Roxette – Bag of Trix – volume 3

The third installment of Per’s – or Roxette’s – Bag of Trix has landed.

11 songs on this one, compared to 12 on all the other LPs. Here we get treated with another new song, a few more Marie demos and another couple of previously unknown demo versions, 5 songs have previously been released, 6 if you count “Cake.” Mr Stevo lets us know this album is crap and he doesn’t want to review it… Just joking. He says he has too much on his plate. Although personally we think he’s scared of the competition here. You decide. Ha ha! Anyway, let’s dig in!

1. Piece of Cake (outtake Good Karma)

Thomas: Well, Stevo and I “reviewed” this last week. Meaning: Stevo raved about it and I was merely wondering what it was he heard in it. Not at all an awful track at all, but it’s nothing special in my not-so-humble opinion. I know, I know, lots of people disagree, but I’m OK with that. Stevo is wrong too.
Kai: Yes, you guys really let it all hang out last week and we just sat wondering. Well, in case anyone is still eager to hear my opinion: Yes, I get the importance of the song being the last song Roxette ever recorded but I also totally understand why it didn’t make it to the album. Mildly put.
Thomas: It’s not far from Mono Mind, this one.
Kai: Maybe I know what you want to express but no, MM is way more sophisticated.
Paul: Wow! I’m surprised I’m the only one here who thinks this is a great song. It’s fresh, upbeat, fun. What is there not to like?
Kai: It sounds … cheap.
Thomas: I got the impression Stevo kind of liked it…
Paul: I meant on this review, stupid!

2. You Don’t Understand Me (Abbey Road)

Thomas: The last of the Abbey Road sessions, isn’t it? This is the absolutely best version of this song. Marie is aces here, she sounds so full of pain. I reeeeally know how she feels. And like I’ve mentioned before; this is the third time out of three this song is featured in the Bag of Trix sessions…
Paul: “You Don’t Understand Me” has really been the song of choice so far on Bag of Trix. Another great interpretation of a fantastic song. Is this the best version? Not for me, but this version is so nice.
Kai: No doubt, these Abbey Road recordings are some of the late highlights in Roxette’s long career and I hope you can agree that releasing an EP with only these songs would be a very splendid idea not only for collectors. Do we know if these were really all songs from Abbey Roads now or if one or another will pop up some day?
Thomas: Yes a vinyl EP wouldn’t hurt at all. I don’t know, this was a special arranged by the BBC as far as I understand it. Likely these are all. I see a pattern here – their latest single, two monster hits and a homage to The Beatles.
Kai: Sometimes you surprise me but yeah you may be right.
Colin: Great song!

3. Dangerous (Swedish 7” version)

Paul: This was the version on Don’t Bore Us. Always preferred this intro to the guitar-strumming one. Another long standing favourite here and another song which still sounds great, albeit a little dated perhaps. Hell, it is 32 years old!
It’s not 32 years old!! Nothing much to add here, this is the version that starts with the harmonized “Hold on tight, you know she’s a little bit dangerous…” and not the in itself awesome guitar intro. Lovely song indeed, one of their very best. When I saw Rock Runt Riket in 1987 they performed this and presented it as their next single. It never happened. Not that year at least. Per was giddy as a little boy after it: “Did you like it??” The memories. They should’ve added the Waste of Vinyl mix, don’t you think? Per! We so need a Bag of TRemIX! Due to the exceptional weakness of this song, play loud!
Kai: Geez, took me a while to decipher that TRemIX term and now I’m not sure if this would be a good idea considering that most of the remixes were actually… uninteresting. I do remember they once played this Swedish 7” version on the radio back then and for a moment I thought there was a technical hiccup. Second time I heard it, I began to like it. Still an interesting beginning for this song.
Thomas: “Dangerous” was so close being another #1 in the US, but Madonna (wasn’t it?) refused to budge. Different mix though.

4. Every Day (Demo Studio Vinden 2000)

Thomas: Released twice before, technically. A “real” version on The Ballad Hits bonus CD and a Per demo named “Every Day Outside My Window” obviously with Per-penned music. The vocals on this are haunting and nice, while the piano isn’t as nice as on the released version. As it should be of course.
Kai: As Captain Obvious above has already pointed out, it doesn’t reach the technical quality of the album versions and you know what? This is good. Some songs need to remain simple and honest and this seems to be one of them. To hear Marie performing this tune in such a raw form is stunning. Nothing to add here.
Paul: Certainly a gem that would’ve been great on an album. This version is lovely and I agree with Kai – Marie’s vocals here are just fantastic again. Imagine if this had been a hit and performed live with just Marie on piano, similar to “Spending My Time” on the Crash! Tour. That would’ve been something special

5. The Big L (Demo T&A 1990)

Paul: I was hoping a version with Marie vocals was somewhere in the Archives and here it is. Would’ve been good to have some of the outro ad-libs included in the final version. Sometimes I prefer the demo to the finished version, it’s that good!
Whoa! Recorded the same day as the version released on the Archives, but not the same. This features Marie on background vox, less guitars and, if I’m not mistaken, slightly different lyrics. This is the demo from “The Making of Joyride” where Per is all ecstatic talking about the drum fills and Clare is “Sure… meh.”
Kai: Now, this is what I call a surprise and so far, this is the highlight of BoT 3 for me. A very interesting version! So many new details that (why actually, does anybody know??) didn’t make it to the final version. I’d give a lot to have been able to watch the process and the discussions that lead from this demo to the album version. And why has Per who is a keen recycler of his own ideas never used these items anymore in later productions?
Thomas: Clare said no?
Kai: Years later, he could have asked Chris instead…

