Remember Roxette? The once-famous Swedish pop duo with the guy who sang like a girl and the girl who looked like a guy could only have been a product of the flashy, shallow 80’s. And while the group is largely forgotten nowadays, the truth is they did sell millions of copies in the last 20 years.*
The idea for Roxette began when group mastermind Per Gessle joined forces with singing eye-candy Marie Frederiksen to form a pop duo. Frederiksen, with her Sinead-O’Connor-gone-platinum-blonde hairdo and deep, almost masculine voice quickly became the figurehead for the band, shadowing her much more active collaborator. In fact, Gessle was not only the group’s prime songwriter, he was also responsible for most of what you hear in the background tracks. Yes, because unlike so many of their counterparts, Roxette do
use real instruments.*
The group got their official debut with Pearls Of Passion
, an album which achieved great success in their homeland of Sweden. This album delivered some of the group’s early hits. In the following years, Roxette delivered best-seller after best-seller, culminating in 1995’s well-known Crash Boom Bang!
, with its onomathopoaic title-track single. The next obvious step was a Greatest Hits compilation.*
Hence Don’t Bore Us…Get To The Chorus!
. With a title that shows Roxette’s songwriting mentality, this album couples quite a few of their obvious hits with some alternative takes and four new songs. Of these, two are bouncy and happy (She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
and June Afternoon
) and two predictably sorrowful and heartfelt (I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt
and You Don’t Understand Me
. By the way, these are the only two types of Roxette songs. Can’t say their songwriting is too original…*
The best results are achieved with the bubblegum uptempos. The irresistible The Look
, the ironic How Do You Do
or the lustful Sleeping In My Car
are all insanely catchy numbers sure to get you foot tapping (that is, if you don’t start dancing across the room!) However, a few of the ballads also shine, particularly the sensitive Vulnerable
(Per’s comment: «quite a big word for a Swede to say») and the aforementioned Crash Boom Bang
, where Marie’s vocals really shine. *
However, some of these tracks are clear misfires. Take It Must Have Been Love
, for example: it was written for the dire Super Mario Bros.
movie, without the band ever having watched it. The result? A mindless action flick is graced with a minimalistic ballad. Now we can truly say nothing about that film was good.*
Nevertheless, that song remains a good track. But there are others that have virtually no staying power, such as The Big L
, while others are just plain irritating (Listen to Your Heart
. However, that doesn’t really matter – this is a pop album, and therefore, no real consistency is required. As long as there are catchy hooks – and here, there *are
everything is perfectly all right.*
But as the old saying goes, an image’s worth more than a thousand words. I could go on and on about this album, and still be missing the point. But there’s something I can
say that will illustrate this album’s biggest asset perfectly. And this is it: I didn’t have to listen to the album in order to write this review.
. That’s right; nearly ten years after I first bought this album, I can still remember at least two thirds of its songs without listening to them again
. And that’s all we really ask for from a good pop album.*
How Do You Do?