Single by The Cardigans
from the album First Band on the Moon
Released 14 September 1996 (1996-09-14)
Format CD single
Recorded 1995
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:21
Label Stockholm
The Cardigans singles chronology
"Hey! Get Out of My Way"
"Been It"
Re-issue cover

"Lovefool" is a pop song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for The Cardigans' third studio album, First Band on the Moon (1996). It was released as a single on 14 September 1996 in the United Kingdom and internationally on 5 October 1996. It was released as the album's lead single in 1996 and became the Cardigans' first international hit single, topping the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart and making appearances on six other Billboard charts. In 1997, the song found international success, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart and finding moderate success on some other European charts. The single also topped the charts in New Zealand, and was certified Gold in Australia.[1]

The song was featured in the film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet just two months after the release of the single, as well as in the 1999 film Cruel Intentions.


Nina Persson wrote the lyrics to the song at an airport while waiting for a plane. She said that, at the time, the song had "a slow bossa nova feel". She also added that "the biggest hits are the ones that are the easiest to write".[2]

Music and structure

"Lovefool" is a pop song that is performed in several keys and modulates based on chorus and verse. The chorus is in the key of A major using a I-IV-ii-V chord progression. The verses use a i-iv-VII-III chord progression in A minor. It is written in common time and moves at 112 beats per minute. The song's middle 8 is four bars long.[3]

Music video

The song's American music video was directed by Geoff Moore in New York in September 1996.[4] It features a man being lost on an island and putting a message in a bottle into the water. A woman implied to be his lover is shown on a dock reading a newspaper and at the end of the video receives and reads the message and smiles. The video also shows the band performing the song in what looks to be the interior of the bottle released by the man lost at sea, as well as Nina Persson looking out from the bottles neck and later through a periscope at the woman. Midway through the song, the band is also interviewed by several scuba equipment-wearing reporters who descend from a ladder into the room.

The song's worldwide—also known as its European and British—music video can loosely be called a love story, featuring a woman (Nina Persson) longing for a man she watches from a distance. The man walks into a building accompanied by several other men (the band members) and sits down before putting a cassette into a player and beginning to listen to it (the song playing is implied to be the song itself, which the woman is singing). Several women (including two skimpily-dressed middle-aged women) enter and attempt to entertain them, but they remain unimpressed, with the man who is the object of the woman's affections crying as he listens to the cassette and one of the women dances for him. Near the end of the video, the woman (Nina) walks into the building and says the line spoken towards the end of the song ("Say that you love me... go on and fool me") before embracing the man.

Track listing

  1. "Lovefool"
  2. "Nasty Sunny Beam"
  3. "Iron Man" (First Try)
Re-issue 1
  1. "Lovefool" (radio edit)
  2. "Lovefool" (Tee's Club Radio)
  3. "Lovefool" (Tee's Frozen Sun Mix)
  4. "Lovefool" (Puck version)
Re-issue 2
  1. "Lovefool" (Radio edit)
  2. "Sick & Tired" (live)
  3. "Carnival" (live)
  4. "Rise & Shine" (live)


The song was initially a hit in Europe, reaching #15 on the Swedish Singles Chart and peaking at #21 on the UK Singles Chart on its first release in 1996, and at #2 when reissued in 1997 following its use in Romeo + Juliet. It then achieved international success, becoming a #1 hit in New Zealand and peaking just outside the top 10 in Australia at #11. "Lovefool" became a crossover hit in the U.S. after peaking at #9 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart then reaching #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay, the Top 40 Mainstream and #2 on the Adult Top 40. It was not eligible to chart on the overall Hot 100 as a commercial single was not released in the country, which was required until chart rules were changed in December 1998. The same fate befell several other very successful airplay songs on the U.S. charts in the 1990s, including "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia.

"Lovefool" came eighteenth in the 1996 Pazz & Jop poll and nineteenth the following year.[5][6] Slant Magazine listed the song number 40 on its "100 Best Singles of the 1990s" list,[7] and Pitchfork Media ranked it number 66 on its "Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s".[8]

Chart performance

Chart (1996) Peak
Finnish Singles Chart 5
Irish Singles Chart 11
Swedish Singles Chart 15
UK Singles Chart 21
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[9] 2
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 2
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 9
Chart (1997) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 11
Austrian Singles Chart 7
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 3
Canadian RPM Alternative 30 4
French Singles Chart 31
UK Singles Chart 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 10
Irish Singles Chart (re-issue) 13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart 2
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Adult Recurrents 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play 5
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 18
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 23
Preceded by
"Discothèque" by U2
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
23 February – 9 March 1997
Succeeded by
"Break My Stride" by Unique II

Cover versions

"Lovefool" has also been covered by numerous musical acts since its release:

Usage in media

Apart from Romeo + Juliet, the song has also been used in a season three episode of the American version of The Office, a season one episode of Nip/Tuck, in season one of My Name Is Earl, as well as the films Cruel Intentions, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Hot Fuzz (in a parody of Romeo + Juliet). In 1997, the band played the song on the graduation episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. The song was used in a 2003 Cornetto ice cream advertisement shown in the United Kingdom.[12] Furthermore, the song was played on several episodes of Daria, the high school dance scene in the season 3 penultimate episode of the Syfy series Haven, in the sixth episode of Orphan Black season one, and in the wedding scene of Australian mining magnate Lang Hancock to Rose Porteous in the 2015 telemovie House of Hancock.


  1. "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 17 January 2007.
  2. "Writing". Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  3. Sheet music for "Lovefool". Hal Leonard Corporation. 1996.
  4. Rosen, Craig; Sexton, Paul (21 September 1996). "Cardigans wrap up U.S.". Billboard. 108 (38): 9.
  5. Christgau, Robert (25 February 1997). "The 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  6. Christgau, Robert (24 February 1998). "The 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  7. Henderson, Eric (9 January 2011). "The 100 Best Singles of the 1990s". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  8. Greene, Jayson (1 September 2010). "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  10. "Love Me by Justin Bieber Songfacts". Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  11. Eakin, Marah (9 June 2015). "Leighton Meester covers The Cardigans". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  12. "Wall's Cornetto - Wall's Cornetto Soft" Retrieved 20 October 2009


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