6. It Will Take a Long Long Time (Modern Rock version)

Thomas: Still a very cute song. I had forgotten that they made this mix. It was released as the B-side of “Real Sugar.” They removed the strings and added a fiery little guitar in the background. Nice touch.
Kai: Oh, but I liked those strings. Anyway, this version is maybe even better. I guess? Yes? No? Hm… Somehow, there have been different Roxette eras. There was pop, then a bit of punk, then rock, then suddenly electronic vibes and then this laid-back guitar driven pop again and this song stands very much for this latter period. Niiiice!
Thomas: Yes Borat, I liked the strings better too, fit the song nicer. But this is OK as well. Cute cute cute.
Paul: Yeah, I like both versions. The original probably fitted the style of Have A Nice Day better, but this is nice too. It’s a song I normally forget about though. It’s nice, but nothing special.

7. Little Girl (Demo Studio Vinden 2000)

Thomas: The way Marie pronounces “Liddl guuuurl” is amazing! I love it! This version is quite different to the Room Service version other than that, The lyrics strike me harder now, 20 years later. But while the song still is awful, this version is less bad.
Kai: Sorry, you spelled awful wrong. Here’s how: a-w-e-s-o-m-e.
Thomas: Sure, Borat, sure… ha ha!
Kai: I mean really, just listen to the outro alone! And again, why did this not make it to the final one? Can someone explain, please?
Thomas: I can but I won’t. It’s obvious.
Paul: That outro is pretty good! I did like the version that they did on the Room Service tour too. Certainly one of the stronger Marie songs in the Rox archive!
Colin: Great song!

8. Cry (live Norrköping 1988)

Thomas: Taken from the LaserDisc (and VHS) concert “Sweden Live!”, and it was also the B-side of “It Must Have Been Love” in some country. Germany I think. Not a favorite song of mine really, and in this version Marie’s voice gets lost I think. Jonas kills though. However, the best version was on MTV Unplugged, hands down.
Kai: Right, Thomas. Never been a total fan of this song but the live versions save it. Guess some songs need to be played live to live. This is one of them. Like it how Marie is singing the Blues here.
Paul: Live vocals. Just love hearing Marie live. There was certainly something special when Marie was belting out a song live on stage that wasn’t captured in the studio. Another idea for a future release – Roxette Live! Full of magical live performances from across their career. Would be amazing! Hey, even a Live Greatest Hits collection would be a great addition to our collections. “Cry” is the song I’ll most likely skip when listening to Look Sharp! but this version is pretty decent!

9. Goodbye to You (Demo Montezuma 1986)

Thomas: Yes! Another one of those “50+ demos” they recorded in the Montezuma studio that summer (weekend?). Once again I get struck by how great these guys’ voices are together. They sound truly happy here. I’m guessing Per is exaggerating a tad when he says 50 demos… considering we only got 12 songs. OK, Per didn’t actually say exactly that, but something to that effect. Now I’m intrigued to hear the song “Pearls and Passion”! By the way, did I ever mention that the owner of Studio Montezuma is (was?) Pelle Andersson, the boyfriend of Marie’s at the time. He’s the drummer in the “Soul Deep” video, remember?
Kai: No, I don’t remember and thanks for the background story. You always prove it was a good idea we didn’t fire you. “Goodbye to You” for some reason had always been THE song off PoP for me. I know, there were more famous ones but this one somehow set the tone for me. Good to finally hear the demo and even better that we will get to hear “PaP” soon.
Paul: The demos we’ve heard from PoP have been wonderful so far – the acoustic arrangement, the two voices mixing and the early signs of the magic that will come in just a couple of years. Just love it!
Thomas: Indeed, the happiness in those voices. “We’re onto something big here!!” Love.

10. Go to Sleep (Demo Skinnarviksringen 1993)

Thomas: A lovely song. Music written by Marie sitting by the crib according to some interview I saw. Should have been a single for sure. Maybe this is Marie’s best Roxette song ever? The demo is cruder, but that’s what demos are for.
Kai: Exactly and it takes nothing away from the beauty of this song. Amazing how well developed this demo is already. See you in another five minutes, must listen to it once more.
Paul: I’m sure that interview was during one of the MTV Weekends Thomas. Always loved “Go to Sleep” and this version certainly doesn’t disappoint. Lovely lyrics, lovely music. If this was a single, I can easily imagine a video…

11. Quisera Volar (Wish I Could Fly)

Thomas: Another Balada en Español. I don’t think this was an actual single, but it was a bonus track on the Spanish version of “Have a Nice Day”? Marie sings it well, but again, it could be the Swedish chef singing lyrics-wise…
Kai: Spare me the details, please. Still, no matter what, this is a beautiful song. I wonder, how successful were these Spanish versions in South America, actually? Does anybody know? Did the poor lyrics matter at all?
Thomas: No lo sé…
Paul: Marie singing “Wish I Could Fly”. That’s all you need to know. Just listen to the voice and ignore the pretty dodgy lyrics.

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November 26th, 2020

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