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Beautiful Life Ace of Base Song
Artwork for US release; international release uses different typeface for the song title and includes the band's name
"I was at the Canary Islands in Spain, and the last evening I just heard the song 'Beautiful Life' in my head. I have the ability to hear three different melodies in my head at the same time -- it's very helpful while composing songs. Melody, bass and a flute on a chourus for example. It was melancholic to leave the islands and it was a wonderful evening, with the mood and sunset. It was a beautiful life!"
--Jonas Berggren talking to Idolator about how the song was made.
The song was written on 1 January 1994 by band member Jonas Berggren while he was in the Canary Islands. At the time, "The Sign" had just hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list, which inspired him to write the song. On a late flight home he heard some chords, and started humming, and there the song was made. He had to record it swiftly so he wouldn't forget it. Berggren incorporated gospel elements into the song and the roof-raising gospel singing toward the end was made by a four-piece female group that Denniz Pop had. They tracked those vocals many times over for maximum soulful impact.
The single proved quite successful worldwide, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart in December 1995. It also hit #1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. "Beautiful Life" peaked within top 10 in Canada, Denmark, Finland, France and Hungary.
Music & Media called the song "A hyper-kinetic rhythm topped off by a killer hook that's part of your system before you realise it."
The Gavin Report wrote "Those asking the musical question--can Ace Of Base repeat? The answer is Yes! Yes! Yes! One listen is all that's required to figure this one out, and like the audience, we'll all be turning up our radios whenever it's being played."
J.D. Considine of Spin magazine said in a writeup about The Bridge that "the real genius of Ace of Base lies not with perky singing... but with the ability to make melancholy sound so damned appealing." The evaluation continues to narrow in scope as he continues to say "even the cheerfully titled 'Beautiful life' dampens its club-savvy stomp with a heartbreaking minor key chorus."
Cash Box wrote that "The lead single from the '90's Abba's second album, The Bridge, is already poised to jump into the top 10. continuing the flabbergasting success of "The Sign" and all songs that followed it. For this track, the quartet has jumped into this decade with a rocking dance beat that embodies the group's European heritage. The bottom line: it's another hit for the Swedish sensations."
Neil Strauss from The New York Times commented on the song: ""Beautiful Life" is pure treacly pleasure, with bubbling keyboards and a fast, chirpy rhythm that will inspire most listeners to forget that the 70's ever ended and accept the chorus -- "It's a beautiful life" -- for one night of disco-era hedonism."
The video for the song was directed by Richard Heslop, who would go on to direct the band's later video for "Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry". The video was shot on YFO Studios in Gothenburg in October 1995. The music video included computer-generated bubbles which whisked the band from place to place. According to music channel VH1 in the United States, the band's record label, Arista Records, insisted the bubbles be removed from the video, leading to a somewhat strange-looking U.S. video, with the band members looking at (and reacting to) bubbles that were no longer there. In Europe, both versions of the video were released. In addition to the two alternate videos, remix videos were also created, and VH1 released a Pop-Up Video version of the video in 1998.
In 2015, the American dance-pop trio Punch !nc recorded a reimagined version of the song, titled "Heaven (Beautiful Life)." This version has reached number six on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.
Appearances in other media
This song was included on the Night at the Roxbury (1998) soundtrack and was featured in the advertising campaign for the movie.
The Colombian latin pop singer Sara Tunes produced a new version of the song with a more electronic sound which has a rhythm similar to house music or dubstep, originally included on her second studio album, titled "XOXO".
In the episode "The Eye of the Kong" of the web series Game Grumps, a MIDI version of the song is played as part of a montage.