Apologeez. Time flies, and thus a week passes without me posting anything. Any. Thing. Oh well, here we go:
Re-listening to Roxette’s album Crash! Boom! Bang! I realized how familiar all of it is to me. I used to be the biggest Roxette fan (yeah, I challenge you on that) in the period from 1995-1997. Which was the time they took a break that actually lasted longer than my obsession. But during these two years I got all the albums and knew all the songs by heart. It hit off with me buying their Greatest Hits album (because I thought I liked one song in particular, without realizing that the song I thought of wasn’t by Roxette really), which started a loving relationship that I hadn’t anticipated.
What makes it even more familiar, is that this was the time when I started to learn English as my second language and so much of the vocabulary in English I was introduced to through Roxette. So any word that pops up in Roxette songs is firmly placed into my synapses, any other word, heck, I don’t know. But funny to realize that. I only knew that china can refer to objects on top of referring to the country (or countries) because of Vulnerable early on. Which is another word, I’ll never ever forget.
Crash! Boom! Bang! was released in 1994 and is Roxette’s fifth studio album. It was less successful than anticipated and the albums preceding it, but what do we care about numbers when we can just love it? So, let’s get to that, a chronological song-by-song-run-down, eager to meet your eye….
Harleys & Indians (Riders in the Sky)
Obviously Per Gessle’s little pet project on this album. He is singing, it’s more the sort of “Rock-Song” that he usually aims for, and it is about meeting Elvis Presley (who obviously is a personal hero of his) when dead. Somehow it is the perfect entry for the album, because neither is it a stellar track, so it doesn’t really matter that I forget about it later on, neither is it horrible by any means, but is actually kinda fun in a slightly more unusual way for Roxette.
Crash! Boom! Bang!
It’s both a curious album and song title, and even more so, because it reads like Sleeping in my Car sounds, while in reality it doesn’t sound anything like it. Does that even make sense to anyone? To me the title always suggests this power-rock extravaganza Roxette-style, especially after Harleys and Indians kicks off the album in such a rock oriented way, but then it hits you: One of Roxette’s finest ballads.
Now if anyone ever wondered why Roxette became famous in the first place, here is one prime example: Power ballad with lots of strings and lots of guitar, haunting lyrics that are so general that basically everyone on this planet can identify with them and Marie Fredriksson with her amazingly awesome voice. If you still don’t get why Roxette became famous, it is entirely your fault.
My Mama told me not to mess with sorrow, but I always did, and Lord, I still do
The first six songs on the album follow a very clear rock/pop followed by ballad rhythm, so naturally this one is the pseudo-rock-y-pop-track of the album. What always strikes me about these first six songs is how obviously each of them has huge single potential, and except for Harleys and Indians, they all have actually been singles.
Fireworks is very reminiscent of Joyride and How do you do?, with Per singing the verses and Marie taking over in the chorus which works fantastically. Here again it becomes obvious that with many of the songs they got very guitar heavy and my guess is that they aimed at a more US-American sounding/Country-associations-evoking album sound (and yeah, before you shoot me, I know that there is variety and this is one broad broad generalization). In this case I don’t mind.
Run to You
The Rhythm demands it: Another ballad. Slightly faster and more pop with its very catchy chorus. Funny, but I’m always kinda undecided about Run to You. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an awesome song, but something about it tires me, and honestly, I suspect that I’m way more interested in the verses (and their lyrics actually) than in the chorus, which is somewhat of a let down. It’s good, but I kinda feel I was promised more. Like in a not so generic kind of chorus-way, which is really just being bitchy about something that actually is really good.
Sleeping in my Car
Yeah, those guitars and drums just punch you in the guts, grab your hand and take you on a ride. This is another reason why Roxette has a claim to fame: Besides power-ballads they get rocky pop-gems right a lot of times. I might be biased, well actually I am, cause I have no idea of how other societies around the globe received this song, but I feel sort of stupid writing anything about it, cause I feel that basically anyone here in Germany just has to hear the first few notes and can sing along right through this thing. Yes, I think it is that iconic, is what I wanna say.
Fun question you can ask yourself: How much do you believe that Marie Fredriksson is capable of seducing (as in not let her morals get in the way) random handsome strangers in her car?
