All That She Wants

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"All That She Wants"
All That She Wants (Ace of Base single - cover art).jpg
Standard European cover (Scandinavian CD single pictured)
Single by Ace of Base
from the album Happy Nation and The Sign
B-side"Fashion Party"
Released1992
Format
Recorded
  • August 1992[1]
  • SweMix Studios
  • Stockholm, Sweden
Genre
Length3:30
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Ace of Base singles chronology
"Wheel of Fortune"
(1992)
"All That She Wants"
(1992)
"Happy Nation"
(1993)
Music video
"All That She Wants" on YouTube

"All That She Wants" is a song by Swedish group Ace of Base. It was released in 1992 as the second single from their first studio album, Happy Nation and in the following year, it was released as the first single from the 1993 album The Sign in North America. Produced by Denniz Pop, Jonas Berggren, and Ulf Ekberg, the song was inspired by the Kayo song "Another Mother".

"All That She Wants" is a reggae-pop song that describes a sexually promiscuous woman, with the word "baby" being synonymous with "boyfriend".[4][3] The song was first recorded in 1991, but went through many renditions before it was officially released.

The song was a commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in many countries, including Denmark, Germany, the UK and Australia. The single was certified platinum in the United States, where it peaked at number two, behind Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)". The single sold over 1 million copies in 1993 in the United States alone, and became one of the best-selling singles of that year.[5] On 7 July 2014, the single was re-released with new remixes as a digital EP.[6]

Background[edit]

Ace of Base was influenced by Kayo's "Another Mother" to create "All That She Wants".

While the group's predecessor single, "Wheel of Fortune", was a modest success, "All That She Wants", led Ace of Base to take off internationally. After hearing Swedish top 20 hit "Another Mother" by Kayo, the band decided that this was exactly the sound they wanted to create.[7] In 1991, the group produced a demo version of "All That She Wants", titled "Mr. Ace", which featured different lyrics, Linn on lead vocals, and rap vocals performed by both Jonas and Ulf.[8] The song was initially in major key, but was changed to minor upon Linn Berggren's insistence.[9] Jenny explained that changing the key to minor allowed the song to portray a greater level of sadness and increased its relatability. Some of the other material on the Happy Nation album stemmed from "All That She Wants", leading the album to have a darker sound.[10]

Jonas and Ulf contacted the producer of "Another Mother", Denniz PoP, and sent him a demo tape featuring the song. Though Denniz was initially unimpressed with the song, the tape got stuck in the cassette tape player in his car. Because of this, he was forced to listen to it over and over again, which helped him decide to help produce the track. Denniz introduced many changes to the song. Denniz was not fond of the rap vocals on the original demo, and these were subsequently replaced with short spoken word sections. A new second verse was also added. Though vocals were recorded by all four members for this version, Jenny's vocals were eventually cut on the final release.[1]

The final version of the song evolved into a dark fusion of dub-reggae with pop which became the band's trademark sound. The song is performed in the key of C minor with a tempo of 94 beats per minute in common time. The vocals span from G3 to C5.[11] Ekberg described the song as being about "a typical girl in Sweden or Norway or Germany" who "meets a lot of guys".[12] Jenny noted that it was about "a woman who is always leaving and that is because the woman is not whole in herself."[10]

Denniz would go on to co-produce all officially released versions of the song that were available at the time, notably a more uptempo version of the song, dubbed the "Madness Version". This version features entirely different vocals and more spoken-word sections.[13] Ace of Base would later collaborate with Denniz Pop on "The Sign" and multiple tracks on the band's sophomore release, The Bridge.

Following its release in October 1992, the song quickly climbed to number one on the Danish chart while "Wheel of Fortune" was still sitting at number two. Keen to rush out an album for the Christmas market, Mega Records pressed the band for an album and it was hastily recorded, mixed, and released within a few weeks.

In 2007, the song was re-recorded by the band as a three-piece with new lyrics in a first-person perspective, but was never officially released. This re-recording was leaked online in June 2016 in a collaboration version of the song that features new Ace of Base vocals alongside Britney Spears's vocals from her own 2007 demo version.[14]

In October 2018, "All That She Wants" passed 100.000.000 streams on music streaming service Spotify.[15] And on YouTube the music video of the song has been viewed almost 54 million times (October 2018).

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard wrote about the song: "Swedish quartet wears its Abba influences proudly on this shuffling, reggae-splashed ditty."[16]

Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report commented on the song: "The last time a new act from Sweden came on this strong it was Roxette with "The Look." Since we got hold of the import several months ago, the word about this release has spread. Not every song that reaches #1 in the U.K. like this one did succeeds in America, but they all would if they were this hot. Can't imagine it would take more than one listen to be convinced."[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

"All That She Wants" reached the number-one position in thirteen countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom. The song peaked at top three positions in most other places where it was released. It was released as the band's first single from The Sign in the United States, where it peaked at number two and was certified platinum. The song was a very successful radio hit in the United States, sustaining the number one position on the US Billboard Top 40 Mainstream[18] chart for nine consecutive weeks.

"All That She Wants" was listed at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts and at number 70 on the 1990s decade-end charts. In Germany, the song was the best-selling single of 1993.[19]

According to Mega Records, the single sold 3.7 million copies worldwide as of May 1998.[20]

Music video[edit]

A music video directed by Matt Broadley was produced in November 1992[21] to promote the single. The video had a very low budget, and was filmed in Copenhagen in one day with only two takes. The music video was meant to serve as an explanation for the song. It depicts the band members performing in a cramped apartment, interlaced with shots of a woman getting ready to go out. She goes to a bar where she meets a man. They talk and then she takes him home to her. The woman who appears in the music video is the Danish actress and singer-songwriter Christiane Bjørg Nielsen. The video is recorded in her apartment and has a sepia tone. Though Jenny has no vocals in the song, she lip syncs the vocals during the chorus.

Accolades[edit]

Year Publisher Country Accolade Rank
1995 Life United States "The Best Recordings of the 90's"[22] *
2011 MTV Dance United Kingdom "The 100 Biggest 90's Dance Anthems of All Time"[23] 56
2013 Vibe United States "Before EDM: 30 Dance Tracks from the '90s That Changed the Game"[24] 6
2017 BuzzFeed United States "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s"[25] 18
2018 Time Out United Kingdom "The 50 Best Pop Songs"[26] 36
2018 Time Out United Kingdom "50 Best '90s Songs"[27] 48

(*) indicates the list is unordered.

Track listings[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Vocals by Linn Berggren, Jonas Berggren and Ulf Ekberg
  • Written by Jonas Berggren and Ulf Ekberg
  • Produced by Denniz Pop, Jonas Berggren and Ulf Ekberg
  • Recorded at Swemix Studios, Stockholm

Charts and sales[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Sweden 1 November 1992 Mega
United Kingdom 6 March 1993 London
United States 18 September 1993 Arista

Cover versions[edit]

An Italian band Age of Bass covered the song in 1993. Its close resemblance to the original Ace of Base version and the original band's name caused Mega Records alongside Polygram to prompt the rendition's record label Discomagic Italy into pulling the release from commercial markets. The rendition would later appear in a compilation release by Edel Records. In the same year, ZYX Music released a rendition performed by a German band called Box of Laces.[81]

Swedish band Grass Show covered the song on their 1997 debut album Something Smells Good In Stinkville.[82] American popstar Britney Spears recorded a song titled "Remembrance of Who I Am" which lifted the chorus from "All That She Wants" for her 2007 album Blackout but it failed to make the final cut for the album. The demo leaked onto the internet in January 2008.[83]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]