Ghost Tracks: BEAUTIFUL THINGS
FEATURE – Ghost Tracks is BACK! Series 2 of our 10-part special returns where we take a fun look back at some of the forgotten and rarely ever mentioned Roxette songs from their incredible 30 year history.
Song: Beautiful Things
Album: Have A Nice Day
Here’s an absolute under-rated classic; 1999’s “Beautiful Things”. When re-listening to Have A Nice Day‘s closing track, just one word springs to mind – sublime! This isn’t just “good”, it’s a in league of its own.
It’s songs like these that really reiterate the importance of an incredible production team – because for Clarence Öfwerman and co to turn the “interesting” demo of “Beautiful Things, Terrible Things” into this smooth, polished gem is nothing short of a miracle. Let’s be frank, when I use the adjective “interesting”, it’s a polite way of saying… err… well…, bottom line, the demo ain’t good. It’s got this ’60s vibe to it and it’s got this reverb guitar thing and well, thankfully, the final version sounds nothing like the demo. (Not to mention a totally different melody, written by Marie…)
The final album version has so much warmth to it, it’s a very inviting song with a very catchy chorus. The production on this song, much like most of Have A Nice Day, is super smooth – the song feels like a bright golden ray of sunshine on a crisp Autumn day. It slowly pulls you in before all those glorious, classic Roxette elements kick in.
First, it’s just a delicate Marie over a somber string section. The song then takes a moment to change gears in the first verse as a drum beat kicks in along with a piano as Marie proclaims “…the terrible things, like when you wake up…”.
And then, there’s THAT chorus! What a beauty! Whatever the verses lack in catchiness, is more than made up for by the incredible hook in the chorus. “Is there someone, I can talk to? Someone out there, on the line?” – as heart wrenching as the lyrics are, the amazing melody ensures the overall tone is a positive one. All the elements work in such harmony during the chorus, especially Per’s ever so slight raspy backing vocals echoing Marie’s lead vocals – it’s pop perfection from the masters of the game.
Another absolute top five personal favorite that I would love to wax lyrical about is the breathtakingly beautiful “Go to Sleep” – but considering that song served as the closer to the Crash! Boom! Bang! Tour, it doesn’t really qualify as a forgotten song – but “Beautiful Things” feels like it’s the sister track to “Go to Sleep”. Not just in sound either, but also in its creation. While the lyrics for both tracks were written by Per, the music was actually written by Marie.
Taken from the 1999 Have A Nice Day Press Release:
MARIE: This feels like the beginning of a new way to work. I got this very beautiful lyric from Per and wrote the music from that. It was very inspiring.
PER: I was stuck. And then Marie came back with this melody. What a wonderful chorus.
MARIE: First time we’ve done it that way.
PER: But not the last.
Full credit to Marie for that gorgeous melody. Considering all the unfortunate events and changes that have happened to Marie over the past decade, it’s a real shame that she isn’t as active as she used to be in the writing process because the occasional couple of Marie-written tracks that have popped up on Roxette’s studio releases have really enhanced the whole feel of the album – they added another element to Per’s already incredible songs! And while we often associate Marie with songs like “Watercolours in the Rain” or “Little Girl”, she did co-write the music to the ear thumping “Hotblooded”, for instance, with Per.
Nonetheless, back to the ballad at hand, in summary, the best and simplest way to surmise this stunning song is simply by referring to its title – Beautiful Things! Indeed it is!
“…Make the grass grow in the garden, when the rain is passin’ by…”
Thoughts from The Daily Roxette crew:
Paul: A masterpiece of an album closer! Sounds different to anything else of HAND and for that reason it stands out. Marie’s vocals are spot on and the lyrics/music is haunting. A true Rox-gem!
Thomas: Leave me to be the odd man out. I don’t really care for this song, and I don’t really like the demos either. Not my glass of Coke really. Mail Stevo your complaints.