Surprise of the year is that a new jazz song will be released by Marie Fredriksson on her birthday, 30th May. It’s released on Amigo, a division of Cosmos Music under exclusive license from Amelia Music AB. The song is 4 m 31 s long and the title is ”Alone Again”. It’s featuring Max Schultz and Magnus Lindgren. Marie already worked together with these 2 musicians in the past. Max Schultz played guitar on Marie’s recordings and the latest cooperation with Magnus Lindgren was the song ”On A Sunday” on Magnus’s album ”Souls” in 2013.
Marie mentioned it earlier that she would love to make a jazz album. Let’s hope there is more to come! So exciting!
Per Gessle was the guest of the day on P4 Extra, Swedish Radio on 26th April. The interview with him was done by Johar Bendjelloul. If you listen to the 113 min online version (including music), Per is on from 28:44 to 52:07, if you listen to him in the downloadable mp3 version of the program, he is on from 15:00 to 33:27.
Johar first talks about Per’s career that he sold an unbelievable amount of albums, 80 million with Roxette, Gyllene Tider and solo. Then he welcomes Per, the hitmaker music nerd in the studio.
They talk about last year’s announcement that Roxette had to stop touring and that this way Per had much free time left. Per thought he would do something different than what he did during the past 5 years. Johar asks Per if Roxette is over. Per replies touring is definitely over, but if they will record something together in the future, he doesn’t know, doesn’t think so.
The guys are talking about country capital Nashville, why Per chose that location. Per says he started writing songs in Swedish. Acoustic based songs with the lyrics and voice in focus, in really simple production. First he thought he would record in London or in France, but then the idea came why not making the obvious fusion of Nashville and Halmstad. Per says he always liked classic country, Neil Young or Gram Parsons.
Johar and Per are talking about Per’s voice. Per has not always liked his own voice. In the beginning he had a huge problem with his voice actually, he thought it sounded bad. Not that he sang badly, but the sound of his voice was bad. But later he learned it’s special and sometimes it’s quite good even (laughs). He says he talked a lot about it with his psychologist. Haha.
There is a premiere of ”Min plats” in the program. Per says it’s the type of song you need to have on an album. It’s the opening song and it sets the tone of what Per wants to say with this album. There is pedal steel, violin and acoustic instruments in it. Per and Helena Josefsson are singing on this track. It’s a 3-minute-long song. (You can listen to it in the online version of the interview from 32:10 to 35:15.)
Johar asks Per why he chose to work with new musicians while he is known as a control freak. Per says he is not really a control freak, just a little bit. He tries to put himself into new situations and it was really good to work with these musicians. The pedal steel player, the violin player. Per wanted something new to happen.
Per talks about the fact that he releases 2 albums. ”En vacker natt” now and ”En vacker dag” in September. He says he had so much material and it felt too much to include all on one album only.
The guys are talking about the album cover. There is Per’s sister, Gunilla on the cover of ”En vacker natt”. Per’s sister died last autumn and his son found a box full of photos. The picture is from the ’60s and Per thought this one fits the album and he dedicates this album to his sister. ”En vacker dag” is dedicated to his mother, Elisabeth. Per tells his sister, mother and brother have died during the past three years. He has been the youngest in the family and now he is the only one left. It of course has affected him, but it’s not directly in there in the songs. You realize that time passes and nothing stands still. And that’s what you reflect on when you grow older. When you are young, you take it for granted and there is an energy and a hunger that decreases over the years. It’s an important ingredient in pop music, however, it’s not pop music now on these two albums. There is an obvious connection between youth and pop music. Per thinks the task of pop music is to reflect its own time. Pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s is very typical of its own time and also today’s pop music is very typical.
Johar wants a confirmation from Per that he won’t give up on pop music and Per says take it easy, he won’t. Haha. Johar says a lot of Per’s songs and lyrics will remain after Per will be gone. Per asks if Johar really thinks so. He asks Per what he thinks about it now that they are talking about the passing of time and deaths. Per says he doesn’t know, he doesn’t think about it. Johar is surprised and asks if Per doesn’t think his songs are classic. Johar mentions for example Sommartider being played at the school year end happenings in Sweden. Per says it’s just not a pleasant thing to think about his songs remaining after he’s gone. So they just move on to another topic.
They start talking about Per’s books he published 3 years ago, “Texter, klotter & funderingar” and “Songs, sketches & reflections”. Per laughs and says it was exhausting to collect all the things together, because it was too much material. But he was happy that people liked the end result. The books are a compilation of studio diaries, Per’s lyrics and all possible stuff. During the project, reading through and checking all things, he saw how different the ‘80s and ‘90s were. For Per, writing lyrics is a bit like writing a diary in a certain way. Sometimes he writes lyrics including what happened during the day. He writes about things he likes. Love, disappointment, stuff people can identify with. Johar says it’s kind of magical that people can feel Per’s songs are like they are written about themselves.
