Eleven and a half years. Eleven and a half long years. This is the period of time that has elapsed since The Cardigans released their most recent album, 2005’s excellent Super Extra Gravity. Another unequivocal triumph within a discography defined by standout LPs including Emmerdale (1994), Life (1995), First Band on the Moon (1996), Gran Turismo (1998), and Long Gone Before Daylight (2003), the Swedish band’s sixth album serves as further testament to their evolution as purveyors of pop music that has always been impossible to pigeonhole. “We never make an effort to be consistent,” lead vocalist and songwriter Nina Persson admits in the opening moments of the short behind-the-scenes film that accompanied the album’s original release. “I have the feeling we could do almost anything and it will always end up sounding like The Cardigans.”
Included in the limited edition CD/DVD version of Super Extra Gravity that hit stores back in October 2005, the documentary is an intimate and honest examination of the collaborative process between Persson and her bandmates Peter Svensson (guitar), Magnus Sveningsson (bass), Bengt Lagerberg (drums/percussion), and Lars-Olof Johansson (keyboards/piano), as well as their long-time producer Tore Johansson.
Recorded in the group’s native Swedish dialect with English subtitles, the extensive interview and in-studio footage reveals a band passionately and, at times, painstakingly dedicated to their craft, as they successfully balance confidence with humility and laser-sharp focus with an endearing playfulness. “I feel a lot of pressure,” an introspective and modest Persson reflects. “Lyrics are so very important to me, and I listen to a lot of other artists’ lyrics. My standards are very high. But sometimes I really feel that everything I write is crap.” The film’s latter half includes segments devoted to each of the five band members’ discussion of their respective instruments and the equipment they used in the making of Super Extra Gravity.
As I lamented in my recent 20th anniversary tribute to First Band on the Moon, far too many so-called music lovers immediately and myopically associate The Cardigans with their most familiar single, 1996’s (admittedly) unforgettable “Lovefool.” But their biggest hit to date only slightly scratches the surface of their broader musical legacy and their stunning repertoire of songs, which includes Super Extra Gravity highlights “Don’t Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds),” “Godspell,” “Good Morning Joan,” “I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer,” and “In the Round.”
“Sometimes I get goosebumps listening to our music,” an understandably sentimental Lagerberg explains in the film. “To me, it’s true success when what you’ve created with others makes you happy. It’s an extremely cool feeling.” Though Lagerberg and his mates have toured together—albeit sporadically—in recent years, hopefully it’s only a matter of time until they reconvene in the studio to create more magic and induce goosebumps worldwide.
Watch the Super Extra Gravity documentary, stream the album, and revisit its accompanying music videos below.