’90s Song of the Week: Ace of Base’s “The Sign”

No one’s gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong. –Jonas Berggren, “The Sign”

I wonder how the guys felt about being left of the album cover.

I wonder how the guys felt about being left of the album cover.

Everyone knows “The Sign”. It was the biggest single off Ace of Base’s debut album Happy Nation. It was released in 1992 and when “The Sign” was unleashed on the world in 1993, it became ubiquitous almost overnight.

I distinctly remember dancing to it with my then-“girlfriend” during the 7th/8th grade dance. Romance isn’t the reason I remember this specific episode. I recall swaying with my 8th grade GF while this song blared over probably a two-speaker boombox, but doing so in an exaggerated manner. I think I thought it would hilarious to be so into a song that everyone conceded it was horribly cheesy. And that was before I understood irony and started my illustrious career in doing things specifically because they would be considered ridiculous. I guess I was always this way, then.

Having never truly listened to any of the lyrics other than “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes” before adulthood, I didn’t know that the song was about personal liberation. The “sign,” I guess was the speaker’s epiphany that she had been wasting her time being miserable and pining for a guy that broke her heart. That’s the narrative portion of the song, anyway. The lesson is hammered out in the lyrics at the top of this page. No one was going to be able to rouse her from her doldrums; she had to do it herself. It’s a great lesson that applies to nearly every facet of life, and is basically the overarching theme in the seminal film Swingers. VEGAS, BABY!

But I don’t really want to write about any of that.

My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Anna Kendrick points out that Rebel Wilson's got a smidge of burrito filling behind her ear. Wilson tells Kendrick she wants to leave it, as it fuels her hatred for her assailant. As Kendrick goes to sit down, she cracks a smile. You rarely see actors break in movies, but I'm so glad they left that take in.

My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Anna Kendrick points out that Rebel Wilson’s got a smidge of burrito filling behind her ear. Wilson tells Kendrick she wants to leave it, as it fuels her hatred for her assailant. As Kendrick goes to sit down, she cracks a smile. You rarely see actors break in movies, but I’m so glad they left that take in. It’s right here, about a minute in.

We finally got around to watching Pitch Perfect last weekend and it’s supplanted all of Madison’s Pokemon movies as her favorite. This is an upset of epic proportions. It’s like the first time I ate at Sushi Bay and it stole the title from Kuru Kuru.

My opinion of Pitch Perfect is less glowing. It’s an update and/or modification of Bring It On, and is probably inferior because it lacks a gratuitous car wash scene. Oh, well. But Madison loves music, so Lynnette thought it would be a good idea for her to watch it with us. You know, since so many of the movies I actually want to watch feature things which are inappropriate for my 6-year old daughter.

This clown.

This clown.

The fallout of this decision is clear. She’s been carrying around a whistle she picked up at the Punahou Carnival. At random times, she plays a single note. It took me a little while to figure out that she had realized she had her own pitch pipe. When I asked her about it, she didn’t answer, but smiled broadly. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s been singing the first line of the song (she tries to fake it through the verses) and the chorus over and over and over. It sounds like this:

I-I got a new life, you would hardly dfjldkfjljdkfejilfjlislkdjflk

ldkjflkasdjjfjfeiowpsfijldiieea

aldifennfeolsiefjlfsiejfsliieqi

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, enough enough.

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign

fklwefjlekjflkwjkluuwoppf

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign.

She’s the best.

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