Roxette Roars Back With Charm School and Greatest Hits CDs

With Marie Frederiksson's health problems behind them, Roxette heads back into the business of creating hits.

By , Columnist
When you consider Roxette and ABBA, you may not think they had too much in common. They were not exactly contemporaneous; Roxette came together in the late '80s subsequent to ABBA’s breakup.  Still, there are similarities. Both groups are from Sweden and were wildly successful worldwide. Their insanely catchy self-penned songs became pop radio staples out of the box.

This is where a few differences arise. Whereas both Roxette and ABBA's songs were rich with golden hooks and delectable melodies, Roxette’s Per Gessle's tunes tended to mesh a touch of bitter with the sweet. Songs like “I Wish I Could Fly” and “It Must Have Been Love” are angst ridden tales infused with a sultriness the more family friendly ABBA would never have attempted.

Also, unlike ABBA, Roxette remained together over the years. However, in 2002, vocalist Marie Fredriksson's fell ill with a brain tumor, which forced the group to take a hiatus. Fortunately Fredriksson defeated the illness and in 2009 the group began work on a new album entitled Charm School.

On July 26 of this year, Charm School  was released simultaneously with a new Roxette's Greatest Hits collection, but EMI sent only the hits for review. Hmmm...

Roxette's Greatest Hits includes old favorites such as “Listen To Your Heart” and “The Look.” It also offers the casual fan who might not be aware of Charm School’s release two brand new songs from that album. The synth-pop rocker “She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)” and “No One Makes It On Her Own" Also included is "In My Own Way", a re-discovered ballad from 1984. These songs mesh seamlessly with the group’s familiar tunes and round out the collection nicely.

This simultaneous release is a nice marketing ploy but the liner notes offer no hint that an album of new Roxette material is ripe for the purchasing. A bit of marketing savvy is needed here, EMI.

If you own nothing by Roxette, this set is a nice start. Those who love the group and already have the hits will probably want to save their money and buy Charm School.  For ABBA fans yearning for new material from your favorite Swedish band: it doesn't look like it's happening anytime soon so you may as well hop on the Roxette bandwagon and enjoy the ride.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning Blogcritics.org website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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