"My Favourite Game" is an alternative rock song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for The Cardigans' 1998 album Gran Turismo. The song is the album's eighth track, and was released as its first single.
Songwriting, recording and production
"My Favourite Game" was written by guitarist Peter Svensson and lead singer Nina Persson during the recording sessions of the band's fourth studio album Gran Turismo between May and July 1998. The song, like the other songs from the album, was recorded in Tore Johansson's newly developed Country Hell recording studio in Skurup, Sweden. Persson started with the chorus, which "married the music so quickly that you couldn't tear them apart". Afterwards she wrote verses to "give the chorus meaning", which enabled her to "cram in a lot of lyrics into the verses" in contrast to other Cardigans songs with less lyrics such as "Erase/Rewind".
Before recording on the song commenced, Svensson presented the song to producer Tore Johansson by playing the track on acoustic guitar. Although the song was originally taking shape as a slow country/rock shuffle, similar in style to Neil Young's "Old Man", the tempo was doubled upon request of Tore Johansson. Svensson declared that this helped as the band knew the song "was a single, but it wasn't working at first" under "the shuffle beat at half the tempo". It was soon after changing the musical direction of the song when the song's distinctive guitar hook evolved.
Both the drum and guitar parts were recorded in a "'70s-style dry room" while the vocals were recorded in the attic of the studio.
Even though the drums were recorded using analogue tape compression, the rest of the song's production, including the "fat fuzzy bass line" and the coda, was completed using Pro Tools 24.
Structure and lyrics
"My Favourite Game" is an alternative rock song composed in the key of C Minor. It is written in common time and moves at 143 beats per minute. The song is not written in standard verse-chorus form and its instrumentation includes guitar, bass and organ.
The lyrics deal with a failing relationship, summed up by Persson as "fucking up in love", and the subsequent desire to change the loved one "to suit themselves better or save people from themselves". Svensson commented how this concept "isn't always a good idea, like when women stay in a relationship with a man that beats them because they think he'll be better someday". The song is driven by its two-note guitar riff which is the basis of the "electro-rock powerhouse". Its verses are significantly faster than the slow, bass-heavy chorus where the drums run at half-time.
Worldwide, "My Favourite Game" was the most commercially successful single from Gran Turismo. Peaking at number sixteen in America, it became the album's only single and the band's second single to enter the BillboardModern Rock Tracks since their breakthrough hit, Lovefool that peaked at number nine. In Sweden, it debuted at number twenty-one on the Swedish Top 100 Singles Chart and peaked at number three in November 1998. It spent at total of eighteen weeks in the chart. In the United Kingdom, it debuted and peaked at number fourteen on the singles chart.
The music video for "My Favourite Game" was directed by Jonas Åkerlund. It was filmed over a three-day shoot in the Mojave Desert near Barstow, California, at a reported cost of £220,000. Nina Persson reported on requiring oxygen several times during the shoot, saying the 110 °F (43 °C) temperature was "hot enough for a Swede to fall down."
The video opens with a scene of lead singer Nina Persson, at the side of a desert road, trying to find a suitable rock. Meanwhile, the radio DJ, who is heard from the car radio, warns drivers that desert temperatures are very hot that day so they must remember to drive safely. When Persson finds a rock, she walks over to her car, a dark blue 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, places it on the accelerator to keep the pedal down and drives off as the song begins. During the video, she weaves back and forth onto the wrong side of the road, forcing many other drivers off the road and causing some to crash in the process. At one point in the video, she throws the Felix the Cat stuffed toy out of the car which was then run over by another car. In some versions of the video, the Felix the Cat doll is blurred out. At various stages of the video, she is also depicted using her feet to steer the steering wheel. There is a large and colourful tattoo on Persson's arm that was added for the video. She also drives at pedestrians causing them to jump out of the way while driving through a small town. At the beginning of the last chorus, she turns the car around and drives back down the road where she caused so much destruction. Towards the end of the song, she stands up in the car seat, keeping the car in control with her foot on the steering wheel. She steers into a collision course with an oncoming van, containing the other members of The Cardigans, with drummer Bengt Lagerberg as the driver. While the van's occupants react in horror, she calmly stretches out her arms and makes a cruciform for a moment before the two vehicles collide as the song ends. The DJ sounds the State Patrol's warning "on a high-speed out-of-control vehicle on Route 666" and passes on to commercial.
There are four different outcomes of the car crash at the end of the uncensored video. In ending one, Persson's body goes flying into the air and over the van roof where she is then depicted as being dead on the road. In ending two, she also flies over the van roof, except she tries to pick herself off the ground but is knocked out by the rock that was used to keep the car pedal down, cartoonishly. In ending three, she also flies over the van roof except she manages to pick herself up from the ground and walks away from the accident, and wipes the blood away from her face (this version is censored). In ending four, Persson is depicted being decapitated by the top of her car windscreen and a mannequin head is seen in the next shot, rolling along the road. In the fifth edition, it is censored all out, along with the car crashes, and Nina still is in the car, bloodless, driving and nodding along to the radio.
