Beautiful Life (Ace of Base song)

"Beautiful Life" is a song by Swedish band Ace of Base, released on 20 October 1995.[1] In North America, it was the first single released from The Bridge; in Europe, it followed "Lucky Love". It reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart in December 1995.[2] BuzzFeed ranked it number 51 in their list of "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s" in 2017.[3]

"Beautiful Life"
Beautiful Life by Ace of Base single.jpg
Artwork for US release; international release uses different typeface for the song title and includes the band's name
Single by Ace of Base
from the album The Bridge
Released20 October 1995
GenreEuro-NRG
Length3:38
LabelMega
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Ace of Base singles chronology
"Lucky Love"
(1995)
"Beautiful Life"
(1995)
"Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry"
(1996)
Music video
"Beautiful Life" on YouTube
Audio sample

Background and releaseEdit

"I was at the Canary Islands in Spain, and the last evening I just heard the song ‘Beautiful Life’ in my head. I have the ability to hear three different melodies in my head at the same time — it’s very helpful while composing songs. Melody, bass and a flute on a chorus for example. It was melancholic to leave the islands and it was a wonderful evening, with the mood and sunset. It was a beautiful life!"

—Jonas Berggren talking to Idolator about how the song was made.[4]

The song was written on 1 January 1994 by band member Jonas Berggren while he was in the Canary Islands. At the time, "The Sign" had reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, which inspired him to write the song. On a late flight home he heard some chords, and started humming, and there the song was made. He had to record it swiftly so he wouldn't forget it. Berggren incorporated gospel elements into the song and the roof-raising gospel singing toward the end was made by a four-piece female group that Denniz Pop had. They tracked those vocals many times over for maximum soulful impact.[5]

In a 2018 interview, Ulf Ekberg told that Michael Jackson, after asking to meet the band when they performed "Beautiful Life" at World Music Awards in Monaco, told them that he thought that it was the best song that he had heard in so many years.[6]

Critical receptionEdit

J.D. Considine from The Baltimore Sun described "Beautiful Life" as "technotinged", adding that it "tempers its impetuous pulse and seemingly happy message with a memorably sad melody."[7] Larry Flick from Billboard deemed it a "jaunty, incredibly catchy li'l ditty that indulges in Euro-NRG dance rhythms while continuing to mine the Abba-esque pop melodies". He stated that "even the act's detractors will find it impossible to resist the sugar-coated confection, with shoulder-shaking percussion and sing-along chorus."[8] Steve Baltin from Cash Box wrote that "for this track, the quartet has jumped into this decade with a rocking dance beat that embodies the group's European heritage."[9] The Daily Vault's Michael R. Smith declared it as a "high-octane techno gem".[10] Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report commented, "Those asking the musical question—can Ace Of Base repeat? The answer is Yes! Yes! Yes!"[11] Pan-European magazine Music & Media called the song a "hyper-kinetic rhythm topped off by a killer hook that's part of your system before you realise it."[12] A reviewer from Music Week rated it three out of five, noting the band's "switch from light reggae to pure Europop" and describing it as "uplifting but unremarkable."[13] Neil Strauss from The New York Times said it is "pure treacly pleasure, with bubbling keyboards and a fast, chirpy rhythm that will inspire most listeners to forget that the 70's ever ended and accept the chorus -- "It's a beautiful life"—for one night of disco-era hedonism."[14] Bob Waliszewski of Plugged In viewed it as "a joyful admonition to hang tough when times get hard."[15] J.D. Considine for Spin magazine noted in a writeup about The Bridge that "the real genius of Ace of Base lies not with perky singing... but with the ability to make melancholy sound so damned appealing." The evaluation continues to narrow in scope as he continues to say "even the cheerfully titled 'Beautiful life' dampens its club-savvy stomp with a heartbreaking minor key chorus."[16] People Magazine wrote that it "offers a blast of jumpy techno".[17] Chuck Campbell from Scripps Howard News Service said that it is "contagious" and "a high-energy dance song that rings with unbridled optimism (and eschews the reggae cadence of the group's previous American hits)." He added that "the Berggren sisters sing in ABBA-esque exclamation points on the song."[18]

Chart performanceEdit

"Beautiful Life" was very successful worldwide, reaching number-one on the RPM Dance Chart in Canada and the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play in the United States. In Europe, it managed to climb into the Top 10 in Denmark, Finland, France and Hungary, as well as on the Eurochart Hot 100 and MTV's European Top 20, where it hit number 9 and 8. Additionally, the single was a Top 20 hit in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and the United Kingdom. In the latter, it peaked at number 15 in its second week at the UK Singles Chart, on January 28, 1996.[19] Outside Europe, "Beautiful Life" also reached number 3 on the RPM Singles Chart in Canada, number 11 in Australia, number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on in the Cash Box Pop Singles Chart in the US. It earned a gold record in Australia, with a sale of 35,000 singles.

