.’” WK Savoy was a side project launched by guitarist Pal Waaktaar and keyboardist Magne “Mags” Furuholmen during aha’s hiatus. Aha wouldn’t release another album until 2000.

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Saturday, June 5, 1993

Tears for Fears charted with Elemental


Tears for Fears

Charted: June 5, 1993

Peak: 45 US, 5 UK, 18 CN, 56 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.06 UK, 1.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Elemental [5:30]
  2. Cold (Orzabal) [5:04] (6/19/93, 72 UK)
  3. Break It Down Again [4:31] (5/17/93, 25 US, 26 CB, 9 RR, 25 AC, 13 MR, 20 UK, 4 CN, 82 AU)
  4. Mr. Pessimist [6:16]
  5. Dog's a Best Friend's Dog [3:38]
  6. Fish Out of Water [5:07]
  7. Gas Giants [2:40]
  8. Power [5:50]
  9. Brian Wilson Said [4:22]
  10. Goodnight Song [3:53] (10/93, 44 CN)
All songs by Griffiths/Orzabal unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 46:51

The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, instruments, production)
  • Alan Griffiths, Tim Palmer (instruments, production)
  • Guy Pratt (additional bass on “Mr. Pessimist”)
  • John Baker, Julian Orzabal (backing vocals on “Cold” and “Break It Down Again”)


3.580 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)

Quotable: “Easily as good as its immediate predecessor.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

1993 saw the return of Tears for Fears, four years after The Seeds of Love. This time, however, the band was pretty much a Roland Orzabal solo project. Even on The Seeds of Love, Curt Smith’s role had been been diminished, but now he’d left completely.

That album “benefited hugely from soulful female backing vocals [whereas this is a] one man show [of Orzabal with] session guys, producers and engineers.” AD “Orzabal…backs away from the cinematic production of Seeds of Love preferring a more direct and soulful style of pop music that appealed to both adult contemporary and adult alternative radio audiences. While some of the material was a little weak, the record was easily as good as its immediate predecessor.” AMG

“Orzabal is left to fend off existential angst on his own – which he does with amazing grace and integrity.” RSElemental finds…Roland…in a more agitated state of mind.” DV He’s “no slouch at writing, [though] losing your band-mate and collaborator…must have been a blow.” AD “Ever so occasionally, Roland's state of mind surfaces in the songs in ambiguous forms, leaving the songs open to one's own interpretations of what they mean.” DV Orzabal acknowledges the difficult circumstances that surrounded the recording of this album: “‘When most of these songs were written, I’d spend the morning in my lawyer’s office, trying to sort out stuff with Curt…and then I’d go start writing with Al.’” DV Griffiths, who played guitar and co-produced the album, along with Tim Palmer. This trio "provide the production techniques, smooth segues and sweeping guitar-keyboard interplay that fans have come to expect from Tears for Fears.” RS

“Roland’s state of mind, and the change in his outlook has brought out a new feel, a new sound in the band. TFF is no longer about beautiful singles and clean-cut amiability. The disturbance in Roland’s mind has resulted in an experimental and unconventional sound…This is a rock album of variegated soundscapes, which are as abstruse as are interesting. It begins with the rather spaced-out title song, followed by Cold and Break It Down Again, back-to-back radio-wonders.” DV

“Roland’s discomfort comes up…in the single ‘Break It Down Again,’ but this time, in a more positive, more hopeful manner, as he sings of the ‘the beauty of decay’ (his loss), the fact that things fall apart, but one can find something new, something positive from it – as he puts it in his own words, ‘There’s an optimism in that breaking down, that breaking up like a phoenix rising from the ashes.’” DV This “is a proper song, with melody [and] inventive arrangements [that] stands alongside other very good Tears For Fears material.” AD

Mr. Pessimist is probably the most messed up and complicated TFF number ever. It is also one that shows off the band’s unique musical craftsmanship.” DV

Dog’s a Best Friend's Dog and Fish Out of Water…are probably the band’s only true ‘rock’ songs.” DV On the latter, “the most powerful song” DV on the album, “Orzabal doesn’t seem to be that thrilled with his musical divorce from Smith.” RS “Roland’s bluntness is revived in its most seething form.” DV He echoes “sentiments as spiteful as John Lennon’s anti-McCartney rant ‘How Do You Sleep.’ ‘With all your cigarettes and fancy cars/You ain't a clue who or what you are,’ Orzabal sings acidly, pinning his ex-partner and counting ‘one more martyr to the hit parade.’” RS

“The album then takes a mindless trip into space (sometimes earthly, sometimes galactic), which seems incomprehensible as well as charming. The vague structure of Gas Giants or the simplistically vague nature of Power…find TFF at an experimental peak.” DV The latter, along with the album’s first two singles, is “replete with melodic free falls, harmonized and overlapped vocals, burbling keyboards and guitar shudders.” RS

