Italian music site publishes early review of Charm School
MILAN – Sergio Staffieri, a writer who contributes reviews to the Italian music site Accordo.it, was somehow able to listen to an advance copy of Charm School and has submitted what appears to be one of the very first reviews of Roxette's new album. Our reporter Paulo Kaltenhauser provides this translation:
By Sergio Staffieri
Roxette used to be for many years one of the best European pop rock groups, coming from Sweden and placing an epic song like “It Must Have Been Love” into the Pretty Woman soundtrack.
With time, the two (Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle) managed to find a balance and bring out all the components of their own style: the Beatlesian influences, the ballads mostly for female voice, the rock songs (Per Gessle, the main author, has always given space to his beloved instrument, even when he used to sing about loving the “sound of crashing guitars”) and curious pastiches bound more to the eighties both for sound and intention.
Between the early and the mid-nineties they came out with three albums (Joyride, Tourism [which I think is one of the best albums of that period] and Crash! Boom! Bang!) which definitely blessed them, and then – as often happens in these cases – they slowed down and took a break.
Today, ten years after the last album, Charm School is released (EMI). All of the songs are written by Per Gessle and show, it’s unavoidable, some good points together with some attempts to be (ironically or not, we're not allowed to know) “à la page” or, on the other side, “retro”. There’s always the usual alternation of songs given to his and her voice, their choruses and the mix of the two voices outstanding still today. When Gessle doesn't incline to youthfulness or to pander (some sounds, some episodes like “Only when I Dream,” the electro-funky “She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio), or the closer “Sitting on Top of the World”), he proves once again to be one of the greatest rock assimilators and revisors, with enviable mimetic abilities.
Take as an example the first two songs: “Way Out” sung by him and “No One Makes It On Her Own,” where he looks to a Dylan's America through a George Harrison filter. The first one, starting with an acoustic mood – almost country – turns then more electric, with nice guitar sections. The second one, sung by her, again veined with country and with a piano, features a nice Harrisonian solo. Then there are the classic Roxette songs like “Speak To Me” and “I’m Glad You Called,” which has an acoustic rhythm a bit reminiscent of their classic “Crash! Boom! Bang!” … the six-eight soul of “In My Own Way” and timeless pop songs like “Dream On,” with its twelve string and harpsicord … and a British-school jewel “After All” that show the true strength of the duo: songs the stick inside your head and never come out.
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January 20th, 2011
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