The guys listen to Dolly Parton’s song, Jolene. Per thinks it’s a fantastic song. Johar says the listeners couldn’t see it, but Per was listening to this song intensively, concentrating deeply on it in the studio. Johar asks Per what he thinks as a songwriter, what is the success behind this song. Per says the songwriters succeeded with everything here. For example, there is the exact same chord in both the verses and the choruses. The same chord goes round and round. It has a classic country text of a nice story. It’s a wonderful song, wonderfully arranged with pedal steel. When talking about the country milieu, Per says, on the new album he used milieu sounds between the songs.
Johar asks Per about songwriting again, if he sees colors when he writes. Per says he is always looking for some certain color, the temperature of the song. In a way it’s hard to explain though that he wants a yellow song with a little blue in it. On the new album there is everything possible. There is a certain melancholy. It’s very melodic and effectively arranged.There is happiness and there is sadness.
The guys are talking about the summer tour. Johar states Per tours terribly much, all his life, actually. He asks Per if he still finds it fun. Per replies it’s totally amazing, it’s the best thing. He likes the creative process in the studio, but it’s damn good to stand on stage and perform to the crowd. He is looking very much forward to this summer. Johar says a lot of artists say they hate touring, but Per enjoys it much. He says there is of course a price you pay, for example you wake up in a new bed each day and you don’t know where to find the toilet. Whether it’s on the left or on the right. Haha.
Johar mentions he read that Per was in Nashville once before he recorded his album. Per says he was, but can’t really remember. It was when they toured with Roxette in the US.
Johar asks Per if he likes attending other artists’ concerts. Per says sometimes he goes to shows, but often it’s boring, because tons of artists have pre-recorded CDs. It’s not like cheating, it’s just a style. Some music in the digital technology can’t be played live. But of course, he likes to attend concerts. To the question which was the last concert he saw and liked Per replies he has to think about it for a long time. He doesn’t know, he can’t say it. And here, the interview ends with this unanswered question.
Per was one of the guests on today’s Gomorron Sverige on SVT. As he mentioned on his Instagram account: ”Early morning TV show. Really early. Really.” Haha. Poor guy, having some long and busy PR days this week.
If you are in Sweden, you can watch the show on SVT Play, if not, then you can watch it on YouTube(thanks to Gaby for recording it).
In 10 years, this is the first material Per releases in Swedish. To the question why Nashville, he replies he wanted to change the milieu a bit, not to record again in Skåne. He was thinking about recording in England or France, but suddenly Nashville popped up. Per thinks the combination of Halmstad and Nashville is perfect. He says he likes classic country, Neil Young, for example.
The host on the show says Per’s music is not really country, but Mr. G says there are country elements, for example, on Mazarin. Now he worked together with local musicians and all the instruments they used add the Nashville sound to the album, but at the same time he wanted the lyrics and his voice to be in focus.
Regarding the duet with Lars Winnerbäck, the hostess asks Per if it is a bit like looking for something new after Marie. Per says he just wanted to do something different. He likes to test different things all the time.
The host asks Per if this project is more about looking back than looking into the future. Per says in a way it is. He tried to write the lyrics from the point of view who he is today, even he writes about the same topics as usual, love, disappointment, longing, dreaming. The host asks if it is easier to write in his mother tongue, Swedish than in English. Per says it is.
They talk about the album cover of ”En vacker natt”. Per tells it’s his sister on the cover. She passed away last autumn. Her son found a box full of photos from 1965-66 and Per chose to put this picture of Gunilla on the cover. The pic was taken in Halmstad.
The hostess asks Per if losing his father, mother, brother and sister had any affect on his music. Per says of course it had in a way. Everyone who loses someone close is affected by the loss.
They are talking about the fact that a second album is out in autumn. Per says they worked fast and there was so much material, he decided to release 2 albums instead of one damn long album.
The hostess says the album looks like an old LP. Per says that was the idea behind the design. The cover also helps to create the milieu of the songs. And it will be released also on LP. The hostess asks why Mr. G thought it should be released on vinyl as well. He says mainly in Sweden, Spotify is huge in streaming music, but it’s a bit anonymous. There are no album covers, but pop or rock culture doesn’t exist without album covers. Nowadays Per still buys LPs and he is looking at the sleeves while listening to the songs on Spotify. He likes to have the lyrics in front of him when he is actively listening to music.