Music videoEdit

The music video for the song was directed by British director Richard Heslop, who would go on to direct the band's later video for "Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry". The video was shot on YFO Studios in Gothenburg in October 1995.[20] The music video included computer-generated bubbles which whisked the band from place to place. According to music channel VH1 in the United States, the band's record label, Arista Records, insisted the bubbles be removed from the video, leading to a somewhat strange-looking U.S. video, with the band members looking at (and reacting to) bubbles that were no longer there. In Europe, both versions of the video were released. In addition to the two alternate videos, remix videos were also created, and VH1 released a Pop-Up Video version of the video in 1998. "Beautiful Life" was uploaded to YouTube in January 2015. By September 2020, the video had more than 71,9 million views.[21]

Track listingsEdit

PersonnelEdit

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label
United States 20 October 1995 Arista
Europe 20 November 1995 Mega, PolyGram
United Kingdom 15 January 1996 London

ChartsEdit

Cover versionsEdit

Indie band Jukebox The Ghost recorded a cover of the song for Engine Room Recordings' compilation album Guilt by Association Vol. 2, which was released in November 2008.[57]

In 2015, the American dance-pop trio Punch !nc recorded a reimagined version of the song, titled "Heaven (Beautiful Life)." This version has reached number six on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.[58]

Russian metal cover project Even Blurry Videos released their version of the song on YouTube in November 2019.

Appearances in other mediaEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ace of Base's success fuels Swedish confidence". Billboard. 28 October 1995. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  2. ^ Billboard – Google Boeken. Nielsen Business Media. 16 December 1995. Retrieved 15 January 2012 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (11 March 2017). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  4. ^ "The 50 Best Pop Singles Of 1994 (Featuring New Interviews With Ace Of Base, TLC, Lisa Loeb, Real McCoy & Haddaway)". idolator.com. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Ace of Base Founder Discusses 'New' Album, Shares the Stories Behind the Band's 5 Biggest Hits". billboard.com. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  6. ^ "When Ace of Base rode the wheel of fortune". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  7. ^ "'Bridge' puts Ace of Base on the path to new respect Music review: With "The Bridge," the Swedish band shows it goes far deeper than the catchy lyrics that made its reputation". The Baltimore Sun. 14 November 1995. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  8. ^ Flick, Larry (28 October 1995). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 88. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  9. ^ Baltin, Steve (9 December 1995). "Pop Singles: Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. p. 7. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Ace of Base - The Bridge". The Daily Vault. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  11. ^ Sholin, Dave (13 October 1995). "Gavin Picks > Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. No. 2075. p. 78. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  12. ^ "New Releases: Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. 4 November 1995. p. 12. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Reviews: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 6 January 1996. p. 16. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  14. ^ Strauss, Neil (1996). "POP MUSIC;New Releases". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  15. ^ Waliszewski, Bob. "The Bridge – Plugged In Online Album Reviews". Plugged In. Focus on the Family. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  16. ^ J.D. Considine (February 1996), "Ace of Base – The Bridge", Spin magazine
  17. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: The Bridge". People. 4 December 1995. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  18. ^ Campbell, Chuck (28 November 1995). "NEW RELEASES: ACE OF BASE, THE AMPS, OZZY OSBOURNE". Scripps Howard News Service. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 28 January 1996 - 03 February 1996". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  20. ^ Ace of Base gallery
  21. ^ "Ace of Base - Beautiful Life (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  23. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  24. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  25. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  26. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2872." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2846." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 2866." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 5. 3 February 1996. p. 13. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 5. 3 February 1996. p. 11. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  31. ^ "Ace of Base: Beautiful Life" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  32. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  33. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  34. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 8. 24 February 1996. p. 18. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (13.01.1996 – 19.01.1996)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 13 January 1996. p. 38. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  36. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Beautiful Life". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  37. ^ http://www.charts-surfer.de/musiksuche.php
  38. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Ace of Base" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  39. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  40. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  41. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  42. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  43. ^ "Ace of Base – Beautiful Life". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  44. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  45. ^ https://fatherandy2.proboards.com/board/6/airplay-chart-archive
  46. ^ "Ace Of Base Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  47. ^ a b c Allmusic. Ace of Base | Billboard Singles.
  48. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Pop Singles" (PDF). Cash Box (16 December 1995). Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  49. ^ a b "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996". Australian Record Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015 – via Imgur.
  50. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1996" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  51. ^ "Rapports annuels 1996" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  52. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  53. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  54. ^ "RPM Year End Dance Top 50". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  55. ^ "1996 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 51/52. 21 December 1996. p. 12. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  56. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1996". Billboardtop100of.com. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  57. ^ Matthew Solarski (19 November 2008). "My Brightest Diamond, Frightened Rabbit Do Covers". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  58. ^ Chart history for Punch !nc Archived 2016-04-27 at the Wayback Machine from Billboard
  59. ^ Nintendo Land: The Eye of the Kong – PART 7 – Game Grumps. Game Grumps. 2012. Event occurs at 12:13.

External linksEdit