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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Arkeology: Day Four

Day Four:

Prayer For The Weekend (2007)

Released just before the band represented Sweden in 2007's Eurovision Song Contest, this was the album that introduced the Ark to an international audience. It was also the first release for the band as an official six-piece (welcoming keyboardist Jens Andersson) and their first with a new record label. Of all the albums, Prayer can be described best as a distillation of all of their earlier sounds up to this point. It's the most varied musically, and also the poppiest and produced. It also has the distinction of being the Ark album with the most weeks spent at number one (4 straight weeks).

Debuted at #1
24 weeks in the top 60

Prayer For The Weekend by theark

1. Prayer For The Weekend
Single #3
Chart Peak: 15
Weeks on Chart: 9
Kicking off the band's most scattered release was this propulsive, percussion-fueled single. It was a bit of a departure in sound and is probably one of the more forgettable singles they've released. Still heads and shoulders above most stuff (including their more recent material), but the melody doesn't quite get there for me. 9/10
2. The Worrying Kind
Single #2
Chart Peak: 1
Weeks on Chart: 20
Their Melodifestivalen and Eurovision entry, and the best charting single of their career. It's pure and utter bubblegum glam. But unlike most Eurovision fodder, Ola's psycho-analytical lyrics offer this radio track the necessary pathos that elevates it to a completely different level. Good party track, too. 10/10
3. Absolutely No Decorum
Single #1
Chart Peak: 26
Weeks on Chart: 7
Probably my favorite track from the album. This is pure, classic Ark. It perfectly mixes the sounds of their last two albums to create a bombastic stadium anthem. And with lyrics about "bug free zone(s)" and a-bombs in hearts, it's another huge rallying cry for the Ark troops. Unfortunately, this was more of a buzz single than anything, without an accompanying video or much of an official release. That video would've been epic, too. 10/10
4. Little Dysfunk You
Single #4
Chart Peak: 58
Weeks on Chart: 1
A soaring 80's new wave pastiche with foreboding, Depeche Mode-type verses and an explosive, melodic chorus. This one hit me on first listen and is still one of my highlights. The lyrics are delightfully strange, at times winking, smutty and celebratory. 10/10
5. New Pollution
A rousing glam rocker paying tribute to "amazing leotards" and hairspray and all that good stuff. Paying tribute to the Ark, in other words. There's also a bit of melody and lyric borrowed from The Who's Tommy, an album the band previously paid tribute to in the Father Of A Son video and an obvious influence in their work. 10/10
6. Thorazine Corazon One of the few Ark songs I just don't get. It's got a weird electro-bossa-nova vibe to it that is quite different than any of the band's other work. Add to that a sleepy, forgettable melody and this is possibly my least-favorite album track up to this point. 7/10
7. I Pathologize
An old school 70's glam rocker. It's definitely filler, but with its glittery hook and fun lyrics, it's a welcome addition to the album. 9/10
8. Death To The Martyrs
One of the best, most cutting album tracks the band's recorded. A glamrock story-song about a self-proclaimed martyr, Ola takes the opportunity to tear the guy down verse by verse, leading into a searing singalong chorus, sung by a boy's choir, no less. It's brilliantly funny and sweeping in its drama. And if you've ever wanted to hear little kids sing "you sorry ass," this is the song for you. 10/10
9. All I Want Is You
A frantic piano-driven glam rock track that's reminiscent of some of Abba's first recordings. It's dated on purpose, but doesn't work nearly as well as songs like The Worrying Kind. 8/10
10. Gimme Love To Give
A handclap, gospel stomper. It's a very interesting sound for the band, especially given Ola's history with the church. It's also another example of how diverse and scatter-brained this album is. 9/10
11. Uriel
An old Ark song, recorded finally for this album. It hearkens back to the soft ballads of their first album. The provocative lyrics paint a very interesting picture, but it's not one of my favorite of the band's ballads. 8/10
ALBUM: 9.1


Any Operator Will Do (B-side to Little Dysfunk You)
Like The Worrying Kind, this is a direct nod back to the glam era of years past. As Ark songs go, it's a relatively forgettable piece of fluff. Pleasant, but unnecessary. And I always cringe a bit at those chorus lyrics. 7/10

Any Operator Will Do by theark

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