The hostess asks what Halmstad means to Per. He replies he has been travelling a lot around the world, but he always gets back to Halmstad. He likes Halmstad and he likes small town life. He of course likes Stockholm too, but he is more of a small town guy. Lars Winnerbäck is also a small town guy, Marie Fredriksson is also a small town girl.
The host asks about that one English song, ”Far Too Close” (duet with Savannah Church) on the album and they play a short snippet from it. Per says this is a homage to Nashville to have an English song as the last track on the album, a duet by a local country singer.
Per says the musicians in Nashville of course knew the songs ”Listen To Your Heart” or ”It Must Have Been Love”, but they thought Per’s music was strange. Per was happy about it and thought their cooperation would be exciting.
About how he wrote the songs Per says he always writes either on acoustic guitar or on piano. The host asks how long they rehearsed together with the musicians in Nashville. Per says they didn’t rehearse at all. He played the demos to them and explained some things, but then it was more like jamming. There were like 3-4 takes for a track, then they just put the whole song together. The pedal steel and the violin are very characteristic.
Per says his summer tour has its premiere in Helsingborg, but he couldn’t remember the exact date. Haha. First he said 7th July, then smiled and said or maybe rather 6th July. Yes, it’s the 6th. He won’t have Nashville musicians in the band, but Swedish guys and girls. They will play songs from Per’s whole career.
This article contains the translation of the text that was sent out by TT Swedish news agency and was published in most Swedish newspapers yesterday and today. Metro’s article contained the most details and the most photos (fabulous pics by Jonas Ekströmer), so that’s why I chose to include that one here.
Per Gessle is back with new music in Swedish. The album “En vacker natt” is his most personal so far.
I wanted to do something where the lyrics and my voice were in focus, he says.
An announcement was made last year in spring that Roxette would say goodbye to big stages after the doctors advised Marie Fredriksson to stop touring. Suddenly, the pop group’s other half, Per Gessle, had much time left. He decided to record new music in Swedish, for the first time in ten years. Then it went fast.
It’s just the way I love to work. “Now we make a record on Tuesday, write five songs until then”, then I do it. But if you say “it’s going to be finished next spring”, then I’ll do something else until the last week, says Per Gessle.
Ended up in Nashville
“En vacker natt” and its sister album “En vacker dag”, coming in September, were recorded in Nashville. But there was really no deeper thought about it – apart from getting away from his partner in crime, Christoffer Lundquist’s diligently used studio, Aerosol Gray Machine in Skåne.
I saw a documentary about Nick Cave in which he was down in France in a damn cool studio, but I thought that place was a bit big. So we checked some smaller places in England, but then Nashville popped up and I thought, “that’s not that bad”. Even though I’m not a country nerd, there is automatically pretty much country stuff in my music.
The studio we booked in the Blackbird complex still seemed to be too big and offered too many facilities. Gessle and his gang switched to a smaller studio and in the evenings they walked home to a house they rented via Airbnb and shared their bathroom with a bunch of beetles.
Small and intimate, just like the music they recorded. Per Gessle sees “En vacker natt” as a cousin of his “Mazarin” album from 2003 – firmly spiced with fiddle and pedal steel.
I tried to make this record as a unit, and of course I had to pay a price for it – there is no radio bomb here. But I didn’t even want it, this will be something else. I’m conceited like everyone else and want everyone to think this is the best there is. But I also know that very many will find it too slow, too brittle or too fussy with the violin.
Per Gessle admits that his feelings before the album release are a little different from how it used to be.
It’s special everytime. But there has been many things happening now. There was an end with Roxette and there were a lot of family things happening around me while the whole Nashville project was a bit of a “happy accident”. It was such a boost, but it could as well have fallen flat.
With “family things” he means that he has suffered from several deaths in recent years. Last autumn Per Gessle’s sister, Gunilla passed away and when her son found a box of diapositives from the 1960s, he decided to dismiss the album cover photos already taken by Anton Corbijn.
“En vacker natt” has a picture of Gunilla and “En vacker dag” has a picture of mother Elisabeth, who passed away in 2013. These are Per Gessle’s first solo records where he is not visible on the cover.
Paradoxically, I think these are my most private and personal records. But after these pictures appeared, there was no reason to have me on the cover. These pictures set a feeling.
TT: Why do you think the music became personal and private?
I don’t know. As I said, I want to work fast and then just pour out what comes naturally. Sometimes it feels like the songs come by themselves. And many of these texts have just emerged, it’s nothing I’ve been looking for and thought out, it just fell down. Sometimes it feels like it has taken 58 years for them to arrive.
