The Bag of Trix is a bag of kix!

Blog post written by Kirsten Ohlwein

Volume 1.

There it is: Bag of Trix, Volume 1. The music from the Roxette vaults. And while in the past, this was hardly music from the vaults, because I knew 95% of the songs already – this time I got surprised, like, really surprised.

Before I share some loose thoughts about the songs we got, I just want to add that my heart is torn regarding this release. On the one hand, it is a lovely „hi, we still think of you“ towards Marie. I fully get that Per doesn’t want to sit on these songs for the rest of his life – and our lives, too. And I am pretty sure Marie would have loved to share her music with us as well.

It’s a present, a gift, it’s an homage to Marie, a huge one. On the other hand, it certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth to release this albums almost exactly on the date of her death. But, of course, that’s again just me. In general, and overall, I welcome this release, certainly.

When I saw the tracklist some weeks ago, I already was positively surprised. Volume 1 offers 12 tracks of which I only knew five. That’s not even 50% and so different from earlier „rare stuff“ releases. Yes, I know, I am a hardcore fan and certainly shouldn’t be compared to nostalgic Roxette fans who didn’t follow every release up and down every road. But collections like this one also should provide something to the hardcores.

So, of course, I remembered both Abbey Road Session songs, „Help!“ and „Listen to your heart“ that are the opener of Volume 1 pretty well.

No. 3, „Let your heart dance with me“, came as brand new, as it was the first single off the album. The „Waiting for the rain demo“ has been leaked on some shady bootleg that turned up on a record fair in October or November 2002. I will never forget that day, because the songs on that CD are so special, so good, so Marie. This demo is very special to me, but not as good as the final version, even if the demo is much rockier. I prefer the full orchestral sound of the album version and I am still happy it got this treatment and has been made faster as well.

And, don’t hit me, but I don’t listen to any version of „Joyride“ anymore. This is probably a mix I have never heard before, but I won’t be able to tell you, because I just can’t listen to that song anymore. And, I am sure, as I have listened to perhaps a trillion versions of Joyride, there is nothing there that I haven’t heard before.

And wow, how good is the „Like Lovers Do“ demo?? Recorded on July 25th/26th 1986, and Marie sounds incredibly strong here. After listening to this one, I wonder why they didn’t stick to the original idea to have Marie sing the verses. The song suddenly grows after 30 years. That’s a nice new touch and I would love to hear a version with both voices together maybe?

„Pocketful of Rain“ is a different thing, though. Honestly, if I hadn’t known the lyrics of „Reaching high“, I would have never suspected that this is just a jazzy, very „den ständiga resan“ like version. I had to listen to it three times to finally recognize the song. It is so different, it is so good, it is sooo Marie, it’s not pop music. Yeah, get your priorities straight. While listening to it, it hits me the first time that I am sooo going to miss all these „first times“. The first time listening to a new song by Marie, the first time listening to new lyrics, to new nuances of her voice, to experience this first time feeling of music at all. It breaks my heart, to be honest, to be fully aware of the fact, that the Roxette vaults are not neverending, but they are empty – soon. There will never be new music sung by Marie again – ever. And yes, it sounds super selfish, it IS super selfish to say that, but I am not sure how to deal with that yet. And while she sings to me, it feels like a voice from the beyond is reaching out, like a ghost, like an epiphany of sorts.

The live version of „Wish I could fly“ sounds ultra raw, the same goes for the demo of „You don’t understand me“, which is even more raw than the live track. It’s a nice live track, because they didn’t really perform that song back then, as there wasn’t a HAND tour. I especially compared it to their live version during „Night of the proms“, which I still prefer, because Marie’s voice after her illness was more of my taste when it comes to songs like „Wish I could fly“; and the way she improvised during the Proms. So, her „Fly, oh, baby“ will never cease to exist in my heart.

Track No. 9,the demo of „Happy Together“ which is actually a b-side? I love the song, but it’s not new, right?

Which brings me to the next track, No. 10, „Beautiful Boy“. I assume this one was written for „Room Service“, as it says „Studio Vinden Demo, March 2000“. Ehrm, don’t get me wrong, but why didn’t THIS ONE make the album, but „Little Girl“ did? I am honest here as honest as I always am, and as much as I love Marie’s music, but „Little Girl“ never got me, it never never never got me, not even on the „Room Service“ album, and it’s probably the most boring track she ever wrote, because she tried so hard to make it „pop music“. She shouldn’t have tried, maybe it would have been a better Blues track, who knows. „ Beautiful Boy“ is such a beautiful ballad, and even the demo tells me a lot about how the final version could have sounded. Oh! My heart breaks a bit for never knowing how this one could have GOTTEN me. I love this track and it could have also easily made every Roxette album since „Room Service“.

