Roxette
Editorial
Exclusive
Ghost tracks

Ghost Tracks: PHYSICAL FASCINATION


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.


joyride_

Song: Physical Fascination
Album: Joyride
Year: 1991
Track: #13

Well, why not? Here it is! Yesterday we looked at the original troublemaker, “View From a Hill” and now we examine its naughty little cousin; “Physical Fascination” – the song everyone loves to hate. Heck, even Christoffer Lundquist dismissed the song in a TDR interview…

TDR: I think Joyride was a great example. It has many instrumental tracks and all together sounded perfect.
Christoffer: Yeah. It’s a great balance. The only exception on joyride I think is “Physical Fascination” which I think is really bad to be honest, really bad. 
TDR: It’s more like a demo.
Christoffer: Yeah, stupid song. There are other songs that they recorded for the Joyride album that are great and should have been on CD.

Here’s the bottom line. EVERY Roxette album has one of these. Look Sharp! has “View From a Hill”, Joyride has “Physical Fascination”, Room Service has “Make My Head Go Pop” and even Charm School has “Big Black Cadillac”. Every album has that one, ridiculously over-produced, naff piece of bubble-gum that pushes the limit of sugary pop. But “Physical Fascination” is probably the biggest, baddest, mother of them all!

People like picking on this song but let’s be perfectly clear here. When people pick on “Physical Fascination”, what they’re really saying is just how PERFECT the Joyride album is! Joyride is Roxette’s magnum opus – perfect from start to finish! Such perfection – that any slight, tiny little hiccup is compounded and exaggerated tenfold.

Let me explain! “Physical Fascination” on Joyride is like discovering a tiny, slight, hair out of place on the Mona Lisa. If you noticed a slight hair out of place on a kindergartener’s finger painting, you wouldn’t care.  But noticing a small blemish on the Mona Lisa? Well, it’s a big deal because the Mona Lisa is a classic, a perfect example of art for generations to enjoy – any slight imperfection seems bigger than what it really is.

The Mona Lisa is Joyride. And the hair out of place is “Physical Fascination”.

By attacking “Physical Fascination”, you are in fact praising the holiness that is the greatest pop record ever recorded (sorry Look Sharp! fans – Joyride is the greatest. Full stop!)

Now, back to the song. This is the only track on the album that is co-produced by Clarence Öfwerman and Anders Herrlin. This has definitely got a lot of Anders all over this having fun. And why the heck not? Anders was a crucial element to that trademark Roxette sound, that he thoroughly deserved a song to go nuts over and have some fun with.

To be honest, I have no idea what the lyrics are about. Normally I try extrapolate meaning and pontificate Gessle’s lyrics, trying to add a unique dimension to them, but seriously, even I’ve got no idea what the hell “attacking a love jet” has anything to do with anything! But – who cares! This song has attitude and it’s different and a bit crazy but still tightly controlled to maintain that perfect Roxette temperature.

So if “Physical Fascination” is so terrible and such an error, then why did C&C resurrect it some 18 years later on Per’s 2008 solo album under the new title of “Silly Really”? Think about it. Go listen and compare.

But in all seriousness, so many die hards out there would have preferred “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” instead of “Physical Fascination”, but the balance at the back end of Joyride is just right. Doesn’t need another ballad. “Physical Fascination” was never meant to be a single – it’s there to add color and a cool vibe to the perfect collection of radio singles that make up the mammoth pop machine that is the Joyride album. Leave it alone and pick on something else… “Terry and Julie” anyone?

Agree? Disagree?

“…Talk to me, why don’t you talk to me? C’mon and use your body language…”

Thoughts from The Daily Roxette crew:

Thomas: I don’t hate it, and the guitar solo version hidden on some B-side is nice too. It’s not my go-to song by far, but skipping it? Nix. And I can show you a love jet!