Per Gessle releases two new albums this year. The first, “En vacker natt” will be released on April 28th. “It’s an acoustically affected album, recorded in Nashville”, he says.
After this year’s two albums and a tour, Per Gessle has no plans. “We’ll see, I have a partly new band and I feel it’s much fun to play with them, so maybe we have to do something more”, he says.
For Per Gessle, the order of songs and the album covers are still important. “Via the cover, you can reinforce what you want to present and it’s similarly important to present the songs in the right order so that you come right into the idea. It’s like an art exhibition or TV series or anything. If the pilot part is very good so you get curious”, he says.
The opening song on “En vacker natt” is “Min plats” – a song that sets the tone for the entire Nashville project. “There you get it all, the violin and pedal steel stuff, the ease, the summer feeling, the sentimentality and a little black in the middle of it all. If you like it, you want to go on”, says Per Gessle.
Facts: Per Gessle
Born 1959 in Halmstad. After his years in Gyllene Tider and Roxette, he is one of Sweden’s most successful artists and songwriters of all time.
Solo albums:“Per Gessle” (1983), “Scener” (1985), “The World According to Gessle” (1997), “Mazarin” (2003), “Son of a Plumber” (2005), “En händig man” (2007), “Party Crasher” (2008).
Gyllene Tider albums: “Gyllene Tider” (1980), “Moderna tider” (1981), “Puls” (1982), “The Heartland Café” (1984), “Finn 5 fel!” (2004), “Dags att tänka på refrängen” (2013).
Current: his new album, “En vacker natt” will be released on April 28th. The album contains duets with, among others, Lars Winnerbäck and Savanna Church. The sister album, “En vacker dag” is released in September and contains duets with Linnea Henriksson and John Holm. Goes on a big tour this summer.
… the album covers with his sister’s and mother’s pictures: “Anton Corbijn rang when I was in Nashville. He was in New Orleans and shooted Arcade Fire so he said ‘oh, are you there, can I get over and we’ll do a photo session? ‘. Of course, so I cancelled one day in the studio and then we did a photo session in Nashville milieu, it was perfect. His images were supposed to be on the covers, he shooted many of my other records. But then my sister died and her son found a box of diapositives from 1965-1966 or so. I was in some pictures and that was just before I got glasses. The quality of the pictures is so beautiful, those colors. So I told Anton that ‘sorry, there won’t be any covers this time’.”
… what he will play on the summer tour: “Yes, that’s a good question. I haven’t really decided yet. I have a partly new band with violin and pedal steel so there are endless possibilities to rearrange songs and maybe have some Roxette songs in this form. To arrange my solo songs in this way is not that hard, but it would be exciting to arrange for example “It Must Have Been Love” with a little violin. My ambition is to play songs from my whole song catalogue, if you say so. I’m getting old so there are quite a lot of songs.”
… making 2 short records instead of 1 long: “I had the options either to ‘kill my darlings’, remove four songs and let them become bonus tracks on Spotify, or make a double album – and that doesn’t really makes sense nowadays. Or, to do what I did, two albums with a little ‘space’ between them. If you like the first album, you will like the second. The only negative is that if I play something from the other album this summer, nobody has heard that music. But even conceptually, it’s damn exciting, because for example I can make two cool album covers. I really love that you can extend the idea of the music via the album cover and how it’s presented visually.”
Anders Nunstedt posted a pic of himself and Per Gessle on Instagram yesterday and wrote he did an interview with Mr. G. Despite the title (”Per Gessle about life with his love, Åsa”), the article is more about Per’s new album, En vacker natt and the recording process. The interview was done at BMG’s office in Stockholm.
As Anders writes, Per Gessle travelled to Nashville and came home with 2 pop albums colored by sentimental American country and Swedish romance. The first album, En vacker natt is out on Friday (28 April), then comes a summer tour, En vacker kväll and in September the 2nd album, En vacker dag is released. Per describes it enthusiastically as a gigantic comeback, spiced with an extensive signing tour in the next few weeks.
About the project Per says:
There’s no need to stop just because you get older. These songs have taken 58 years to mature.
Regarding songwriting Mr. G tells Anders he tries to write fast when he gets started. The songs have been recorded in a studio in Nashville, the country metropolis, where Per and his gang rocked together with American studio musicians. This musical meeting gave the Swedish material a different touch and Per, at least partly, a new sound. Mr. G thinks it was much fun, because he had never met those people before and he noticed that they thought it was very strange music they did. But Per thought there was a sound in this project that those Nashville musicians have never played before. And then he became a little proud.
As Anders expresses himself, En vacker natt is not about a jet-set life. It’s down to earth from start to finish. Gessle has collected children’s laughter, birdsong, ocean waves and the sound of a train station. He sings about tussilagos on the single, Småstadsprat, the Winnerbäck duet and about daisies in the opening track Min plats.