The „You don’t understand me“ demo from July 1995 is, as stated before, surprisingly raw. I like that Marie doesn’t sing it perfect and gives herself and her voice room to explore the song for the final album recordings. She probably understood what to change and how and why after this demo. The way she varies her voice – I could listen to that all day and just sit and compare to the final version and find out or rather guess why she or they changed it. There are not many sequences in the demo that are different compared to the album version, but there are some parts, and they are gold!

No. 12, „Hotblooded“, the demo, I mean, it’s THE demo, right? Holy crap, where did you hide this one all those years, Per?? It blew off my shoes when I listened to it the first, the second and the third time. And it still does, after twelve rounds of listening. One of my first reactions to a friend was: „You know what? They could have recorded the whole album in that style and it wouldn’t have sold any worse.“ Okay, that’s probably a bit exaggerated, but how good is this demo? I think it’s extraordinary good for several reasons. 1.) You can already hear how good the song is, even without any production treatment, 2.) Marie’s and Per’s voice blending in the verses. Really, play it again, loud, listen how Per is singing the backing vocals to Marie’s leading vocals and understand how perfectly well they fit each other. This was so unique, and if I had a time machine I would go back to 1990 and tell them to record the album exactly that way, 3.) The fun they had together. Yes, it’s the little things. It’s the funny noise he makes at the end that makes her smile. That’s so real, so honest, so pure. Stuff like that belongs on final version, yes, it does, if you ask me. This demo is a real gem and I am happy we finally got it. Thank you, Per, for opening the vaults!

And as happy as I am about volume 1, a part of me can’t shake off the sadness that comes with it. One of the best female singers of the world with one of the purest, softest voices in the world is no longer among us, and it still feels fucking unfair.

“Bag of Trix” track list and other details

The first volume (out of four) of “Bag of Trix” will be out on October 30th. The first volume will contain 12 songs recorded in a period of 30 years, from the demo “Like Lovers Do”, recorded in an early demo session when Marie and Per were preparing “Pearls of Passion” in Summer 1986, till new single “Let Your Heart Dance With Me”, which was never finished during the recording of “Good Karma”.

The track list of the first volume:

01 Help! (Abbey Road Sessions – 15 nov 1995)
02 Listen To Your Heart (Abbey Road Sessions – 15 nov 1995)
03 Let Your Heart Dance With Me (Good Karma outtake 2016) ***
04 Waiting For The Rain (Studio Vinden demo 1997)
05 Joyride (Brian Malouf US singelmix 1991)
06 Like Lovers Do (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
07 Pocketful Of Rain (Skinnarviksringen demo – Feb 1993) ***
08 Wish I Could Fly (Live EMP Sky Church, Seattle 7 okt 2000) ***
09 Happy Together (T&A demo – 1-2 juli 1998)
10 Beautiful Boy (Studio Vinden demo – mars 2000) ***
11 You Don’t Understand Me (T&A demo – 30 juli 1995) ***
12 Hotblooded (T&A demo – 13 dec 1990) ***

*** previously unreleased

According to the press release, “Bag of Trix” collection will contain in total 47 songs, among with there will be unreleased or rare songs like demos, alternative remixes and recordings, Spanish versions, bonus songs and other material recorded between 1986 and 2016.

“Both Marie and I loved being in the studio and recording our music, and now when one looks back on our careers, it’s pretty overwhelming how much material we managed to produce. Significantly more than could ever come out. We were very tagged by the whole fantastic Roxette circus”, says Per with a smile, and adds, “much of what “only” ended up as bonus material on CD-singles in Japan and in some cases was never released, feels today like an interesting addition to our regular catalogue. So we believe that “Bag of Trix” can offer a lot of interesting material for those who have followed us over the years”.

