Ghost Tracks: TOUCHED BY THE HAND OF GOD
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.
Settle a bet here. Was this officially released as a single or not? What the hell happened? Anyway, if you know the answer, comment below.
I know what you’re thinking. WAY too young to be considered a Ghost Track, right? But scratch the surface and there’s a bit of mystery around this song. As mentioned earlier, this was sort of a single but not properly released? Certainly no video made. Was it a digital release? There is a sleeve.
This track started life as a song called “Charm School” intended for Roxette’s 2011 release. Apparently several attempts were made to rescue this song during the 2010 sessions but the song mysteriously failed to make the album and became a modern day “Pearls of Passion” so to speak.
It always fascinates me how a song can be planned as a centerpiece for a new album and then in the end, never make the LP. Didn’t this also happen in the ’90s when Per was banking on “Crazy About You” as a lead song for the Crash! Boom! Bang! album? Regardless, how “Touched By the Hand of God,” in whatever guise, never made the Charm School album and “After All” did is beyond me. But let’s keep this above the belt!
A lot of fans were desperately hoping to hear some of the original Charm School sessions of “Touched By the Hand of God” but alas, we got the T&A acoustic demo (again) on The Per Gessle Archives instead.
This track has definitely got some balls and according to the 2012 Travelling EPK, Marie loves it too! A modern “She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” perhaps?
Aside from the bleeding obvious fact that this is a really good pop/rock song – what I like about it are the little touches that have always made Roxette songs far, far superior to their pop contemporaries. Firstly, the rib crunching guitar riffs are back! Finally! Where you been lately? Also. One of my favorite elements to this song is when Per sings “…just like the funk in Art Garfunkel” and then Marie backs it up with “…as far as I could tell…” – I love that overlap! We Roxers love when Marie and Per trade vocals. Per doesn’t get to complete his “Art Garfunkel” line before Marie leaps over him with her backing vocals. It reminds me of my favorite element in “She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)” when Per sings in the first verse “…what she got, she got to let somebody find it” and then Marie pops up “Really?” – “Oh” – “Yeah?” Fantastic! Elements people! Devices! Per is incredible at inserting elements into a song. He doesn’t just rest on a good chorus and then pack up and leave the studio, job done! No! He’ll add whistling to “Joyride”. He’ll ask Marie “whatcha gonna tell your brother?”. He’ll reinforce a melody with a bunch of “na na na nas”. It seems for Per, a pop song ain’t a pop song until he uses all the devices he can think of to penetrate your brain. That’s how it should be! Anyway, there are far better examples of his usage of creative devices in songs than those featured in “Touched By The Hand Of God”, but this is just a recent example!
Moving on, according to online feedback, most fans were hoping this one would get played live as part of the 2015 XXX Tour. Not a lot of new lines for our beloved Marie to remember and it’s a raw guitar driven track with minimal computer stuff, an ideal fit for the band’s current “power pop” phase. Fingers crossed this pops up somewhere down the road.
Here’s what Per Gessle had to say about “Touched By The Hand of God” in his book Songs, Sketches and Reflections –
“…This was the title track of Roxette’s Charm School album but it never made the record. I wrote it in September 2009 and it felt really good, but the Roxette version didn’t come out right. So we partly re-recorded it for the Travelling album with a different production angle. I gave it a new title and it became a single. I’ve said it before and I say it again: songs move in mysterious ways…”
Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?
“…She said she had a ’57 Chevrolet, there’s nothing more to say, she took my breath away!”