Blue Swede

Hooked on a Feeling

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AllMusic Review by

The significance of their rip of Jonathan King's arrangement of the B.J. Thomas hit is that -- no, it isn't as sublime as the original, but for a novelty hit, it works. Should they have quit after this? Absolutely. Did they? No. This album is definitely bizarre, more so than the follow-up Out of the Blue, for this made-in-Sweden record shows what happens when someone other than David Bowie is copping the riffs. Lead singer Bjorn Skifs collaborates with producer Bengt Palmers (he changed his name to Ben Palmers for the next disc) on a strange attempt at the Philly sound. "Gotta Have Your Love" doesn't work, but what is intriguing is "Lonely Sunday Afternoon," a strange blend of Sonny Bono meets Lee Hazelwood on the other side of the world. It is so totally different from the other originals on side one that the band surprises with sparks of creativity -- chameleon moves that give a hint they could have been capable of more. The group also provides evidence why Abba and Bowie became so popular while Blue Swede faded out of the picture rather quickly. They were trying too hard to be an American group. The Savage Rose and Brainbox were at least being themselves, Europeans staking their claim to a piece of the rock pie. Side two is all covers: They take on Jose Feliciano; Kenny Rogers & the First Edition by way of Mac Davis; Lee Dorsey by way of Allan Toussaint; Dionne Warwick; and, of course, their other Top Ten, the dreadful re-working of the Addrisi Brothers' "Never My Love." The Association must have cringed, or laughed hardily, but had this group hired a consultant to give them a hip wardrobe and sense of musical style, they could have done some real chart damage. Had they gone after "I Can Feel You" by the Addrisi Brothers and maybe "Sunday Morning" by Lou Reed, adding a hip and serious face, they would have been as cherished a memory as "Venus" by the Shocking Blue is. Instead, they ripped Reed's "Rock & Roll" to shreds on the next album, and tinker with Burt Bacharach and Hal David so poorly here it is beyond travesty. This is a parody record, but the joke's on Blue Swede because they bastardize important music and tanked their thankfully brief career in the process. Mrs. Miller was fun for ten minutes, and at least Nancy Sinatra and Sonny Bono had some sense of style. The big problem with the album Hooked on a Feeling is that they didn't have Mrs. Miller dueting on the cover of the First Edition's "Something's Burning." Bjorn Skifs might be able to sing on key more accurately than Kenny Rogers, but he isn't anywhere near as entertaining. "Working in a Coal Mine" actually sounds like Skifs is emulating Kenny Rogers, and new wave band Someone & the Somebodies did it much better on their Bops on the Head EP, leaving the listener asking the 64,000 dollar question, "What's the point?" Still, "Hooked on a Feeling" is classic camp, so they get to be a rock & roll footnote.

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