Paul: Not everyone hates this song! I’ll put my hand up and say that I tend NOT to skip this song if it comes on.  Show’s some pretty decent talent;  the same team that created Spending My Time/Fading Like A Flower/Things Will Never Be The Same also created this.  It doesn’t sound even remotely like anything else they had recorded previously.  It’s a bit of fun and still sounds great blasting it loud!

  ★ The author:
Stevo


  ★ Publishing date:

October 3rd, 2015


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This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:

TDR:Editorial, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Ghost Tracks, TDR:Roxette.

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  • RoXoR

    hahaha… nice comparison with Mona Lisa and the hair! However to me this song is more like a wart… Can’t put my finger on it but I truely, deeply dislike it! On the other hand, if I hear the bit before I can skip it, it makes me recognise the perfection of the rest of the joyride album…

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Ha. Knew this and View From a Hill would be a divisive one 🙂 thanks for sharing the “wart” 🙂

  • BVerfG

    Again, I think there are definitely worse songs on “Joyride” (“Hotblooded” and “I remember you”), but I have to agree on the lyrics^^ They make no sense at all. Only thing I like about them is the “my, my, my, my, my, my, my” and I mean that says everything, right? But really it doesn’t bother me that much. I even think “Make my head go pop” is one of the best songs on Room Service and while I think “Silly Really” isn’t really the best song on Party Crasher at least the lyrics make more sense than those of “Physical Fascination” (high bar, right?). Hmm “Terry and Julie”…yeah I thought that one was weird. Specifically anything about the song but the chorus feels strange.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Terry & Julie is not a high point for the band…

      • URCogProf

        Ha! Says you. My favourite from the “new” era so far, except for maybe “She’s Got Nothing On.” My son loves it too. So I guess that makes… two of us, then 😀

  • Thomas Lawrie-Clark

    Joyride wouldn’t be Joyride without Physical Fascination.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Agree 🙂

  • Coolbluez

    Definitely not one of my favourites but can listen to it. The song that I generally skip in Joyride and Pearls of passion is ‘Soul deep’. Physical fascination certainly does not fit the standards of a single, but it’s much better than Love spins demo or Jefferson

    • RobS

      Yeah, Soul Deep is one song that has never resonated with me. Not sure what it is – lyrics, music, who knows. I do like the live version from Live-Ism though.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Yes, it’s much better than Love Spins 🙂

  • Tavo

    I don’t hate Physical Fascination at all. Actually it’s my brother’s all-time favorite. In addition, I agree that there’s always a bad track included on each great album but I don’t think PF is he one in Joyride. I would take away Small Talk and replace it by “Come Back (Before Your Leave)” and also “Perfect Day” by “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodye”. The latter makes a much better ending considering the album starts with “Hello, you fool…” I think it makes sense, especially if you remove the circus intro and outro. On the other hand I definitely don’t agree with your choices as bad songs on the other Roxette albums you mentioned. “Make My Head Go Pop” is one of the few uptempo numbers of the uninspired “Room Service”. The same goes for “Cadillac”. Not to mention “Have A Nice Day”: if there’s a filler we should have never heard of that’s both “Cooper” and “Staring At The Ground”.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Horses for courses, but I’ll defend Small Talk til the day I die 😉

  • rad6380

    There is nothing wrong with Physical Fascination! But then there are very few tracks pre 1999 I dislike (and not many after that either!)

    • Krischan76

      Nothing wrong at all!

  • Chris

    I think it’s a good song and it fits on the record. I like the production of the song and the dirty guitars. This song has a great groove. The only song on Joyride which I think should be replaced is “Small Talk”.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      **GASP** – Heathen! You cannot say that about Small Talk! Blasphemy! Small Talk is amazing! 🙂

  • RobS

    I’ve always liked this song. Has a quirkiness about it that you can’t put your finger on. Great chunky guitar riff, nice vocal from Per and it’s just a good uplifting song before the epicness of TWNBTS.
    After so many years, still never figured what he says at 2.00 – sounds like S. O. L?

