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.
Song: Physical Fascination
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?
“…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!