Roxette
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Ghost tracks

Ghost Tracks: HALF A WOMAN, HALF A SHADOW


FEATURE – Ghost Tracks is a new 10-part series of articles where we take a fun look back at some of the forgotten and rarely ever mentioned Roxette songs from their incredible 30 year history.


half_a_woman_2Song: Half a Woman, Half a Shadow
Album: Look Sharp! 
Year: 1988
Track: #9

“…Wash my pain… aaa-waaaaaay”

Remember this one?

1988’s Look Sharp! gets its fair share of representation to this very day. Aside from the obvious big four singles, whenever Per gets the chance, he’s constantly spruiking non-singles such as “Paint and “Sleeping Single.” But “Half a Woman, Half a Shadow” never gets a mention.

This is one of those rare moments where you could argue that the verses are more melodic and catchier than the chorus. “Love always change with the trees, the spring and the leaves, the waves on the seas…”, this stuff just rolls off the tongue.

The other cool fact is that apparently Marie wrote the music to this one. Too often Marie gets tarred with the “ballad” brush, but here’s a classic example of a cool, laid back pop gem that Marie penned!

This track is a lot of fun. Is it the strongest song on the album? No. Could it have been a single? Probably not. But still, it’s very catchy and bright. Very easy to listen to. Years ago, I recall playing this for a friend, a proud NON-Roxette fan. She laughed and said that the song sounded like something she would have listened to as an 8 year old, prancing around her house in a pink tutu. I think she meant it as an insult – I thought it was a great compliment! Deep down, isn’t that what good pop music is supposed to make you feel like? Don’t we all just want to prance around carefree in a tutu listening to pop? Well Thomas Evensson does! OK, maybe not, let’s get back to the music.

Musically, this has a very distinct 80s sound and those unmistakable guitars help give it a very strong “Roxette” feel but what the heck happened at the end with THAT ending? Sounds like the synths were suddenly played in reverse and to me, it really spoils what was a simple, melodic pop track. It comes out of nowhere and sounds like someone had a fit on the keyboards and collapsed on it. Don’t you think? Why didn’t they just fade out on that repeating guitar riff and not add that very sudden and intense synth thing? The ending to this lovely little song is such a shame… a bit like that abrupt and sudden end to the incredibly beautiful “Doesn’t Make Sense to Me” – but that’s another debate for another time.

Interestingly, according to setlist.fm, this song DID get a live treatment and is listed as having been played live in an acoustic version on November 22nd 1989 at Kurhalle Oberlaa, Vienna Austria as part of the Look Sharp! Live European Tour. Who knew? Now, anyone that has THAT rare recording, you know where to send it!

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?

“…Love sleeps all alone, the cold telephone…”

  ★ The author:
Stevo


  ★ Publishing date:

January 8th, 2015


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  • Daniela

    Sure I do remember this one! When I bought the Look Sharp cassette after I had finally found it in a record store in autumn of 1990, I loved all songs immeditely – except Try and Half a woman, half a shadow. At that time I could not identify with the lyrics of Half a woman, half a shadow, and I did not like the music very much. However, this changed over the years and now this is one of my favourite songs from Look Sharp, the other ones are still Listen to your heart, Dangerous, Chances and Shadow of a doubt. Half a woman, half a shadow is a great song to sing along, I could not resist to sing it after reading this article! Therefore, I think that it could be a great tour song. It could replace Watercolours in the rain which has been played since the last tour so that there would be some variety.

  • Guest

    Could you please tell me the name of this font? thanx.

    • Roxette is in Franklin Gothic Medium and Half a Woman is in Times.

      • Guest

        thanx a lot buddy!

    • Scott Johnson

      They used three different ones (one in the header, one in the article and one in the picture). It would be nice if TDR responds to you.

  • Thomas Lawrie-Clark

    Beautiful overlooked song. I can see why Per doesn’t like it, as it hasn’t aged too well if I’m honest. However, that doesn’t stop me from listening to it.
    Per even said that he’d like to play the whole Look Sharp! album live, so he’s have to revisit this one or it wouldn’t be complete. Exciting if that happens.

  • Fabio Deluca

    Not a big favourite of mine. A little forgettable, maybe the weakest track of the album.

  • David Jakubowski

    Perfect ghost track — rarely mentioned and with good reason. 😉

  • Robert Quinteros

    I agree with you Stevo. I like this song! But I also love the ending! the way the synth is build up. Sometimes you have to innovate and during the 80s it was the perfect time to do it..

  • Gustavo Viana

    I first got it on cassette and I thought it had come defective… then I asked the store for an exchange! What a shame!!!!

  • Jhonatan Fernandes R

    i like this song, in fact i think is a little underrated… but C’mon look sharp had so many songs that could be singles on any other albums… dance away, paint, even cry, if it were a big power ballad. i do still like Cry by the way… i coud never give you up also deserves to be at this list… the only song that i can’t stand even that is about to get 30 years old is view from a hill. i just can’t listen to it… i skip it everytime… some time ago i stop listening the album just not to skip that song anymore… but it didn’t work…

    • Alejandro

      Many people hate ‘View from a hill’. I like it, though. It must be the Brit funk: jazz, funk and pop hooks.

  • Ettexor

    great song 😉

  • James Crompton

    I like this one. Actually used to somehow catch myself singing the chorus quite a lot and then think hang on I’m a guy I probably shouldn’t be singing that out loud. lol Look Sharp for me was one of those albums where every song could have been a single really. That’s what I love about Roxette albums is they have so much variety, first with the male and female voices and then with the different styles they experiment with. That’s what made them stand out against other artists as other artists often had just a few tracks you like and then the rest was filler.

  • Looove this one! As you said, lyrics just roll put your tongue, so I really enjoy singing it out loud.
    Oh, who am I kidding, I enjoy singing all Roxette songs!

  • Heartland

    I like the song very much, it trows me straight back to the 80’s and I kind of like it!

  • jesicadp

    Remember ( I Could Never) Give You Up please! One of my favourite songs ever.

    • adela

      I agree, I love it too!

    • Scott Johnson

      I LOVE that song. The remix is nice, too.

  • RobS

    “Love always change with the trees…” I always loved that lyric. Made sense, works well in the song and damn does it roll of the tongue nicely! The whole song has a really nice flow about it. Sure it has an 80’s vibe, but I think it’s still a great song – good lyric, good music – what’s not to like?

    As far as your friends comment, I think that is way off the mark – Rox have a few songs that fit that remark better (eg. MMHGP), and this isn’t one of them. But like you said good pop music is supposed to make you feel good, and there’s not many uptempo Roxette songs that don’t do that, (just maybe not dancing around with a pink tutu though :o)

  • Krischan76

    One of the weirder pieces of Look Sharp!, which was sort of inorganic in total now that I think about it. Occasionally skip, mostly meh.

  • I just realized, after 25 years, that the melody of this song sounds a lot like Efter stormen! I always liked the song, but not the Haaaalf part.

  • Fun fact about this song: It was used in the nationaltest in english in the beginning of the 90´s in Sweden

  • Coolbluez

    I love the ending coz the way the music disappears in the end is amazing….lovely track….i love the tracks from Half a woman-Listen to your heart.

  • Antonio Epifania

    This was never one of my favourites off LS. I always enjoyed the verses but the chorus fell a bit flat… I do love Per’s backing vocals though. Not Marie’s strongest Roxette track but not bad either. She sings divine on it so no need to skip. And for me the ending is cool, Clarences fit worked out perfectly 😛




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