  • RobS

    Just having a read through the lyrics, i’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s about a guy who’s looking for some “lovin'” outside his current relationship (get aboard attack a love jet heaven and back). He doesn’t want to deal with the relationship stuff (I can’t take no conversation). 2nd verse is him and his mrs, he wants some lovin, she’s not into it, but he’s trying to understand why.

    Might be way off the mark, but I think that’s an interesting interpretation when you think about….after 25yrs.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Ha, interesting insight mate! 🙂

      • RobS

        I thought the same 😉 and the more I think about/listen to it, the more I realise just how good of a lyric it is. Quite obscure but makes sense at the same time. Per was on fire back then. Listening to it as a 12yo it’s just a bunch of gibberish, but add a few years and some context to it and it completely changes the song.

  • James Crompton

    I actually like Physical Fascination. So much that I used it for my song for my performing arts degree performance we had to do and someone said I sounded like David Bowie. haha. I like the lyrics. They’re a little but crazy – “I’ve got find a power station with a beat -I can’t take no conversation.” I think it has funk and swagger and attitude. Its a little bit different from the rest. There’s definitely some worse ones out there. Just about the whole of Room Service for one.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Room Service wasn’t great – yes, Physical Fascination adds a lot of colour to the album

      • James Crompton

        Yeah its very new wave.

    • Yeah, “it has funk and swagger and attitude.” I totally agree with you!

  • roxon!

    I would not skip it at all… “Room Service has “Make My Head Go Pop” and even Charm School has “Big Black Cadillac”.”, neither any of these two!!!!!!
    and just for the record: Joyride might be the most popular Roxette CD, but it doesn’t go as high as Tourism, specially when they decided to used the best two songs as B-sides (I Remember You, The Sweet Hello The Sad Goodbye). Put your best song from Joyride forward, and I’ll knock it off with a masterpiece from Tourism.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Ha! Love the passion but utterly disagree 🙂 But thanks for reading!!

  • Skyrider

    I like the song. Sounds still cool, better than another ballad instead.
    By the way, I think Big Black Cadillac is one of the best songs on Charm School. Could have been a hit as the 2nd single!

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Agree, I love Big Black Cadillac – but sshhh don’t tell Thomas

    • URCogProf

      Love it too! Rox albums need these kinds of songs to keep it all from getting too serious (see: “Travelling”)

  • Robert Quinteros

    its the crazy song from Joyride. So leave it there. I like it and don’t like it. The production is great.

  • URCogProf

    Hey, quit picking on my “M&Y&T&J”!! 😀 It’s pop perfection – how can you not love that chorus?! “Physical Fascination” was always an odd duck, but not a bad song at all – kind of fun, as someone else said, a nice little bit of nonsense before getting to the super serious “TWNBTS” and “Perfect Day.” Wouldn’t be “Joyride” without it!

  • Antonio Epifania

    Well two things spring to mind when I think of this song. Firstly I always thought that this was the weakest song on the Joyride album and pretty much still do but that’s not to say it’s bad, Stevo has a valid point with his Mona Lisa analogy. Secondly I remember some time in 91 going to a friends place and as we pulled up and my parents dropped me off I could hear this song blaring from their house all the way up the street! I sat in the car momentarily stunned “OMG they’re playing Roxette!! BUT why are they playing this one???!!!” However it sounded kinda cool being pumped so loud (I later found out it was my friends brother playing it and it was his favourite track on the album! Go figure). I have to really be in the mood to listen to this one and it’s never a song I seek out to listen to, that pretty much says it all for me. I do enjoy the guitar solo version a little more though.

  • Dan J Kroll

    Weighing in on this. I don’t dislike “Physical Fascination,” but, like Thomas, I prefer the “Guitar Solo” version. That’s the version that I have set to play on my iPod when I play Joyride from start to finish 🙂 I also like “Make My Head Go Pop” and “Black Cadillac.” And I am still picking up my jaw from the suggestions that “Perfect Day” should have been dropped from Joyride. LOL.




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