DIRTY DOZEN: Best Roxette Videos!
Attenhut! Welcome to a brand new Daily Roxette feature series!
As you all know, 2017 marks TDR’s 20th Birthday and to help us celebrate two decades in the Roxette business, we are thrilled to launch a brand new regular feature series: TDR’s Dirty Dozen.
Designed to get tongues wagging – the Dirty Dozen is a Top 12 Countdown series exploring a fun Roxette topic!
Today – the TDR Dirty Dozen celebrates the BEST ROXETTE VIDEOS of all time.
Putting together a Dirty Dozen list of Best Roxette Videos is a tough one, by and large, Roxette have released some beautifully crafted videos throughout their glorious three decades, so narrowing it down was quite the task. Of course, all the iconic late ’80s and early ’90s Doug Freel videos are classics and honorable mentions go to “A Thing About You”, “Wish I Could Fly” and “Sleeping in My Car” – but in the end, we could only squeeze in 12, so, here we go…
#12 – It Just Happens
Director: Tobias Nordquist // Released: 2016
Yes, it’s a very big call to stick this in the list but let’s look at this video in context. Firstly – this 2016 video finally ended the fan cry of “…A Thing About You was Roxette’s last good video…” – so that’s an achievement in itself. Secondly – let’s compare this to Roxette’s previous “comeback” video post 2002: “She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)… enough said. Thirdly – this video came out around the same time that Marie announced that she was withdrawing from the touring life to focus on her health. So considering the limitations and challenges she faced, for her to pull off a performance like this, which is just as emotive and believable as her performance in the “It Must Have Been Love” or “Fading Like a Flower” videos, then this clip definitely deserves to makes the list.
Finally – for a band that’s been loitering around for 30 years, to pull out something like this in 2016 is pretty impressive – there’s a great little narrative exploring the facets of love that all comes full circle in the end – oh and Marie looks great in red, don’t you think?
#11 – Run To You
Director: Jonas Åkerlund // Released: 1994
Although the lyrics and music don’t necessarily match the pictures to a tee – this “life on the road” video directed by Jonas Åkerlund was a first of its kind for Roxette and it holds up really well today. From a fan’s point of view, it’s exciting to be part of the “access all areas” concept as we step backstage during the Crash! Boom! Bang! Tour, dipping in and out of private moments as the band prepare to hit the stage. Definitely a different side to the group and it was engaging to see so many different aspects of our favorite pop stars.
#10 – (Do You Get) Excited?
Director: Wayne Isham // Released: 1991
Directed by famed American music video maker and the man responsible for the “Live-ism” VHS, Wayne Isham, this was supposed to Roxette’s final single off the Joyride album. Up until that point in his successful career, Isham had predominately worked with US rock acts and directed videos for bands such as Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi – so aside from a brief stint with Janet Jackson and Bryan Adams, working with a quintessential pop band like Roxette was quite the departure for him. Of course since then, Isham has blossomed in the field of directing pop acts and has since collaborated with artists such as N’SYNC, Britney Spears and even Ace of Base.
Shot in Western Australia in late 1991 while on the Join the Joyride Tour, the purple hues of the desert sky mixed with a resplendent Marie in white and the song’s lyrics presented in ancient parchment, this sultry video is definitely a stand out from the early ’90s era.
#09 – Spending My Time
Director: Wayne Isham // Released: 1991
The very first collaboration with Wayne Isham, this was Roxette’s most expensive video at the time. The video itself is a classy affair and very “Marie focused” who convincingly portrays the role of a broken-hearted, lovelorn woman, suffering through a single day in time mourning the loss of her love gone wrong. Per sneaks in briefly with his Gretsch White Falcon guitar for a cameo and the end result is a bright and sophisticated effort and really cemented Roxette’s placement in the big leagues of the world music industry by securing such a coup in the form of the highly esteemed Wayne Isham.
Legend has it that a large dog was supposed to keep the forlorn Marie company throughout the video but Marie’s fear of dogs nixed that idea.
