Year in review 2008: Per crashes the party, Marie live on stage again
Happy new year, readers of The Daily Roxette! A year has passed again and it's time to take a look back.
In 2008, there were two news items over the others. Per releasing a new solo album, "Party Crasher," and Marie joining the Stjärnklart tour and performing live after what seemed like forever. But let's start from the beginning of the year.
January went with no major news, but in February we reported about Marie's second art exhibition, "Ett bord i solen" ("A table in the sun"). Her art was on display at the same Stockholm gallery as the first time, although the gallery had changed its name since then. A beautiful, limited edition book of the exhibition was also released. In September, Marie's art was on display in a Gothenburg-based gallery.
Swedish TV4 interviewed Marie when her exhibition opened in Stockholm. In an open-hearted interview Marie revealed that the brain tumor took away the sight on her right eye. Marie also said that when she finally got a clean bill of health in the summer 2007, she became a new person. When the cancer was at its worst, Marie almost didn't have the energy to get out of bed. "The worst thing was that I didn't even want to sing. It's definitely a kick to be back," Marie said in the interview.
The world suddenly got bigger
In February, we announced probably the most unanticipated re-release of the decade: "The World According To Gessle - The Extended Edition," or "super duper extra turbo deluxe with cheese on it" edition as Per puts it. The final version of the re-released contained a whopping 26 bonus tracks of which most were previously unreleased. I say the "final version," because we were able to report you pretty much in real time how the track listing of the album changed. Check our articles for version 1, version 2, version 3 and finally version 4 of the listing.
The quality of the demos on the bonus disc is superb and there are real gems, such as "Elvis In Deutschland," a ballad version of "Elvis In Germany (Let's Celebrate)" with a different chorus, and "Writer," a demo of "Reporter" with pretty much no other differences than some parts of the lyrics (such as the title).
In May, we had an exclusive interview with Per about the TWATG re-release. In the interview, he talks about why the album was re-released and what it felt like going through his demo archives. Thomas also asked him if he ever feels like releasing another album like TWATG: "[H]ell yes, someday I'll make the definitive ultra-catchy-power-pop-guitars-skweeked-to-13-sort-of-record! It would be nice. I have it in my system somewhere. It pops up every other Saturday night when I make silly dance moves."
We didn't have to wait too long for that to happen…
Crashing the party
In October, Per revealed his English solo album, "Party Crasher." The first single off the album was called "Silly Really" and it was released on October 29. With "Silly Really," Per showed that he has moved to a different direction from his previous Swedish solo albums.
"The songs are written in the '70s '80s era type of dance music. The result is a fun album that is both immediate and in your face, but also brooding and beautiful." said Per in the press release. "My wife says the album sounds like The Bee-Gees meet Gyllene Tider. I don't really agree, but I can see her point. It has a sweet disco feeling all over it. But recognizing Per Gessle over the beats shouldn’t be a problem."
Right after the album was publicised, we had an interview with Per who was visiting London. In the interview, he gave insight to the process of making "Party Crasher" and (naturally) about his Rolls-Royce. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet also had an interesting interview a few days later. To Aftonbladet, Per told that he has "three damned great Roxette-songs sitting in a drawer, and just as many GT-songs."
In an interview with another Swedish newspaper, Expressen, Per listed his best songs and the best female singers he has worked with. Marie of course topped the latter list: "It was a revolution when she came into my life. Just like Clarence (Öfwerman), she makes my ideas take off. She made my songs have credibility, as if taken from the Bible. She can sing sexy, softly, expressively. Marie is everything."
The "Party Crasher" album was released in December. Like a few times before, we published a round table review of it.
Marie back on stage
In November, Marie joined the Stjärnklart stage show tour. Stjärnklart stage shows started in 1986 and it has featured many of the top artists in Sweden. In 2008, Marie Fredriksson was one of them. Marie hadn't toured since her brain tumor was discovered in 2002. Now, back in shape, she performed three of her most beautiful ballads, "Ännu doftar kärlek," "Så skimrande var aldrig havet" and "Tro," between the more action-packed dance number.
