Ace of Base – The Sign: #794 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Ace of Base - The Sign

Why is Ace of Base’s The Sign on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Can an album be “too pop”? Please refer to the sign that says, “We’re gonna go with nope.”

What does Ace of Base’s The Sign mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I have a very specific memory of Ace of Base and The Sign.

I was a camp counselor at a sleepaway camp for exactly one summer of my life while I was in college. I signed up for it mostly on a whim because I didn’t feel like getting a crappy (crappier?) job on Long Island, New York in between my sophomore and junior years of college.

Probably part of it was that I was starting to feel the independence of living away from home while off at college, and the notion of living in my childhood bedroom felt a little claustrophobic. There are more stories from this time and this era, but let’s focus on Ace of Base.

The kids put on some kind of performance at the camp, Surprise Lake Camp, most of the details of which have been washed away by the sands of time. But I do remember that at least one Ace of Base song was used, probably the title track, “The Sign.” And I specifically recall thinking, “Oh, not this [REDACETD] song again.”

Suffice to say that I wasn’t into Ace of Base around that time. I didn’t dislike them, really, but I was focused on grunge and punk and hip hop and ska and alt rock and funk, with a side of the classic rock I listened to obsessively in high school, and if I was in the mood to slow things down a little I had college rock stuff and bands like R.E.M. and Midnight Oil to rely upon.

Now when I listen to “The Sign,” the song and The Sign the album, I unironically dig it. It has hooks for days, the vocal performances and harmonies are great, and it’s obscenely catchy. It probably helps that I took a solid quarter century off from letting this stuff into my ears after the onslaught we got of it in the 1990s, but now I’m ready to roll with more.

There are three towering smash hits on The Sign: the aforementioned title track, “All That She Wants,” and “Don’t Turn Around.” If I had to choose one favorite, I’ll go with “The Sign.” It’s just endlessly optimistic and happy. As Mr. Cheezle from Grandma’s Boy, might say, “Good things.”

Here’s “The Sign.”

“Don’t” Turn Around”…

And don’t you dare sleep on “All That She Wants.”

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

Some stats & info about Ace of Base – The Sign  

Ace of Base’s The Sign on Spotify