Magnus Carlsson

Re: Collection 93-08

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Previously one quarter of chart-toppers Alcazar and former frontman of dans band Barbados, Magnus Carlsson has been an ever-present on the Swedish schlager pop scene since the early '90s. Released to celebrate his prolific 15-year career, Re:Collection 93-08 cherrypicks 40 of the most popular tracks from both his former outfit's back catalog and his equally successful solo career. Having recorded 13 studio albums altogether, it's no surprise that it's Barbados that dominates the two-CD track list, with 19 songs included from the band who were one of the last acts from the traditional dans band musik genre to make any impact on the charts. The breezy acoustic pop of Melodifestivalen runner-up entries "Se Mig" and "Allt Som Jag Ser" are impossible to dislike, despite their corny final key changes, but the karaoke cover versions of Elvis Presley's "Always on My Mind" and Tight Fit's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and the hopelessly dated "I Morkret Mar Med Dig" and "Mariann Fran Tylosand" recall the kind of amateurish soundtrack you'd find at a local beer festival. Luckily, since leaving the band in 2002, his material hasn't aged too badly. "This Is the World We Live In," an inspired mash-up of Genesis' "Land of Confusion" and Diana Ross' "Upside Down," Swedish number ones "Not a Sinner, Nor a Saint" and "Alcastar," and the Billy Joel-sampling "Start the Fire" all brilliantly showcase Alcazar's infectious blend of glittery disco, high camp, and bubblegum pop. While the impossibly upbeat Scissor Sisters-esque "Waves of Love," the falsetto-voiced, '80s synth-led "Live Forever," and sole new track, the anthemic, Jackson 5-borrowing "Walking in My Shoes," prove he's just as adept at flamboyant Euro-pop when going it alone, even though predictable renditions of the Village People's "YMCA" and Donna Summer's "On the Radio" show he hasn't quite put his carnival band days behind him just yet. The earlier output on Re:Collection 93-08 may test the patience of even his most ardent admirers, but skip past the pre-2000 stuff and you'll find a pretty essential greatest-hits package for any self-respecting schlager pop fan.

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