Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Clandestine Classic XXIX - Rise And Shine

Rise And Shine (original version)The twenty-ninth post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

What makes a classic clandestine? If I mention The Cardigans to you, there's a fair chance you've heard of them, as long as you have had a passing interest in popular music in the last twenty years. And if I asked you to name three hits by the Swedish tunesmiths, there's a fair chance you could do that too. You'd probably come up with My Favourite Game, Lovefool and, after a bit of umming and aahing, Erase/Rewind. Certainly those were the band's biggest successes commercially. But what else?

The Cardigans formed in 1992 in Jonkoping, a small Swedish town that curiously also gave rise to The Motorhomes (Clandestine Classic XXII) and Agnetha from Abba (Clandestine Classic XXV). They soon became a five-piece, with guitarist Peter Svensson writing the tunes and singer Nina Persson (gorgeous, by the way) providing the lyrics. Their debut single was, you've guessed it, Rise And Shine, released in Sweden in 1994 and in the UK a year later, in support of debut album Emmerdale. It reached the giddy heights of 29 in the UK singles chart - a fair showing but still low enough for the song to qualify as clandestine (in my book at least and, as Al Murray says: my gaff, my rules). A re-recorded version was released a few years later, in other territories as they say, but it's the original recording I feature here today.

So what's to tell about the song? Well, it's an archetypal piece of mid-90s Scandinavian jingle-jangle, with a guitar sound so bright it almost needs shades. Nina's vocals are a little breathy, a little pixie-ish (not in that way, although curiously both Nina and Peter cite Pixies as an influence), and very catchy. Beguiling too, but maybe that's just me. Also, given the song's title and bounce-along pace, it's a great track one, side one for a mix-tape. Remember them? But most of all, though, this song is danceable. If, like me, you were an indie kid who liked a dance (as long as no-one was watching, of course) then this was the kind of song for you. I hope you heard it at the time.

I still dance to this now, occasionally, and so today's clandestine classic is dedicated to the one person with whom I dance to this tune. As well as on the debut album, you can find this version of Rise And Shine on The Cardigans inestimable Best Of compilation, a record so uniformly excellent that I'm not going to root around and find you a dodgy download - just go and buy the album! You'll thank me for it. I will still embed the original promo though. The video for the re-recorded version is different, and also worth a look - it's here. But for now, here's the original. Enjoy.


  1. Another excellent choice - keep 'em coming!

    1. Wish I could! Blogging time is at a premium these days, and everything's suffering. Haven't written a word of fiction since August either. This is where I would add a punctuation sad face, if I was down with the kids.

  2. The Man Of Cheese2 April 2013 at 16:38

    God this takes me a good place though!!