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Red Cell (Sweden) – All that She wants (sample track from Covered in Red, an EP of Swedish covers)

Red Cell has paid us a visit three times this year but only one of the songs we featured, ‘Om’ appears on this EP, released on 17th November with the smart title ‘Covered in Red’.

The reason is that this is an EP of covers, and ‘Om’, a classic hit for Niklas Strömstedt, was one of them.

I noted previously that it is difficult to compare originals and covers when you don’t know the original very well. Collectively they come, from Niklas Strömstedt, Tommy Körberg, Eva Dahlgren, Broder Daniel and Ace of Base.

Just about everyone in the UK knows Ace of Base of course so I’ll focus in on ‘All that she wants’, possibly their best known song and the first one to win them international acclaim. To the best of my knowledge Red Cell has never tackled a reggae song before.

It is apt that we should examine a song about undisguised promiscuity as we’ve had a couple of examples of that in other songs recently.

I was particularly intrigued as to how Red Cell would tackle the drum beat that caused Ace of Base such angst in getting it just right, with the help of celebrated producer Denniz Pop.

Well it’s still there but it takes a background seat to an overwhelming, portentous dark synth melody with occasional flashes of lighter notes that might be tiny lightning bolts. The (minor) key is the same one as far as I can tell.

The original might be someone, a neighbour perhaps, giving an interview to an investigative journalist from a tabloid newspaper about this woman of loose morals but there’s a much darker underbelly to Red Cell’s interpretation right from the get-go and its reggae-ness is eaten alive by the synthesisers.

“She’s going to get you” might mean something entirely different and much more sinister in this gloomy version and when Stefan Aronsson and Jimmy Skeppstedt sing together it might be two of her many previous acquaintances discussing how she used them, over a litre or two of Omnipollo Pils.

What I’m saying is that they managed to imprint indelibly their own spin on it, just as I knew they would.

I said I wouldn’t comment on the other songs but I have to say that Tommy Körberg’s ‘Stad i ljus’ (‘City in Lights’) – a power ballad – is given a terrific makeover with Jimmy Skeppstedt taking centre stage. How did Andrea Bocelli get on board? The Royal Swedish Opera calls, Jimmy.

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