It’s my style when I’m writing texts. If I succeed, the lyrics mean something for the listener. To do that, I have to use symbols. If I write “ny tussilago vid den väg jag går, kommer varje vår” (new tussilago on the way I go, comes every spring), I say at the same time, “there will be new chances”, “next year comes a new journey”, “life goes on”. You can interpret this in so many different ways.
Anders asks Per if it often becomes sentimental. Per replies it does. Even if he always writes the same thing, he has tried to write from another angle now. For example, Några glas rosé is a pretty classic love text, but the angle is that he being older looks back on a young love. This way there is automatically a certain form of sentimentality. Mr. G says it’s a bit sad that time goes by. It might be scary and insanely strange, but you can also use it as an ingredient and an inspiration.
Anders asks Per if the lyrics of his love songs are about his wife, Åsa. Per is laughing and tells Mr. Nunstedt that if it’s love texts, Åsa thinks he wrote them about her, but if she doesn’t like the lyrics, she doesn’t take the song personal. Haha.
Anders says Per and Åsa have been married since almost 25 years and asks how they kept their love alive. Per says:
We’ve been together since 1984. It’s a long time. But Åsa and I have always belonged to each other in a certain way, ever since we first met. I can’t see my life without her at all.
We are very similar and very different. Åsa is a superstrong person, but at the same time she has chosen to be in a supporting role to me.
Per tells Åsa is from the travel industry and started working early with Roxette and their travels, and got a position in the whole organization. So it has never been the case that Per had been away for eight months and came home, but they basically shared everything. Mr. G says his wife has been amazing.
Thanks for the interview, Expressen! An album review by Anders Nunstedt (as usual) is probably out later this week. Let’s see how many Expressen bees Per’s new album gets!
Swedish Radio (Kulturnytt P4) tried to reach Per Gessle after yesterday’s great news about his 2 new solo albums. They write that Per is now in Nashville and they interviewed him via e-mail.
Swedish Radio asked Per what made him want to do duets with Lars Winnerbäck, Linnea Henriksson and John Holm. Mr. G says often cooperates with Helena Josefsson when he is making his solo albums. This time she is there again and is doing backing vocals on almost all songs and sings one song in duet with Per. Per says Helena is incredibly talented and always lifts his songs to the sky. Their voices are a perfect match. But when Mr. G started writing last summer, he started thinking about male duet partners. A regular duet can bring a different angle to the text. When a guy and a girl sings it sounds in a certain way, but when 2 guys or 2 girls are singing, it becomes something totally different. Interesting.
Per says he has many things in common with Lars Winnerbäck. Small-town background and quite similar taste in music even if Mr. G is older. Per always liked Lars. They met at Sofiero in Helsingborg when he was on tour last summer and Per asked if he wanted to sing a duet. Thank God he wanted.
Besides Helena Josefsson there were other musicians involved: Christoffer Lundquist, Clarence Öfwerman and Anders Herrlin. They were also there in Nashville to record the songs.
The autumn album will contain duets with Linnea Henriksson and John Holm. Per says John Holm was one of those who made him start writing his own songs when he was fourteen, so it’s a personal highlight in Per’s life to record with John Holm. According to Per, John Holm is still a unique singer and personality.
Regarding Linnea Henriksson Per says he had an uptempo song he thought Linnea could sing the chorus on. But after a few weeks in Nashville, he realized that it did not fit into the project, so he put it on hold. But then he had another song that screamed for Linnea’s blue tones and it became so fine. Per is very happy and proud that Linnea wanted to cooperate.
Per says to his great surprise, he had studio time left when they were done with the 14 Swedish songs. Then he thought he could do duets in English with country-girls too. He had two quite newly written songs that he thought would be great to record in the Nashville environment. He called some friends in Nashville’s music industry and got tips on 2 talented girls, Savannah Church and Jessica S. who suddenly appeared and rounded off this incredibly exciting project.
To Swedish Radio’s question regarding how Per would describe the album he said he have tried to make very beautiful songs, arrangements and productions. Stripped down, but efficient. He went started the project with no limits and rules, he didn’t want to sound a certain way or do anything in a format which is now unfortunately characterizes the entire music industry. He wanted the local musicians to be part of and create the songs’ design. Per let them play on almost all songs to see what happens, then they edited it all afterwards and took away what they thought didn’t fit.
Per’s solo projects in Swedish are always quite text-oriented. So it is this time. Perhaps more than ever.
