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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Arkeology: Day Two

Day Two:

In Lust We Trust (2002)

This was the band's "us" album, a selection of songs that tackled social issues with a wider, at times political, perspective than their debut. Lyrically, it's the band's strongest release and includes their best ever run of singles. The overall sound is bigger and rockier, and more consistent than the first album. It was also the release that cemented the group as one of Sweden's biggest bands, and an undisputed masterpiece of an album.

Debuted at #1
21 weeks in the top 60

In Lust We Trust by theark

1. Beauty Is The Beast
A straight-up rocker about the "idea of ideal beauty" and the social problems it creates. It's the first case of many on the album where Ola spotlights social issues in a clever way. The key to this album's success, though, is that it never lets the message get in the way of a big chorus. 10/10
2. Father Of A Son
Single #2
Chart Peak: 5
Weeks on Chart: 8

This is actually the first song I ever heard by the band, and what an introduction it was. This is one of the Ark's very best singles -- a blistering, funny, and ultimately poignant glam-fueled hissy fit against those who would outlaw gay adoption. It was their most bombastic moment up to this point and another classic rallying cry. Flawless. 10/10
3. Tell Me This Night Is Over
Single #3
Chart Peak: 28
Weeks on Chart: 9

A heartbreaking hymn on loneliness and its psychological effects. Ola's lyrics, as ever, are incredibly sharp and provocative (can you believe English is not this guy's first language?), and the chorus is one of the band's best. It also features my all-time favorite use of a gospel choir towards the end. Massive. 10/10
4. Calleth You, Cometh I
Single #1
Chart Peak: 2
Weeks on Chart: 18

In recent months, I think this has become my favorite Ark song. It's tough, because it's competing with a few others for the honor, but to me this encapsulates everything I love about the band. It's dramatic, ebullient, and larger than life. Those last few minutes is what I'd imagine an ascent to heaven would sound like. You can just lose yourself in the music. Honestly, it's gotten the best of me several times when I've had the pleasure of seeing it performed live. It still gives me chills. It's also one of the band's most successful singles, voted among the best of the millennium by the Swedish public. 10/10
5. A Virgin Like You
They slow things down a little bit here, with a ballad about the loss of innocence and the yearning to get it back. The growth in production and song craft from the first album to this one is immediately apparent here, as the tone of the track is spot-on. 10/10
6. Interlude
A brief instrumental, notable for the fact that, when played backward, there are apparently whispered voices (most likely extolling the meaning of life, right?). Judge for yourself. They're hard to hear.
7. Tired Of Being An Object?
We're in Rocky Horror territory now, with a fun, smutty rocker. It's as campy as the album gets, and a welcome dose of fun amongst all the serious themes. It's a great melody, but the lyrics, which turn common conceptions about prostitution and sex work on their head, are pure Ola. 10/10
8. Disease
Single #4
Chart Peak: n/a
Weeks on Chart: n/a

A gentle, electronic-influenced track that seems to be about AIDs, though Ola's stated that it's not really that specific. It's one of the most touching and unusual moments on the album. The lyrics really paint an interesting picture, at turns romantic and pessimistic. 10/10
9. Vendelay
A curio in the Ark catalog, though a wonderful one. This middle-eastern sounding track is like nothing else on the album, and could have been a disaster. But the sitar-laced melody is addictive, as are the strange, romantic (?) lyrics. 10/10
10. 2000 Light Years Of Darkness
An eight-minute epic that acts as a sort of compliment to Tell Me This Night Is Over. Both deal with loneliness and isolation, though in this track the narrator seems to revel in it, at least initially. The song has a 70's rock feel to it, with some of the most rousing instrumentation on the album. 10/10
11. The Most Radical Thing To Do
A manifesto if there ever was one. The album ends in anthemic fashion, with a call to love the one you love, end of. Punky, punchy verses collide with an enormous, melodic chorus in a truly jaw-dropping conclusion to a gutsy, extremely alive album. 10/10
ALBUM: 10/10


Power To Change (B-side to Calleth You, Cometh I)
This strummy rocker is an ode to the comedown after the dazzling rock heights of their stadium-filling album tracks. Lyrically, it's one of the most interesting song in their catalog. The shout-along chorus is incredibly cathartic. 10/10

Power To Change by theark

The Glad Yeah (b-side to Father Of A Son)
The song title inspired another young Swedish glam band that became a sort of tribute act to the Ark. The song itself is similar in sound to Power To Change, starting out slow and building to something quite cathartic. Ola pulls a Dr. Frank-n-Furter two thirds of the way through with a really fun vocal performance. 9/10

The Glad Yeah by theark

Opera (b-side to Disease)
Completely over-the-top and theatrical, this was perhaps too lightweight for the album, but functions brilliantly as a b-side. One of their best, actually. This is pure Ark, and nobody can do it better. Another example of the band at their creative peak. 10/10

Opera by theark

Kolla Kolla (Part of the National SÃ¥nger compilation)
Recorded as a tribute to the prog band Nationalteatern, the Ark imbue this Swedish track with enough energy to fuel a hundred house parties. To English-speaking listeners, it's probably one of the band's strangest recordings, but it's also one of their best. There is no way you can sit still to this one. 10/10

Kolla Kolla by theark

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Anonymous ArkArmy said...

My favorite songs on this album are definitely:

Calleth You, Cometh I,
Father of a Son
The Most Radical Thing To Do.

Such powerful anthems.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous ArkArmy said...

Kolla Kolla was also briefly featured in the movie Shortbus. Way too briefly.

It's such a fun song.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, thank you for your hard work on this particular post. I always check your blog (been checking it for years actually). Really enjoy what you do and respect your passion for music. Please keep it up and know that we are appreciative of what you do as readers.

~ AlienHits blogfan

6:48 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I didn't care much for Shortbus, but watched it exclusively because of the Ark and John Cameron Mitchell.

And Anon... THANK YOU! Glad to hear you're enjoying my ramblings.

11:15 PM  

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