#08 – Crash! Boom! Bang!
Director: Michael Geoghegan // Released: 1994
Marie climbs the perpetual staircase from dawn til dusk. It’s a visual feast with an eclectic cast of characters she passes by – including a cameo from Per and his big red guitar. It’s a testament to director Michael Geoghegans’ talent as a filmmaker to make what is essentially one long tracking shot last for four minutes and keep it interesting. His previous effort, “Sleeping in My Car”, is another standout that just missed out on the Dirty Dozen by a whisker. He also directed the follow up video to this single; “Fireworks”.
#07 – Milk & Toast & Honey
Director: Jesper Hiro // Released: 2001
A gem from the glorious Room Service video collection. Sometimes you need a clever story. Sometimes you need a cinematic location. Sometimes you need celebrity cameos. Sometimes you need to be naked on a wrecking ball licking a sledgehammer – but at the end of the day, putting all that aside, sometimes all you need is a face that’s so photogenic that you could stare at it all day – does Marie Fredriksson look any more majestic than she does in this video? Of course the Swedish archipelago is stunning too but Marie’s natural beauty is all that needs to be written about here. Marie wakes up, has a coffee, puts on a bright coat and goes for a walk in the pristine Swedish landscape. You don’t need much more than that really. This video is easily a ten out of ten.
#06 – The Centre of the Heart
Director: Jonas Åkerlund // Released: 2001
Can’t say I’m the biggest lover of this track – never quite got it, but the fact that “The Centre of the Heart” finds itself in the Dirty Dozen is testament to this great video. Following the singing ducks and raw fish that preceded this single, it was refreshing to see Roxette deliver a very “image” based performance video. They both look a million bucks. Bright colors, sharp style – a very meticulously planned look to sell the band to a new generation of fans!
Half of the battle in making a video transcend to the masses is a good location – and the eye-catchy “Madonna Inn” definitely steals the show. The Californian hotel served as the location for the Room Service album’s sleeve design too and you can see why. Words fail to accurately describe the design – “kitsch” would be selling it too short and “glamorous” would be missing the point – it is a one of a kind location and it’s best described by their own press release “…the property is adorned with a pseudo-Swiss-Alps exterior and lavish common rooms accented by pink roses, Western murals, and hammered copper…” – Nonetheless, Jonas really sold Roxette well with this video – golf anyone?
#05 – Almost Unreal
Director: Michael Geoghegan // Released: 1993
There’s a lot to like here – firstly, Marie looks stunning. Aesthetically, Michael Geoghegan has a real knack for creating a rich visual tapestry – and although the actual concept of the video borders on the cheesy side, the actual execution is anything but. The director, didn’t go down the cliché’ obvious route and make it sound and look like a cheap ATARI computer game, he created a slick, inventive and futuristic concept with a mature feel that does not feel dated at all – still holds up incredibly well to this day. Both versions of the video look great, the one with the scenes from the movie and the one without them – and who would’ve thought that this was the soundtrack to such a tacky, box office bomb. Great video – underrated song.
#04 – You Don’t Understand Me
Director: Greg Masuak // Released: 1995
Swedish master director Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” meets Roxette, sort of. The story of a travelling group of amateur theatre players travelling from one small town to another serves as the narrative to this mid 90s ballad. I must admit, I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed with “You Don’t Understand Me” as the lead single choice (particularly because I’m a one-eyed “June Afternoon” worshipper) but this video is really impactful. The inspired set design, pagan symbolism, the detailed costuming on all the players on the tiny stage, the old man with the violin, the dramatic imagery of the actor suspended on stage with the bow and arrow in her hand – all this nuanced attention to detail really make this video bigger than the song itself.
And once again, check out this screen shot comparison from “The Seventh Seal” and the “You Don’t Understand Me” video and tell me you can’t see some sort of nod to Bergman.
#03 – Queen of Rain
Director: Matt Murray // Released: 1992
Always felt “The Rain” was the logical follow up to “How Do You Do!”, but regardless of my own personal indifference to this song, this video is absolutely gorgeous – visual poetry at it’s finest directed by Queensrÿche collaborator, Matt Murray.