Each song has its own story, it’s about being young and getting older. To look back but also dare to look ahead. Happiness, but also disappointment. About things don’t always turn out as planned or as expected. I have lost my mother, brother and sister in the last three years and it has certainly put its weight on the lyrics and my life in general. But life goes on.
To Swedish Radio’s question if there will be duets on stage, Per replied who knows. He has the habit from Roxette.
The first album, En vacker natt, will be out on April 28th. The first single “Småstadsprat“, a duet with Lars Winnerbäck, will be released on March 17th.
The second album, En vacker dag, will be released on September 1st.
Roxette released their long-awaited first single off the 10th studio album on 8th April. It Just Happens is one of the 11 songs on the album and as Per says, it’s one of his favourite tracks on Good Karma. It was written in May 2014 and it was one of the first songs they recorded for the album. They chose it as a first single, because it’s great to have a little bit of Marie, a little bit of Per, a little bit of you and a little bit of everyone in it. Marie and Per promotes their new single together in THIS video.
The album is out on 3rd June in 3 formats: digital, CD and LP. You can have a look at the items on Bengans, Ginza, CDON, Amazon, etc. and you can pre-order it on iTunes as well. Being a worldwide release, you will probably find at least the CD in a record shop / petrol station near you. A limited edition coloured vinyl popped up only at Bengans so far. We don’t know much about how many copies are planned to be released from it and if it has any other limited edition feature (e.g. a bonus track) besides being coloured. Well, Per mentioned some time ago that they had 20 songs for the album and recorded 14 properly. Now there are 11 tracks on the album, so what’s with those 3 other properly recorded songs? They might turn up as bonus tracks somewhere and we hope to hear the demos, too.
In a recent interview Per says good karma is a positive thing and sums up Roxette’s special history. They had all the success, then came all the disaster when Marie got ill in 2002, then they did their 2009 comeback against all odds. He states:
We want to make a positive statement with this album. There is a certain positiveness around the whole album.
The 10th album will be the shortest Roxette record with its 38 minutes, but each and every song has an exciting title and I think It Just Happens was a great teaser track for the whole thing. Marie says:
I look forward to the release of our album ”Good Karma” in June – for me it’s our best album ever!
Warner Music did a great job with the promotion of the single, now let’s hope they keep up the good thing and promote the album at least as enthusiastically. What else? Oh yes. Let’s hope the radios start playing It Just Happens worldwide at last.
It’s a torture to wait until 3rd June! Until then, some interviews will surely see the light of day, as Per posted about some phoners he did today. Looking very much forward to hear / read them all!
Thanx for the back cover with corrected aspect ratio, Roxette Cafe!
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!).
April 8th is a special date for Roxette, as on that day back in 1989 Roxette reached #1 on the Billboard with The Look, their first number 1 in USA and the song that meant their breakthrough.
Twenty-seven (yes, 27!) years later, Roxette has decided to release their new single “It Just Happens” on this date. This is the first single off “Good Karma”, Roxette’s 10th album that will be released on June 3rd. The album will also be released on vinyl!
In the press release sent out today, Per explains “we wanted to mix the classic Roxette sound with a modern and somehow unpredictable production to create an interesting sound where one can both recognise us and experience something new”. The song “was one of the first songs written for the album and quickly became one of the key songs” and was therefore chosen as the first single.
Promotion for the song has just started, do not miss the butterfly on all social media! This is going to be a great 30th anniversary year!
Expressen (rating 3/5, “the production has style and fantasy”) and Aftonbladet (rating 3/5, stating the song is “surprisingly good” and “who would have thought Roxette do have so strong and melancholic melodies in 2016?”) also already reviewed the single.
The track list of the album is as follows:
01. Why Don’tcha?
02. It Just Happens 03. Good Karma
04. This One
05. You Make It Sound So Simple
06. From a Distance
07. Some Other Summer
08. Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?
09. You Can’t Do This to Me Anymore
10. 20 bpm 11. April Clouds
I think the first time we could hear about the song It Just Happens was when Marie’s biography was published. It turns out that the song was recorded in September 2014 at Marie’s studio, Vinden. There was Marie, Per, Clarence and Christoffer to record it. In the book you can read it’s a typical Roxette ballad, like It Must Have Been Love, Vulnerable or Spending My Time.
This is what Per said about the song in October 2015:
Yes, I can now confirm that this is true. One of the brand new songs is called IT JUST HAPPENS. And it’s big and bold and done with love. It’s ready for mix, mastering and eventual human digestion. Stay tuned, folks. /P.
Mr. G confirmed in an interview done by Swedish Radio that the single would be out in April and a video is in the making.