Brian Wilson Said “inevitably included Beach Boys type vocal harmonies,” AD “stretching reverence to the extreme with [its] sad, Smile-inspired embrace” RS as “Orzabal molds his borrowings to fit the mood” RS “shamelessly lifting from the Beatles and the Beach Boys.” RS “Nice little Wilsonesque piano lines…harmony parts included…Listen to it, cry tears of joy.” AD

“Just when one feels that all is forgiven and forgotten” DV “the gorgeous Goodnight Song [offers] a more reflective account of the spat [with Smith], with Orzabal expressing abandonment and confusion, and cushioning the hurt with sobbing synth riffs.” RS “Disguised in all its heavenliness and well-mannered warmth, Roland sings ‘the sounds we are making are so uninspired…goodnight song played so wrong blame the crowd, they scream so loud so long,’ probably reflecting the older TFF that was in turmoil, that existed before the split, or possibly just mocking meaningless ‘popular’ music.” DV

Elemental…sees TFF take a different direction, take a different perspective on matters that hurt it most. There is a feeling of being let down and being betrayed, but the album retorts with sarcasm and positivism; it sees the constructiveness that comes hidden with destruction. It is all about change for the better, and this metamorphosis is inspiring.” DV

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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 2/22/2022.

Tuesday, June 1, 1993

Ace of Base’s The Sign released

First posted 11/15/2010; updated 11/24/2020.

Happy Nation/The Sign

Ace of Base

Released: December 1992 HN,
June 1, 1993 TS

Peak: 12 US, 12 UK, 113 CN, 9 AU

Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 0.6 UK, 23.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: dance pop

HN Happy Nation
TS The Sign

Tracks on Happy Nation: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Voulez-Vous Danser
  2. All That She Wants (5/8/93, 2 US, 1 UK, 22 AC, 17 MR, platinum single)
  3. Just Chaos *
  4. Happy Nation (11/13/93, 40 UK)
  5. Waiting for Magic
  6. Fashion Party *
  7. Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93, 20 UK)
  8. Dancer in a Daydream
  9. My Mind
  10. W.O.F. (original club mix) *
  11. Dimension of Depth *
  12. Young and Proud
  13. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)

* not on The Sign

Tracks on The Sign:

  1. All That She Wants (5/8/93, 2 US, 1 UK, 22 AC, 17 MR, platinum single)
  2. Don’t Turn Around ** (5/7/94, 1a US, 5 UK, 7 AC, gold single)
  3. Young and Proud
  4. The Sign ** (1/1/94, 1 US, 2 UK, 2 AC, platinum single)
  5. Living in Danger ** (10/22/94, 16a US, 18 UK, 35 AC)
  6. Dancer in a Daydream
  7. Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93, 20 UK)
  8. Waiting for Magic
  9. Happy Nation (11/13/93, 40 UK)
  10. Voulez-Vous Danser
  11. My Mind
  12. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)
** not on Happy Nation


3.872 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


About the Album:

Tracking the development of these two albums (of which each has at least two versions) is confusing. First, this was “released in Europe as Happy Nation in 1992” WK with Wheel of Fortune being the lead single in Scandanavia in the summer of 1992. However, the album didn’t really take off until All That She Wants was a #1 hit in the U.K. in the spring of 1993.

Then the album was “re-issued with a different track listing in the US as The Sign September 25, 1993.” WK Four songs were left off Happy Nation and replaced with three songs that became major hits – The Sign, Don’t Turn Around, and Living in Danger. “It’s easy to see why they were hits – the beat is relentless and the hooks are incessantly catchy.” STE

However, “Ace of Base’s strong point is not versatility – all of their hit singles have exactly the same beat. But that doesn’t matter.” STE Ace of Base “managed to create a piece of melodic Euro-disco that was a huge hit all over the world, appealing to both dance clubs and pop radio.” STE

As far as the albums go, matters were confused even more when the album was released again in Europe as The Sign and the bonus track ‘Hear Me Calling’ was added. As if this didn’t muddle the waters enough, now this new version of The Sign was then released again in the U.S. as Happy Nation: U.S. Version.

In the end, the album that really is responsible for generating multi-million in sales worldwide is the original U.S. album entitled The Sign. It featured three top 5 hits in the U.S., another top 20 hit, and two more songs that were minor hits in the U.K. Only true fans need to seek out the original Happy Nation album.

Notes: To really confuse matters, this album has been released in several variations. However, The Sign featured all the singles noted above, whereas those noted with an asterisk (*) did not appear on the original album Happy Nation.

After The Sign was released in the U.S., it was also “re-issued in Europe with the same track listing as The Sign plus the previously unreleased track ‘Hear Me Calling.’” WK In the U.S., that album was then released “at the end of 1993 as Happy Nation U.S. Version.” WK

Information on this page refers primarily to the U.S. version of The Sign, unless noted otherwise.

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