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Articles > Rare and unreleased Aqua songs (Part I: Aqua)

Rare and unreleased Aqua songs (Part I: Aqua) (18/02/2005)

Little is known about unreleased Aqua songs & versions. But sure there must be lots of them, at least in the shape of demo recordings. This article will try to compile all the information that is known from Aqua demos & unreleased songs.

  • Discarded ideas: the demos and original versions

    Included in the "Roses are red" maxi, there are a "Radio Edit" and an "Original Version" (which actually is the "Album Version") of this song. But in fact, and despite what the credits state, the "Radio Edit" seems more like the first version of the song before the input of Hartmann & Langhoff.

    The "Radio Edit" is more basic, more like a demo, with lighter sounds, a simpler production and an unfinished feel. It is somewhat nearer to the "Itzy bitzy spider" sound than to the "Aquarium" album. So we could say that this "Roses are red (Radio Edit)" is one of the few times when a previous version of an Aqua song was released commercially.

    Other examples are the "Original Reggae Version" (the name says it all) from the "Itzy bitzy spider" single or the "Original spinet theme" from the "My oh my" single, a one-minute piece of instrumental music featuring the basic melodies and arrangements which later become "My oh my". Listening to the "Original spinet theme", you can see that the clavicembal and that the medieval feel of "My oh my" were there from the very beginning.

    But most of times, the demos and previous versions are not available anywhere. In "The Aqua Diary", Søren and Claus let us listen to a fragment of a very different version of "Good Morning Sunshine", which was a demo previous to the album version. It featured some of René's rap at the song's intro. It seemed to be much less balladistic than the version included in the album.

    Also, while at the promotion of the "Aquarius" album, they admitted that the original version of "Cartoon Heroes" was more classic Aqua, and with an underwater effect, until Claus suggested to add orchestra and backing chorus singers to create a musical-like effect (this suggerence sure also affected or helped to create songs such as "Back from Mars").

    But these are the only demos that we really know from Aqua, while there must be lots of them. Though it would be interesting to listen to them in order to see the diferences and the evolution between the demo and the final version, they probably will never be leaked.

  • What could have been: the unreleased songs

    More interesting and more desired to be listened to, are the unreleased Aqua songs that there may exist. Also in "The Aqua Diary", while at his hotel room, Søren showed us a notebook where he was writing a new song, called "Here comes the birds". He said it was a re-do of an old song. It's unclear if he refered to another artist's old song, or an Aqua's old song, but must probably the later: René Dif's verses are very "Lollipop (Candyman)", and the chorus has a somewhat similar structure to "Around the world".

    They later perfomed "Here comes the birds" live in their 1998 summer tour. A rough recording of this live perfomance can be found on the internet, but you can barely enjoy the song because of all the background noise. It was thought by many people to be released as the leading single from Aqua's second album, and there was even created a fake single cover, but the song was finally not even included in the album.

    From the "Aquarius" era there actually are lots of unreleased songs. In the diary that Aqua posted in their official website during the creating process of their second album (late 1998 and whole 1999), they mentioned that they had composed nearly 50 songs.

    And later, from all this bunch of songs, they just selected the 10 best songs. Then they fully developed and enhanced them in order to be included in the new album. Yes: "Aquarius" has 12 tracks, but two of them were not originally planned: "Cuba Libre" was born while Søren and Claus were trying to do an unreleased latin-remix of "Aquarius" track; and "Goodbye to the circus" was created and included at the very last moment. Actually, until Claus composed "Goodbye to the circus" and showed it to Søren, "Aquarius" was intended to be the closing song of the album.

    So, from the about 50 songs that Aqua originally composed for the "Aquarius" album, we can say that only 10 have been released. No titles or info are known from the discarded tracks. One can only wish that they had included some of them as b-sides of the four singles released from "Aquarius".

  • The sudden goodbye: the songs from the unfinished third album

    During the first months of 2001, Aqua were already working in their third album. They said that they were trying to sound more rock than before. There was planned to be a leading summer single, while the album was going to be released in August of that same year.

    When they were called to perform like guests on the interlude of the Eurovision gala of 2001 (which took place on their country, Denmark), the press said that they might be going to present a new song. One title was rumored: "Shakin' Stevens (Is a superstar)". But at the last moment, Aqua decided to perfom just a medley featuring previous hits (where they already disillusioned with the new album?), with the collaboration of Safri Duo playing live drums. Here it was already obvious the new rocky-approach of Aqua to their music, because they played some rather guitar-based versions of their classic songs, most notably Lollipop (Candyman).

    But it was not until July 2001 that they made public some new songs. It was on the Roskilde Festival / Grøn Koncert, which both took place at various days & cities from Denmark, with many different artists and groups playing at them. There, Aqua perfomed a selection of their best classic songs, and also four new songs in order to preview the third album and to see the public reaction. It seems like the more rock-oriented songs didn't excite much the public, which was a logically descouraging event for Aqua.

    These four new songs were "Shakin' Stevens (Is a superstar)" (the already rumored song for the Eurovision interlude), "Wow wow wow", "Hi-Fi" and "Couch Potato". You will be able to find rough live recordings from the first three songs on the internet, but "Couch potato" remains unknown and unheard if you weren't at this series of concerts.

    Most of the vocal part from "Wow wow wow" was perfomed by René, with Lene singing just at the chorus and at the bridge of the song. It shared with "Hi-Fi" a rather naïf spirit in their lyrics.

    The best of this new songs was without any doubt "Shakin' Stevens (Is a superstar)", hence the apparent decision to release it as the leading single. Like Aqua admitted on an interview, it was a tribute to the rock singer Shakin' Stevens, from who Lene has always been a declared fan. The song was catchy and could have been a succesful single.

    But like we all already know, Aqua split up that same August 2001. The third album was then left unfinished and its already recorded songs will most probably remain unreleased.

    Written by Lleonard Pler. Copyright 2005.

    Next article: Rare and unreleased Aqua songs (Part II: Lene)

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