Then came 1st April and the cover of the single popped up. Ojojoj. Most of us thought it was an April fools day joke. I mean the layout of the cover. What the hell is that butterfly with sun-go-down wings and guitar ass doing on the cover? It looks like a cheap and weak Photoshop attempt. Then more and more links appeared to the single and that the release date is 8th April. Oh well… it’s not the first time we don’t like the cover of a Roxette album and seeing this, I’m afraid it’s not the last time either. More important is how the song sounds. You know me, I’m usually one with the most positive approach towards Roxette and their stuff, no matter what they do, but this cover put my expectations and excitement at a lower level. So I hoped for an awesome song at least, if the cover is not the funkiest anyway.
Why to wait until the official release date? These days, in the world of digital music consumption new stuff is released digitally first and maybe even sooner than the official date. It has just happened now. The song is already available on Deezer[The link didn’t work for a while, since Deezer was too early to make it public. /PP] and on Roxette’s Soundcloud page. Oh yeah. The cover of the single is really THAT one. Gosh… I try to get over it, I promise.
The song, I thought it would be more of a sung-by-Marie type of typical Roxette ballad, so the first surprise came when I heard Per start to sing. To me it’s a little bit of Vulnerable, yes, but more Cooper! A Thing About You and Speak To Me also came to my mind while listening to it. It Must Have Been Love? No, the song is definitely not of that caliber, I would say. But I don’t mind. I find the song attractive and powerful, sounds like classical Roxette, but fresh! I love Marie’s high tones and how Marie’s and Per’s voices blend. By the way, is it me or Per really sounds a bit like David Bowie here? The song is on repeat since at least an hour, so counting with its 3:46 length, I listened to it at least 15 times already. And hey, I can already sing along by heart! OK. Me likes the song and I almost forgot about the cover. 😉 Hopefully, there will be a physical release as well.
It Just Happens
It’s a cabaret, taking over on a quiet lazy backseat day
And it’s so beautiful
Like the sunshine on your balcony
Your heart is never late
And love will always find a way
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
You fall in love
You don’t have a say
Just let it slide and close your eyes and watch the passion play
Your heart can never wait
And love will always find a way
You’ll fall in love
It just happens
You’ll fall in love
It just happens
Your heart can never wait
Love will always find a way
It just happens and you don’t know what’s going on
IJH makes me curious about the rest of the songs on the upcoming album. Hearing how It Just Happens starts, it is for sure not the intro song. Will it be an uptempo hit then? Most probably. We have to wait until 3rd June to find out. That is the release date of the new album. Oh and don’t forget, a video is coming, too! Hopefully, without any butterflies.
As Per confirmed it a couple of weeks ago, one of the new songs off the upcoming Roxette album will be out in a French DJ’s interpretation before we have the chance to hear the original version. Sebastien Drums, who says it’s ”a pleasure to work with legends”, posted a pic on Instagram at the end of July showing his monitor how he was finishing Some Other Summer.
One month later he also posted about shooting a video for this new track where he used the original Roxette vocals, but remixed the song itself.
The video clip of my new track featuring Roxette is done. Such a good experience! Big thanks to the entire team ( director, drone operator, actors, etc ). Bye bye IBIZA !! Cant wait to see the final result
Hopefully, the video will be checked by Roxette before it’s out and there won’t be any similar issues to the ones with the Heikki L video. Well, at least Per shared SD’s post about the shooting with this text:
YEP, Good luck with the video, Seb!!
For all you curious ones… SD has made his own interpretation of one of the new Rox songs (you’ll find the “original” version on the new Rox album early next year) and we think it sounds really cool. Badabam, P.
So sadly, we can listen to the original version only early next year.
We’ve been expecting a Sebastien Drums single to be released and it’s surely still a plan, we just don’t know any exact date for the single and the video releases. Now it turned out the track will also be included in a big DJ project. According to Warner, a double CD with the title DJs – Die neuen Superstars will be released on 25th September. Some Other Summer is on CD1 as Track 18 – Sebastien Drums feat. Roxette and it will be 3:13 long. Here you can see the front and back covers of the CD.
It seems to be an even bigger project, since there will also be a long documentary under the same title as the CD on German VOX TV on 3rd October. Besides many other DJs (e.g. David Guetta, Avicii), Sebastien had also been interviewed for the docu, but probably, he talks only about his own DJ stuff there.
The double CD with the DJ version of Some Other Summer on it you can buy on Amazon.de and the track can be bought in mp3 as well. Available from 25th September. German iTunes has listed it, too and there you can listen to a 1.5-minute-long snippet, so you can judge yourself how it sounds. An Ibiza video will absolutely fit it.
Looking forward to hearing the original version with hopefully more Roxette-ish sound!