The key to this video is location, location, location! Shot in Northern France, the stunning setting and picturesque backdrop serves as the real star of this video. With the majority of the story set inside a “big big house”, we find a beautiful looking Marie telling the tale.
It’s the attention to detail that really sets this video apart. Yes, there are lot of 1992 style filters on this, but they hold up rather well by today’s standards – even the grainy “rain” effect gives the video a poetic and sombre mood balanced with the location’s natural beauty. If anyone ever wanted a crash course in cinematic mise-en-scène, then this is the video. The Art Department really steal the show with their glorious set dressing – then again, a romantic French estate like this I wouldn’t imagine would need too many external props – speaking of props, familiar symbolic Roxette images return in this one – a chess board and floating bed sheets – seem familiar from any other famous Roxette ballad? And as always, Per pops in for a bit and this time he roams an empty beach before perching himself on a stranded boat to play that gentle acoustic guitar solo. Elegant, classic and tasteful is the best way to describe this stunning beauty.
#02 – She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Director: Jonas Åkerlund // Released: 1996
INTENSE! If only the wider pop world got to see this video. Roxette needed more of this during their career and maybe less singing ducks. Often plagued with the “too pop for rock” and “too rock for pop” syndrome, this video firmly places the band in the “rock” category for at least 4 minutes and 5 seconds. There’s not a helluva lot of deep “art” in this one per se, it’s just balls to the wall rocking and rolling.
From the opening sequence of the light bulb getting a power surge of electricity – all the way up to cool vibrating effect with rapids cuts that builds to its majestic crescendo; from start to finish – this is pure rock n roll. Coupled with the slick lighting design and a “mean” looking Per and Marie and man oh man, this video takes your breath away and leaves you wanting more – not an easy thing to do for a performance based video set in one location featuring just one set up – but Jonas nailed it on ALL fronts with this one!
Still holds up very well to this day and if it weren’t for the 4:3 aspect ratio, this video would still kick ass on TV today! Oh and is it just me or does Marie seem particularly “non blonde” in this video?
#01 – Joyride
Director: Doug Freel // Released: 1991
Aaaaaaaand here it is folks, Number One in our Dirty Dozen: Joyride!
Yep! You bet yo’ sweet ass they is riding around on a car in a desert! Call it what you like! Some say cheesy! Some say dated! I call it 1991-chic!
This is the best video and you’re more than welcome to disagree! By this point, Roxette were a commodity trading on the international music stock exchange known as the Top 40 charts. To sell an image, brand association helps. Per and Marie are sporting a cool, rocking image. Red Ferrari? Check! Silver Americana style tour bus? Check! Mojave desert? Check! Time to hit the road outta nowhere! These are all “cool” associations. A massive giant “hair band” style tour bus to accommodate this big pop act – if it’s good enough for Guns n Roses and Bon Jovi and KISS – then it’s good enough for Roxette!
In addition to Per and Marie’s Rickenbackers, the star of this show is the classic Ferrari Dino, the prancing horse is the epitome of sports cars and again, the association with the biggest and the best is what helps sell Roxette, particularly to a Western audience. And of course, it’s set in the sunny Californian desert – Roxette have crossed the Atlantic and made it to the other-side of the pond – the epicentre of the pop/rock world – the Mojave desert represents classic Americana.
Lots of different set ups here, mostly shot against a green-screen with Per and Marie even taking a sky ride on the wing of a plane. The video not only fits the lyrics and vibe of the greatest song ever recorded in the history of mankind – but it really captures Roxette at their peak – this is the one video to surmise their music and career – quite simply, it rox you like a baby! Nuff said!
So there you have it, the first very first in our Dirty Dozen series. Do you agree? Disagree? Did your favorite video miss the list? If so, let us know which one? Also, if there’s a special “count-down” topic you would like to see us explore in our next Dirty Dozen, then let us know in the comments below!