My heart is going boom, there’s a strange taste in my mouth
Ballad time, but, oh boy, with Per! Now this song reminds everyone right from the start, that he will never be considered to be the greatest singer in the world, but to be fair, on his solo album and on other songs his raspy voice manages to carry the tune quite well. I might just be being catty, because I just don’t like this song, although I have to acknowledge its hit potential, especially now after it became a big hit in various countries and introduced the non-English speaking world to the most difficult word there is in the English language, pronunciation wise (admitted, you might succeed in proving me wrong on that theory).
The First Girl on the Moon
Ermh, can we say hidden gem time? I love love love this song. Probably because it is very Eurythmics kind of Savage era reminiscent (and yeah, 7 songs in and this is the first time I make the Eurythmics – Roxette comparison? Shame on me!), only not so Eurythmics-y and more Roxette-y. Love the simplicity of it, love the lyrics. Yeah, actually in my heart I believe that this song and Euryhtmics’ Savage are twin-songs and share one consciousness. Or something.
I told her I could come. That I could come along. But she didn’t let me come along.
Place your Love
This one follows a familiar Roxette pattern, Per in the verses, Marie supports on the chorus, but to me it kinda falls flat. It’s not bad by any means, but with all the other awesomeness on the album it just can’t compete. It’s nice and quite and yet touches, and it’s lucky that it picks up a little towards the end, but as I said: It ain’t no Sleeping my car or anything. Just realized how much the chorus foreshadows the style of Love is All, later on the album.
I Love the Sound of Crashing Guitars
Could easily been the title to Harleys and Indians. They probably did the latter first and then thought, wow, I love the sound of the crashing guitars on that one, and then someone: hey awesome song title, let’s make one! And so they did. It’s really more of a filler to me, I don’t mind it, but I usually skip it. And it just made me realize how present Per is on this album. Seems like I always only remember Marie’s singing….Mmmmh.
What’s She Like?
I love the intimate, somewhat loungey feel of this one. Like she just meets you over your fifth Whisky Sour in the darker corner of the hotel bar and asks you about your new girlfriend. I never consciously made the connection before, but actually we could consider this one to be the non-explicit equivalent to Alanis Morisette’s “You oughta know”. And yeah, less angry. Superb example of how Marie is able to convey desperation with her voice. Which she actually does a lot in Roxette song. Oh my.
Do You Wanna Go the Whole Way?
Hehe, yeah, I asked you before on Sleeping in my Car, but this one, heehee. Roxette and sexuality are two areas that somehow never mingle in my head, yet I know intellectually that this is of course nonsense. Why shouldn’t they? Probably because of the family-friendly image.
Anyhoo, believe it or not: For many years this was my favorite Roxette song. Yeah, gasp. It still ranks among my ultimate Roxette favourites. This whole mix of dark and desperate, drums and guitar, Marie and background vocals, strings and whatnot just gets me any effin’ time. Now, I could do without the interlude, but even as I write: If I could do without it, how could it be my favorite? Right. Perfect song, love it.
Before all secrets are revealed, old scars must heal – or wither
Kind of filler-y in the verses, this song makes up for it in the bridge. No fan of the chorus here, but the bridge sung by Marie is really kind of super-awesome. If only the rest of the song could live up to it.
Love the sound, love the lyrics. Again, as with What’s She Like? this one has this brooding, hotel-lounge, 70s kind of thing going on, and yeah, that is all entirely in my head. A solid album track, IMO.
Love Is All (Shine Your Light on Me)
Yeah, this one. Roxette going experimental on our asses. In a good way. Comes as kind of surprise, but feels like Roxette throughout. Okay, love is all is a phrase that has bee beaten to death and beyond, but then again, love is really all we need, so why not sing about it, right? Love the build up and the trick with the pseudo song-stop, just to have it kick back in. One of those songs I wish I could forget, just like Don’t tell me by Madonna, just to be surprised like hearing it for the first time, when you’re really fooled by the effect. Can’t always be like that, I guess.
Love is there in your laughter
Got to Sleep
Ahem, ‘scuse me, was there ever, in the history of humankind a more perfect album closer than this one? You’re right, no, there wasn’t. Confession time: I love this song to death, also, even though being “only an album track” (yeah, why do I even write that?) it ranks at the top with all other Roxette awesomeness. Although the preceding song was entitled Love is All, I really feel like this is really the song that gets the message across. Listening to it I’m left with a feeling that there can’t really anything go wrong. That people are good, and love will save us and beauty is to be found everywhere. Unfortunately, that is kind of not really the case, but it feels sooooo good to feel like that every once in a while, right?
You have no clue what I was talking about (even though you made it to this line), cause you haven’t heard it? Go and do so ASAP!