On the soundtrack
In 2008, both Marie and Per had their music featured in a motion picture. "Där du andas," a song performed by Marie and written by Niklas Strömstedt and Anders Glenmark, was the title song for "Arn - Riket vid vägens slut." The movie was the most expensive Swedish film ever, with the estimated budget of 210 million SEK.
"Där du andas" single debuted at #1 on the Swedish charts - making it Marie's first #1 single ever!
Per's song "Kvar i min bil," a leftover from the En händig man-sessions, had a prominent place in a horror movie called "Låt den rätte komma in." Different versions of the song are played no less than three times in the movie. In one scene, the lead actor is shown putting the the 45rpm single on a record player so as to listen to it.
And let's not forget these…
- In March, the readers of The Daily Roxette voted "Listen To Your Heart" as the best Roxette song ever.
- In April, we had our annual April Fool's joke. This time we reported of Per opening his first statue exhibition.
- Also in April, it was the 25th anniversary of Per's self-titled debut solo album. In October, it was the 20th anniversary of the release of Roxette's international breakthrough album "Look Sharp!"
- In June, a Top 10 list of the most played songs by Swedish composers outside of Sweden in 2007 was released. Per was #1 with "Listen To Your Heart" (with Mats MP Persson) and #7 with "It Must Have Been Love."
- In July, Marie's Swedish ballad collection "Tid för tystnad" was released in Argentina! It was the first Marie (or Per) solo album ever printed and released in Argentina. It charted at #16 on the Argentinian album chart.
- In August, another mysterious thing happened in Australia, where the 1989 single "Dangerous" suddenly charted on the national download charts.
- Also in August, Per and MP received yet another Million-Air Award for "Listen To Your Heart." The song has been played four million times on US radio.
- In December, we reported that Roxette and related artists discography book "The Look for Roxette" has been released as a free online service (still Beta.) You're also able to register for the site, store a list of your own Roxette collection there and buy and sell items with other fans.
What to expect in 2009?
We haven't heard much yet, but at least we already know that Per is planning a European tour with multiple dates in Sweden and possibly a concert in London. The London concert is planned to happen in April. Also, we know that the next single from "Party Crasher" will be an edited version of the ballad "Sing Along." It will be released already in this month. A remix version of "Silly Really" will also be released in January.
And maybe, maybe we have some hopes to see Marie and Per performing together again. Marie has found the desire to perform live on stage again and Per… well, he never stops working anyway. In her February interview, Marie told TV4 that she and Per discuss possible Roxette projects constantly. And Per does have those three "damned great" songs waiting…
Most viewed articles on The Daily Roxette in 2008
- New Per Gessle single "Silly Really"
- Per talks about "Party Crasher"
- The World just got bigger: TWATG to be re-released with extra material
- Silly Really snippet now online!
- And the best Roxette song EVER is…
Releases in 2008
- Various artists: Den flygande holländaren (1988 compilation re-released with bonus tracks)
- Per Gessle: The World According To Gessle (Re-release with 26 extra tracks!)
- Per Gessle: Party Crasher
- Roxette: The Pop Hits & The Ballad Hits & The Complete Video Collection (2CD + DVD)
- Gyllene Tider: Finn 5 fel! & GT25 Samtliga hits! & GT25 Live! (2CD + DVD)
- Patrik Isaksson: 10 år - En snäll mans bekännelser (Greatest hits album, includes "Det som var nu," a duet with Marie)
- Marie Fredriksson: Ett bord i solen (Promo single)
- Marie Fredriksson: Där du andas
- Per Gessle: Silly Really
- Caroline Larsson: In The Moment (Album with one song written by Per)
- Caroline Larsson: Hold On My Heart (Hey It's Alright) (Single, written by Per)
- Opeth: Watershed (Includes a heavy metal version of Marie's "Den ständiga resan")
- Reflexion: Twilight Child (Single with a heavy metal version of "Listen To Your Heart" as its b-side)
- Vanilla Ninja: Crashing Through The Doors (Spegelboll) (Single, music written by Per)
Technical errors may occur.