With a winning combination of high-camp and heaving busoms, the videos of Army of Lovers were staples of MTV Europe back in the early 90s. Tonight they make their comeback in the fourth heat of Melodifestivalen 2013 with ‘Rockin’ The Ride’ – which they’ve described as ‘Gangnam Style on crack’. Based on the terrible voting patterns of the Swedish public so far, I’d put their chances of qualifying somewhere around nil, but nevertheless it will be a joy to have them back, however briefly. In the UK their success was tragically limited to a single #31 hit with Crucified in 1992 (their signature song, it allegedly went to #1 in 29 countries), so if you’re not familiar with their oeuvre, here are five of their finest moments to get you started.
If you thought Madonna’s appropriation of religious iconography took some liberties with taste and decency, you ain’t seen nothing yet. “I’m crucified! Crucifed! Like my saviour!” shrieks a heavenly chorus, while the band camps it up in outrageous style, with singer Jean-Pierre Barda fanning himself melodramatically while reclining in a bathtub and La Camilla mimes lavaciously while dressed as a slutty Little Bo Peep. Pop music doesn’t get much more ridicu-mazing than this.
…at least, it didn’t until The Army upped the ante with this deranged number. Amazingly, this highly-sexed ode to the holy land was a #1 hit in Israel. Drinking from a stinking fountain / Kaballah and jezebels / Dancing ‘Horah’ on the mountain / Party like a bitch from hell. It’s not exactly Oh Mein Papa, to put it mildly…
My Army of Lovers
The Army weren’t all about the high-velocity lunacy though. This understated early hit is almost classy – although some of the national stereotypes portrayed in the video are considerably less so.
Lit de Parade
One of their last significant hits, Lit De Parade employs a mystery guest vocalist to provide one of their best and most infectious choruses, with a typically campy Dracula-inspired video to prevent things from getting too serious.
One of their signature hits along with Crucified, this unsettling number features one of their very best videos, and was later covered by BWO – another Alexander Bard project. The original is best though.