Since the news about the collaboration between Roxette and KappAhl was shared, we’ve been looking forward to the 2015 remake of one of Roxette’s most iconic songs, The Look. Many fans are rather hungry for some new Roxette songs instead of hearing a ”hundredth” version of The Look, but the time will come also for the new single and album soon.
When the track list of Travelling had been revealed before the album’s release date and we saw It Must Have Been Love as the closing song, I remember many of us were quite skeptical and couldn’t decide if we wanted to hear another version of IMHBL. We had to wait until the album was out and oh the emotions many of us had when first hearing the song (besides all other tracks on the record) I still remember clearly. It sounded like a different song, but still Roxette, still there was the essence of one of the Billboard No. 1 songs and the music and vocals were just perfect.
The first very short snippet of The Look 2015 remake KappAhl shared some weeks ago already sounded extremely promising and hoped for similar feelings as with Travelling when the complete song sees the light of day. Now the remake is out digitally in 2 versions. (A physical 7-inch vinyl single will be released on 28th August.) LISTEN TO IT ON SPOTIFY HERE! Different emotions than with IMHBL for sure, but again there is this aaaahmazement. Very much 21st-century-like! Even if the original The Look would still be a hit if it was released today as Per also says it in interviews, now the remake has this sound of nowadays. I think Addeboy vs. Cliff added a bit too much of their touch here and there and the instrumental version might not going to be our fave version of The Look, but the vocals in the non-instrumental version are incredibly powerful! If you watch the making of video, you can see how much fun it must have been both for Marie and Per, as well as for Clarence, Pelle and Christoffer to record this remake. THIS VIDEO is an absolute highlight of the project!
Is this remake a kind of prediction how (at least some songs) will sound on the new Roxette album? We’ll see. Hopefully, still this year.
P.S.: Bassflow is hard to beat when it comes to remakes, but The Look remake 2015 comes close after. At least I think so.
Stills are from the making of video. Directed and edited by Henrik Hanson.
As Expressen informed, there will be more material focusing on “The making of The Look” from the X-Level Studios recordings. They claim it will be available on 14th July. However, now that there is an exact date for the digital release, it could be that the making-of stuff will also be broadcast / shared the same day, 17th July. We’ll see.
In case you missed the hi res files (Roxette pictures and videos related to the KappAhl campaign), check them at this link: press.bindefeldab.se (username: kappahl; password: press). Beautiful things!
Update on 27th June: According to a recent Billboard magazine interview with Per, a physical 7-inch vinyl single will be released on 26th August.
Dea Norberg’s EP “Storm” is out today, October 1st.
The EP, which is produced by Andreas Dahlbäck, was recorded in April 2014. The four songs were written in Southern Sweden. “That’s where I find my inspiration and whenever I have days off, I escape to this place where music and nature are my best friends. It’s about finding the balance in all you do,” she tells in the press release. Two of the songs are co-written with Jens Frithiof.
Dea joined the Roxette world tour in January 2012 and decided to record and release this EP after getting many questions from fans about her solo music. So thanks to the fans the EP is now a reality! You will be able to see Dea in the Roxette tour which starts this month in Russia.
This is the tracklist:
01. Stay For A While
03. Have You Ever
The EP is available both digitally and physically in the following links: Ginza.se | CDON.se | CDON.eu | Amazon | Spotify. Dea informed us that there will be more possibilities for fans around the world to get the physical EP. More info coming soon.
I had the chance to listen to the album and I love it! The songs are very inspiring, relaxing, you feel the connection Dea has with nature and Dea’s creativity. The combination of all instruments with Dea’s voice is captivating. I interviewed Dea last weekend, interview will be published soon!
Surprise of the night! Even if the official release date is 24th September, all volumes of The Per Gessle Archives are available already on Spotify and on iTunes(maybe not in all countries yet)! Well, all volumes, except The Roxette Demos!, Vol. 5, which is on a LP in the box and is not planned to be released digitally. At least not in the very near future. Probably more streaming sites will have TPGA, but don’t forget to order the real deal, the box itself! Here you have some possibilities to order it: Bengans, Ginza, CDON. If you were an early bird, you probably pre-ordered the box, so you’ll get your signed copy in some days. Remember to check your signed copy thoroughly, since Per wrote a hidden message on one of them. If you are the lucky one, please, post a photo of your box! We are dying of curiosity! 😉
As Per shared the info in September, he wrote a special “message” on one of the signed boxes. Today it turned out that the special box has a Leif on it besides Per’s signature. The fan who got it, Álex Usero ordered it from Ginza. Great that it’s a hardcore fan who got this special item. Congrats!