“Megalomania” (2011) by Aqua

Aqua will forever be remembered for their albums Aquarium and Aquarius. I’m the first person to admit that I genuinely enjoy their first two records. Who could forget “Barbie Girl”? “Lollipop (Candyman)”? And what about “Doctor Jones”, “Heat Of The Night”, “Cartoon Heroes”, “Roses Are Red”… the list goes on and on. But despite the abundance of subtle sexual innuendo, Aquarium was as much an album for kids as for adults, perhaps even more. Their songs were about fairytales and action heroes. They were mentioned in the same breath as other 90s “Bubblegum dance” groups seemingly aimed at children – Vengaboys, S-Club 7, Eiffel 65. So what happened?

Let me introduce you to one of the singles, “Like A Robot”. If you recall Aqua’s past work, you will remember that they would never, ever be explicitly sexual – but how about this line: “Even after 1, 2, 3 tequila shots you still leave me high and dry, thanks a lot … So why do you still fuck me like a robot?” I can just picture the collective jaw of mothers around the world dropping when they buy their kid an album that they assumed was harmless.

Strangely, as they are usually considered one of the classic groups of the genre, Aqua have abandoned the idea of “Eurodance” and are now, simply, dance. No longer are they the cutesy Danish pop group with spiky hair and bright clothes. Just one look at Lene’s new outfit on the cover would hint towards this. No more songs about fairy tales, siestas or Indiana Jones – Megalomania is about sex, fame and nightclubs. Is this a bad thing? As a longtime fan of Aqua and condemner of contemporary pop, I’d have to say yes. They were once a group suitable for everyone – pure, unadulterated, bubblegum pop music. They used to be able to do subtle sexual innuendo, which you’d listen to as a kid only to think “that’s what that means?” fifteen years later. Now they’re playing dry, bland – and worst of all, generic – club music.

I have to admit, though, it’s not all bad. Lene’s voice has only improved with the ten years since we last heard it on a record. Additionally, the bass-heavy songs are definitely suited for club play, which I’d assume is exactly what they were going for. I guess it’s alright, especially if I hadn’t heard an Aqua album before – but I have, and because of that, it’s just disappointing.

Megalomania is going to polarize both Aqua fans and pop critics. In closing, I have one last comment, which also applies for every album ever released by everyone: MORE RENÉ DIF.



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