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Friday, 23 August 2019

10 Favourite Roxette Ballad Songs

Hailing originally from Stockholm, Sweden, in Per Gessle and Marie Fredricksen, they are the heart and muscle - or should that be muscle and heart of Scandanavia's power-pop duo, Roxette, and of whom, in the late 1980s, emerged on the pop scene & carried on the nation's musical exports after ABBA, and this was later followed up by Ace of Base and Max Martin and erm, A-Teens. By the early 1990s, Roxette became a worldwide sensation as they chalked up hit after hit in the top 40 charts with a string of memorable songs to their name in both the U.S and UK, respectively. Notably, they rank second only to ABBA as the most commercially successful group in Sweden. Whether they are in the vein of the rich power-pop ballads or uplifting, uptempo soft rock-pop offerings, Roxette never ceases to disappoint with their infectious melodies, hooks and meaningful lyrics that become instilled in one's memory. 

I've been listening to their stuff over the years and Roxette have become and are one of my all-time favourite musical bands/groups, and in their breakthrough LP, 1988's Look Sharp!, it was the beginning of Per's and Marie's successful reign in the pop charts right towards the late 1990s. When it comes to pop ballads, there are very few of whom can produce more than one good or outstanding mid-tempo and slow tempo tracks; with Roxette being one of them. 

I've decided to split the top ten songs into two categories: ballads/ love songs and rock-pop uptempo songs. 

Here my 10 personal favourite Roxette ballad/love songs: 

'Listen To Your Heart' (1988) - if you asked me what is my all-time and ultimate favourite song of Roxette's, my '#1 choice would definitely go to Listen To Your Heart, without a doubt. This piano-driven & catchy and powerful piece along with Marie's powerful vocals made this an instant smash hit, and I just adore its composition: epic and sweeping. The album version is my favourite, right from Per's guitar solo in the middle to the extended violin part at the end, which makes it sound even better.  

''Listen to your heart, when he's calling for you. Listen to your heart, there's nothing else you can do. I don't know where you're going. And I don't know why. But Listen to your heart. Before you tell him 'goodbye'''

'Fading Like A Flower' (Every Time You Leave) (1991) - the guitar solo by Per just elevates this track further and this one, again, is a bit of gem. There is an argument that this might be the best low-key power ballad ever written. Of course, that didn't stop from it from being sampled for a repetitive sounding euro-dance track by Dancing DJ's in 2005. 

''Every time I see you oh I try to hide away. But when we meet it seems I can't let go. Every time you leave the room I feel like I'm fading like a flower''

'It Must Have Been Love (But It's Over Now)' (1990) - the most memorable and popular Roxette song in the eyes of many including non-Roxette fans, although Listen to Your Heart comes mighty close, this one was taken from Pretty Woman: a movie I wasn't fond of, yet the soundtrack was great, with It Must Have Been Love being one of its highlights

''It must have been love but it's over now. It must have been good, but I lost it somehow. It must have been love but it's over now. From the moment we touched, 'til the time had run out''

'Spending My Time' (1991) - not the most memorable ballad of theirs, but also it is one that is rather good from start to finish. It is dubbed by many as the 'Listen To Your Heart' of the Joyride album 

''Spending my time, watching the days go by. Feeling so small, I stare at the wall. Hoping that you think of me too. I'm spending my time''

'Silver Blue' (1992) - a fan favourite for many, this is a beauty with its moody synth rhythms which was originally a B-side counterpart to their single, 'The Look'. Despite the somewhat odd title, this is a sheer delight that will stick with me, whenever I hear this one

''I've turned into the broken one. Who lost the inspiration. I want to give you all my love like water, to a blood-red rose. The passion - I can deal with her, the pain - well I can do without him...''

'You Don't Understand Me' (1995) - taken from the Don't bore us, get to the chorus' compilation album, this was a hit in several European countries; emotive, powerful and it hits all the right notes. 

''You don't understand me, my baby. You don't seem to know that I need you so much. You don't understand me, my feelings, the reason I'm breathin', my love''

'The Rain' (1992) - Sombre and very mature sounding and another offering from the Roxette Tourism LP, this, alongside You Don't Understand Me, has a far more sophisticated and slicker production value than say many of Roxette's other power ballads. 

''But I kept the rain falling down on me. All the time, all the time''

'Vulnerable' (1994) - Per Gessle rarely does the lead vocals for a ballad, but here he acquits himself so well, his style and his harmonies blend together in this gentle, slow-tempo love song

''She's so vulnerable, like China in my hands. She's so vulnerable & I don't understand. I could never hurt the one I love. She's all I've got. But she's so vulnerable, oh so vulnerable''

'I Don't Want To Get Hurt' (1995) - one of the most underrated songs of theirs that they have produced that doesn't seem to get much of a mention, I particularly like the Spanish version that is titled as 'Quiero ser como tu'

''I don't want to get hurt, I've done my time. All I want from you is to tell the truth. I don't want to get hurt no more this time. I don't want to go blind & find it's falling apart all the time''

'(Do You Get) Excited?' (1991) - a power ballad which is very much in the vein of Listen To Your Heart, this is almost its sister counterpart with a similar-ish chord structure. This should have been a single 

''Do you get excited when I touch you in the night? My oh my... Do you get excited, when I meet you every night? You won't let the night pass you by''

Honourable mentions: Almost Unreal (from the terrible Super Mario Bros live-action flick, but was originally for the supernatural film, Hocus Pocus

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