This week we celebrate the highly anticipated release from one of the true greats of the pop genre. Good Karma is the 10th studio album from Swedish pop icons Roxette and the release comes on the heels of the news that the band have decided to call time on the live element of their success following the decline in vocal powerhouse member, Marie Fredriksson’s health. While fans still reel in the news that further concerts from the duo are no longer on the cards, the arrival of Good Karma is certainly a welcomed gift from the band.
Roxette’s 30 year journey from the pairing of two successful Swedish solo artists to one of the most successful bands in pop music has been a colourful one. The bands hits have spanned four decades; from early classics including The Look, Dressed For Success and Joyride and powerballad staples like It Must Have Been Love, Listen To Your Heart and Fading Like A Flower through to more modern successes like A Thing About You, The Centre Of The Heart and It’s Possible, Roxette have proven to be one of the most influential acts in pop music.
The band are now preparing to add further hits to that track record with brand new single It Just Happens paving the way for the duo’s brand new collection and it seemed only right that we name Roxette as our latest Featured Artist. We have recapped the bands successes several times here at Renowned For Sound over the years (you can view our Roxette section here) so we thought we would mix things up a bit this time around and look back at the bands most inspiring studio albums in order of our personal favourites. Here are our top 10 favourite Roxette albums. Leave a comment at the end and let us know what order you would place the bands studio releases.
10. Charm School (2011)
Following a long departure from recording and touring due to the poor health of singer Marie Fredriksson, the band returned to the recording studio in 2012 to record album number 8, Charm School. The album produced a handful of moderately successful hits including album opener Way Out, lead single She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) and Speak To Me; the latter diving into early Roxette waters and pulling out a pretty epic power ballad of Listen To Your Heart standards.
Singles: She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio), Speak To Me, Way Out, No One Makes It On Her Own
Unreleased hidden gems: I’m Glad You Called / Only When I Dream / Dream On
9. Travelling (2012)
In 1992, while enjoying their hugely successful Join The Joyride world tour, Roxette released Tourism: Songs from Studios, Stages, Hotelrooms, and other Strange Places so it was only fitting, with the bands comeback in full swing and to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Tourism, that Roxette would revisit that successful, fan-favourite ‘on-the’road’ structure and produce this collection.
Travelling was written and recorded while the band were in the middle of their Charm School world tour and features outtakes, demos, new versions of B-sides and a handful of new pennings. It also produced one of their finest pop hits in recent years with It’s Possible.
Singles: It’s Possible
Unreleased hidden gems: Touched By The Hand Of God / Lover, Lover, Lover /Me & You & Terry & Julie
8. Pearls of Passion (1986)
This was the record that started it all. While most casual Roxette fans believe that Look Sharp was their first studio release, us Roxers know that this is not the case. It is impossible to ignore the bands debut which carved the way for Roxette’s forthcoming international success. Pearls of Passion was released in 1986, 2 years before the unveiling of Look Sharp and the collection was the first to introduce the world – well, Europe mainly, for the most part – to the new pairing of vocalist Marie Fredriksson and singer/songwriter Per Gessle – otherwise known as Roxette. With Fredriksson sporting long hair at the time – before her transformation into the short-haired, bleached blonde beauty that has been so familiar to many millions of listeners over the decades – Pearls of Passion is a must have for any fans of the bands work.
Singles: Neverending Love / Goodbye To You / Soul Deep, I Call Your Name
Unreleased hidden gems: Pearls of Passion / So Far Away / Secrets That She Keeps
7. Tourism: Songs from Studios, Stages, Hotelrooms, and other strange Places (1992)
With Roxette’s success in full swing following the release of their third studio album, Joyride, this collection was released while the band were trekking the globe on their first world tour.
The band put their imagination into overdrive with this record; songs were recorded in any space they could find in any location that they found themselves while on the road. Because of this unique method of improvised recording, there is a raw, spontaneous feel to the songs contained within the tracklisting of Tourism. As with its later sister record, Travelling, Tourism also came with a select number of traditionally recorded new songs; several of which have become staples in the bands live performances and are regarded as some of the favourites of Roxette fans all over the world.
Singles: How Do You Do? / Queen Of Rain / Fingertips
Unreleased hidden gems: The Rain / Keep Me Waiting / The Heart Shaped Sea
6. Don’t Bore Us, Get to the Chorus! (1995)
Ok, so we know that this isn’t exactly a studio album but there are two reasons why we have placed this collection into our countdown. The first is that we needed a 10th title to make up our list. The second is that while a greatest hits record it is, Don’t Bore Us, Get To The Chorus has become THE definitive greatest hits record to own above all other hits collections over the last 30 years. This can easily be attributed to the 4 new songs that completed the post ’95 hits which I personally regard as some of the bands finest work.
Marrying Roxette’s many hits between 1988 through to 1995 with the likes of new singles June Afternoon, You Don’t Understand Me and She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore along with the heartbreaking closing track, I Don’t Want To Get Hurt was a match made in pop heaven.