Here is the release schedule and the track list for all the other volumes:

30th October – Bag of Trix – Music From The Roxette Vaults (Vol 1) – Digital release
13th November – Bag of Trix – Music From The Roxette Vaults (Vol 2) – Digital release
27th November – Bag of Trix – Music From The Roxette Vaults (Vol 3) – Digital release
11th December – Bag of Trix – Music From The Roxette Vaults (Vol 4) – Digital release
                              Bag of Trix – Music From The Roxette Vaults – 4 LP Box set
                              Bag of Trix – Music From The Roxette Vaults – 3 CD set


01 The Look (Abbey Road Sessions – 15 nov 1995)
02 Tu No Me Comprendes (spansk version av You Don’t Understand Me) ***
03 Soul Deep (Tom Lord-Alge mix)
04 Always The Last To Know (Studio Vinden demo 1998) ***
05 Sleeping In My Car (demoversionen 1993)
06 Watercolours In The Rain (T&A demo – 24 jan 1990) ***
07 From One Heart To Another (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
08 I Remember You (T&A demo – 15 mars 1990) ***
09 It Hurts (T&A demo – 3 aug 1995) ***
10 Perfect Day (T&A demo – 23 aug 1990) ***
11 New World (Studio Vinden demo 1996)
12 Lo Siento (spansk version av Salvation)

Vol. 3:

01 Piece Of Cake (Good Karma outtake 2016) ***
02 You Don’t Understand Me (Abbey Road Sessions – 15 nov 1995)
03 Dangerous (svenska singelversionen)
04 Every Day (Studio Vinden demo – mars 2000) ***
05 The Big L (T&A demo – 29 mars 1990) ***
06 It Will Take A Long Long Time (Modern Rock Version) (Have A Nice Day outtake 1999)
07 Little Girl (Studio Vinden demo – mars 2000) ***
08 Cry (Live Norrköping – 16 dec 1988)
09 Goodbye To You (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
10 Go To Sleep (Skinnarviksringen demo – feb 1993) ***
11 Quisiera Volar (spansk version av Wish I Could Fly)

Vol. 4:

01 The Centre Of The Heart (Is A Suburb To The Brain) (Have A Nice Day outtake 1999) ***
2 Pearls And Passion (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
3 Things Will Never Be The Same (T&A demo – 13 dec 1990) ***
4 Entering Your Heart (Room Service outtake 2001)
5 Cooper (Closer To God) (Have A Nice Day outtake 1999)
6 Joy Of A Toy (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
7 It Takes You No Time To Get Here (Room Service outtake 1999) ***
8 Before You Go To Sleep (T&A demo – 23 okt 1992) ***
9 I Was So Lucky (The Golden Blow) (Have A Nice Day outtake 1999) ***
10 Jag älskar (Surrender) (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
11 Som i en dröm (So Far Away) (Montezuma demo – 25-26 juli 1986) ***
12 Alguien (spansk version av Anyone 1999)

Roxette – Help! (Abbey Road Sessions November 1995)

On 15th November 1995, Roxette recorded 4 acoustic tracks at the Abbey Road Studios in London. Those songs were 3 Rox hits (The Look, Listen To Your Heart, You Don’t Understand Me) and a wonderful cover of The Beatles gem, Help! All 3 Roxette tracks were already released on the You Don’t Understand Me single and YDUM also appeared on the Anyone single later. Help! (Abbey Road Sessions November 1995) is released digitally for the first time on 8th May, but earlier it was released on The RoxBox. Marie’s vocals are stunning! Listen to it on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube or other digital platforms.

Per about the single:

In these days of seclusion and confusion this digitally unreleased pearl is very much needed. Roxette paid homage to The Beatles on a sunny day in November 1995 at the Abbey Road studio in London. “Help!” is the first taste of the “BAG OF TRIX – Music from the Roxette Vaults” album series that will pop up when you least expect it. Enjoy!

Parts of the Abbey Road recording sessions can be seen in the documentary, Really Roxette. The album sleeve photo of Marie and Per was taken by Marie Dimberg in 1989 when Roxette was in London to appear on TV with The Look in Top of the Pops. You can see this picture in Sven Lindström’s book, Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur. The famous Abbey Road crossing is still very popular. You can wacth it online all day long via a live cam on the studio’s website. The album sleeve itself would deserve a physical release and the song would definitely sound fantastic on vinyl.

The Beatles released Help! (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) in 1965 and it was No. 1 both in the UK and in the US. After 55 years, it still sounds amazing, even if John told in an interview that he regrets a bit that it became too fast, because they tried to make the song more commercial. I’m quite sure he would have liked Roxette’s slow version.