Roxette just released a new single, “It Just Happens”, and we felt we had to write some words about the song. The release was very much anticipated by fans all over. To celebrate the release many fans decided to change their profile picture to a butterfly, sweet, isn’t it? Another surprise of the day: It Just Happens was #1 on iTunes Argentina today! All very exciting, it all just puts a big smile on your face.
And now let’s get to the single:
Judith: Some people say it happened with some Roxette songs in the past, that they had to listen to them a few times to really appreciate them and kinda fall in love with them. It happened to me this time around.
It wasn’t until I listened to the song totally focused, meaning with my high-quality ear phones, and concentrated on all the details and the lyrics that it went boom! It was the part with “It just happens / you don’t know what’s going on / if it’s new or if it’s been there since long / if it’s right or wrong / you fall in love” that gave me goose bumps and brought me back to some very special events in my life. For example, when I fell in love with my big love, or even back to the time when I listened to “The Look” for the first time in 1989. It just happens.
I hadn’t thought about the fact that sometimes it takes a few listenings to appreciate a song. I then started to think and realised it wasn’t the first time that I needed a few listenings to realise the depth and awesomeness of a song. I remembered it was the same with “Sleeping In My Car”. It was quite a different sound to Joyride or Tourism and I had to listen to it a few times till it captured me. Or “A Thing About You” to mention another example. And then I just realised this is one of the things that fascinates me about Roxette. Even though they stay true to their Roxette sound, there is always some new component in their music. And there is always the attention to perfection and those (what I call) playful sounds and details here and there that you only hear when you mindfully listen to the song a few times. And it is always the combination of music, lyrics, voices and those playful details that makes it magical.
Have you noticed that in choruses Per usually slightly changes the lyrics? (“Don’t underestimate, your heart is never late vs your heart can never wait) Or the way they pronounce/sing certain words? (the first “it just happens”, “just yesterday”) Or those little hidden sounds or clappings or drum beats that just happen once but that you know perfectly when they are in the song and are anticipating them? (one keyboard sound after the second “don’t undererstimate” in the chorus is not there in the first chorus, it sounds only again after “your heart can never wait”)…This is Roxette!! And Marie’s voice is amazing on this one!
Of course, the song reminds me of many other songs, and the more I listen to it, the more connections I find to other songs. That is the essence of Roxette. Typical Roxette with a touch of new.
A great appetiser for the upcoming album “Good Karma” on June 3rd!
Kirsten: Before I had heard the song for the first time, a friend already had sent me a message via WhatsApp telling me what she thinks about it – and I think it’s a bad way to be introduced to a song/film/album whatever by another one’s opinion. Especially when it isn’t the best.
I must add that I am really trying hard not to expect anything anymore Roxette-wise. The Travelling album has its gems, same goes for Charm School, but they aren’t my favourite Roxette albums. On the other hand I want Per and Marie of course to do and record what they want, what they feel up to – it’s what I am curious about. How do they sound, what do they want to tell me?
Another not so good thing was that I had read on The Daily Roxette that Per rated the song as a “power ballad” which was sung by Marie. So, when I listened to “It just happens” for the first time, I was of course disappointed twice, because his words had made expect me something – which I really tried to prevent hard. 1.) This isn’t a power ballad (to me), 2.) It is not sung by Marie. When I hear power ballad and “sung by Marie” I have songs like LTYH, IMHBL or SMT in my head – immediately. I can’t help it; it’s what I grew up with.
So, my first listening didn’t make me feel like 12 again. It was an “ok” song with “ok” lyrics. But nothing that blew my mind.
When I posted my opinion on my Facebook page, some other fans and I started to discuss the song very intensely (that’s what I love about this fandom, btw) and came to a funny conclusion. Somehow, “It just happens” sounded like a Coldplay song to us, “Paradise”, in this case. But since “Paradise” totally reminded me of “Wish I could fly” all I could write was: “Roxette sound like Coldplay who sound like Roxette” which basically means that Roxette sounds like Roxette. That’s the way it should be, right?
And the comparison to WICF isn’t the worst. But after three listenings, I thought that it sounds more like LTYH. So, when Marie starts to sing “It just happens… you fall in love” you could also easily sing “Listen to your heart… when he’s calling for you”.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind artists stealing from themselves. Every singer/songwriter does it often. I don’t care. I just noticed it. And in the end I want them to sound like themselves, this only works when they stay true to themselves.
About the song: I love the sound, it is powerful, it is full, I love the instruments, the arrangements, it sounds very modern and updated. Thanks for finally turning away from the 60’s George Harrison sound. I loved it for the time being, but we really had enough of it!
What confused me from the very first time I heard it was the structure. I couldn’t get my head around it and I still don’t. It seems that the highlight of the song isn’t at the end, but in the first third. There is no build-up. Have I ever heard something like this before? I don’t know. The middle 8 isn’t the introduction to a great outro with even more instruments or another strong chorus. It actually gets quieter towards the end and this surprises me every time I hear it.
I like the lyrics and we all know why they are kept “easy”. I love both vocals, even though I had not expected Per to sing at all. I would have loved it even more if we had gotten a bit more from Marie in the verses (but that’s just me, because I think that both voices fit together like paper and glue, fire and wood.. you get the idea..).
I don’t know anything about the music business or the reception of a new song, but I always find that it’s hard to sell a song that doesn’t work from the first second at the first listening on. Something must set free in the listeners’ brain or soul.. if it doesn’t happen, they will never buy the song. I don’t know about “It just happens”. Maybe it’s a classical radio song that needs a lot of airplay to climb the charts. “She’s got nothing on (but the radio)” did it and this was a song I really only loved when I heard it live for the first time. Man, live this was a killer!
And I really would love to hear “It just happens” live, too. Just because Roxette are one of the best live bands at the moment. They simply rock and some of this rock couldn’t hurt their songs either.
So, long text… all in all I think it’s a good song with a catchy melody. For me, the last single that really flashed me was “Wish I could fly” and “It just happens” doesn’t change it. (But I didn’t expect that anyway. Just keep on singing together, Per and Marie!).