The music video caused much controversy when it was first released. Many European channels, including MTV UK, only played an edited version of the video where all of the car crashes and depictions of reckless driving were removed despite director Jonas Åkerlund's attempts to meet the censorship standards by making five differently edited cuts of the video with varying degrees of violence and blood. The reason MTV UK rejected the video was because of fears that the video could encourage joyriding and cause car accidents amongst teenage drivers, so ending five was most played on MTV UK. A more graphic cut was shown in the Cardigans website on a one-time-only basis four days before the single's release. But, in the U.S., the music channels were noticeably less restrictive as many of them either played the completely uncensored version of the video or a slightly censored version with only a few of the car crashes removed.
Despite the controversy, the music video managed to debut at number twenty-nine on MuchMusic's Countdown in October 1998 and peaked at number twenty-three on November 27. Also, the video has appeared on many "Greatest Music Video" lists including ranking at 68 in Slant Magazine's "100 Greatest Music Videos" sharing the position with U.N.K.L.E's "Rabbit in Your Headlights", and ranking 95 in Channel 4's "100 Greatest Pop Videos".
Formats and track listings
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "My Favourite Game".
- "My Favourite Game" - 3:36
- "War" (First try) - 4:07
- "Sick & Tired"(live) - 3:24
- "My Favourite Game" - 3:36
- "My Favourite Game"(Wubbledub mix) -
- "Lovefool"(live) -
- "My Favourite Game" - 3:36
- "War (First try)" - 4:07
- "War" - 3:56
Credits and personnel
"My Favourite Game" appeared in Gran Turismo 2 in the intros of the European (as a remix) and American versions, and in the European version of Band Hero.
The song appeared in one episode of the MTV animated series Daria.
The song appeared in the Season 3, Episode 17 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
The song appears in the music video gameDancing Stage Party Edition, the European counterpart of Dance Dance Revolution Konamix, for the PlayStation.
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- ^Lindvall, Helienne (26 April 2012). "Nina Persson: knitting the Cardigans back together". The Guardian.
- ^ abcLiner album notes from Best Of The Cardigans. January 2008.
- ^ ab"How The Cardigans survived success". BBC News. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- ^ abBell, Carrie (1998-12-05). "The Modern Age". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- ^ abcSheet music for "My Favourite Game". Hal Leonard Publishing. 2005.
- ^ abcCardigans Don Trip-Hop Trappings For New Album, MTV
- ^""The Cardigans - My Favourite Game" Chart Positions and Trajectories". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- ^Sveningsson, Magnus. "The Cardigans official website: Ask the Band". Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- ^"Cardigans' Crash Video Banned". Retrieved 2007-10-29.
- ^"The Cardigans: My Favourite Game, 1999". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- ^"'Cardigans 'Game' video flunks crash test'". USA Today. Friday October 16, 1998.
- ^"Cardigans Banned in the UK?". Chart. 13 October 1998. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- ^"MuchMusic Countdown Chart - October 16, 1998". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- ^"MuchMusic Countdown Chart - November 27, 1998". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- ^"Slant Magazine - 100 Greatest Music Videos". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- ^"Channel 4 - 100 Greatest Pop Videos". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- ^"ariaNET The Chart! Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 22nd March 1999". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 2016-10-17.
- ^Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- ^"The Cardigans - My Favourite Game". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- ^allmusic ((( The Cardigans > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))
- ^Steffen Hung. "The Cardigans - My Favourite Game". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- ^Steffen Hung. "The Cardigans - My Favourite Game". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- ^Steffen Hung. "The Cardigans - My Favourite Game". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- ^Steffen Hung. "The Cardigans - My Favourite Game". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- ^My Favourite Game by The Cardigans Songfacts
“My Favourite Game” is track #8 on The Cardigans‘ fourth album Gran Turismo (and eventually wound up in the album’s eponymous video game series, featured in the opening of Gran Turismo 2). The lyrics have a particularly manipulative woman reminiscing about her recent breakup.
The band admitted there was a lot of petty fighting going on between them during the recording Gran Turismo. Nina conceded she was “grumpy as hell” when she first heard this song. “When Peter first played it, I thought ‘that sounds like crap’ and I walked out.” Eventually the slower Neil Young-like country rock song, was changed to a fast-paced rocker.
The music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund. It was filmed over a three-day shoot in the Mojave Desert near Barstow, California. We see Nina drive a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible in the clip. She recalled to NME in a December 2013 interview:
It was amazing – the weather was really hot and the car was super-hot. I did try to drive it a couple of metres but that shoot was surrounded by crazy security and insurance matters, so mostly the car is sitting on a truck and I am pretend driving. When you see the whole car it’s a stunt woman driving it."
The heat on the day is evident by the end of the video, when the fake ‘drawn-on’ tattoo on Nina is shown wiped-onto the red leather seat of the car she is driving.