Singles: You Don’t Understand Me / She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore / June Afternoon
Unreleased hidden gems: I Don’t Want To Get Hurt
5. Room Service (2001)
The last record from Roxette before the bands tragic hiatus, Room Service continued the modernised, electronic sound that 1999′s Have A Nice Day started. The album offered fans something to carry them through the next decade, outside of a few single releases and greatest hits packages, and was their first studio release to see in the new millennium.
A solid, electro-pop vein runs through the tracklisting of Room Service but songs like My World, My Love My Life and Milk and Toast and Honey along with lead single The Centre of the Heart helped the record to never stray too far from the bands traditional, signature hook-heavy formula.
Singles: The Centre Of The Heart / Real Sugar / Milk And Toast And Honey
Unreleased hidden gems: My World, Love Love, My Life / Fool / It Takes You No Time To Get Here
4. Crash! Boom! Bang! (1994)
Adopting a gritty, guitar-rock edge to their sound, Roxette dove into more rock-inspired waters with Crash! Boom! Bang!; replacing the sweet pop scents with a much more raw, acoustic feel to Gessles songwriting. It paid off and helped grow the bands fanbase outside of their predominantly pop driven output. While their sound developed throughout the record with a heavy guitar coating, the singles released from Crash! Boom! Bang! were still inviting to those fans who were fixated on the bands previous pop work with up-tempo rocker Sleeping In My Car and the hypnotic Fireworks sitting beside signature power-ballad dressed gems like the title track, the acoustic Run To You and the Gessle delivered beauty, Vulnerable.
Singles: Sleeping In My Car / Crash! Boom! Bang! / Fireworks / Run To You / Vulnerable
Unreleased hidden gems: Do You Wanna Go The Whole Way / Lies / I’m Sorry
3. Look Sharp! (1988)
Look Sharp was the record that put Roxette on the international map. The album produced several of the bands most successful and globally recognised singles including The Look, Listen To Your Heart, Dressed For Success and Dangerous; the former two reaching number one in the U.S among many other countries around the world.
Look Sharp remains a unique staple in the bands story as it launched the duo from up and coming Swedish outfit to one of the most recognized and successful acts in pop music. It also introduced us to the iconic Fredriksson hairstyle that has become as famous as the band itself and propelled Gessle to the top of the songsmith hill, where he has remained ever since.
Having sold over 10 million copies to date, Look Sharp is easily one of, if not THE defining record of the Roxette catalogue.
Singles: The Look / Dressed For Success / Dangerous / Listen To You Heart / Chances
Unreleased hidden gems: Dance Away / (I Could Never) Give You Up / Paint
2. Joyride (1991)
Following on from a breakthrough album like Look Sharp would have been a fairly tough and intimidating task. Not for Roxette though. While most bands crumble under the weight of what success brings early on in their career, Roxette took it all in their stride and returned in 1991 with another stellar release in the impeccable shape of Joyride.
Much like Look Sharp, Joyride offered another handful of what would become timeless classics from the Swedish duo. Their single releases were equally balanced between the upbeat (Joyride, The Big L) and the powerballad (Spending My Time, Fading Like A Flower) and once again showcased Roxette as a pop force not to be reckoned with.
The record was a hit the world over with sales in excess of 11 million and also gave the band a fourth U.S number one single with albums title track climbing to the top of the charts with ease.
Singles: Joyride / Fading Like A Flower / The Big L / Spending My Time / Church Of Your Heart
Unreleased hidden gems: Things Will Never Be The Same / Watercolours In The Rain / Perfect Day
1. Have a Nice Day (1999)
While Joyride and Look Sharp are regarded by most as the classic Roxette albums – and for good reason – the bands 1999 electro-dressed collection, Have A Nice Day has always been my personal favourite release from the duo. Actually, from any act.
Despite proving to be a hit or miss from many fans and critics when it was released back at the end of the nineties, Have A Nice Day marked a blatant change in direction for Fredriksson and Gessle. Gone, for the most part, were the guitars, and in their place was a techno vein that pushed the band more toward dance and electronica than any record they have previously released. While Roxette took advantage of the opportunity to experiment on the album – and they certainly did with tracks like You Can’t Put Your Arms Around Whats Already Gone and the full throttle Stars - the signature Roxette heartbeat was still resident and pumping strong throughout Have A Nice Day.
While Gessle drove album tracks like the opening Crush On You and the gritty 7Twenty7, Marie brought the house down on some of the bands most inspiring numbers including the heartbreaking Anyone, the cinematic Salvation, the acoustically sweet It Will Take A Long Long Time and the exquisite closer, Beautiful Things. (See our more in-depth Record Rewind feature on Have A Nice Day here)
Singles: Wish I Could Fly / Anyone / Stars / Salvation
Unreleased hidden gems: Beautiful Things / Crush On You / It Will Take A Long Long Time
Check back with us soon for our early review of Roxette’s brand new studio album, Good Karma which features the new single, It Just Happens. Check out the video for the single below.