Year of the Album — #035
Roxette – “Charm School” (2011, EMI Records)
Move over, Lady Gaga! Her “Little Monsters” may have just swallowed down 1.1 million copies of Born This Way in its first week, but the real deal when it comes to Euro-inspired pop in 2011 comes from … Roxette? Damn straight! With Charm School, the band’s eighth full-length studio album, the writers of “The Look,” “Listen To Your Heart” and “It Must Have Been Love” rocket back onto the scene after a ten year absense, proving that when you’ve got the songwriting chops to craft great pop hooks, that talent never dies. It just hibernates. And when that rumbling bear wakes up, you better get out of the way, because these hooks have claws!
The album’s already spawned two hit singles in Europe, including “She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio),” which goes balls to the wall with Europop synth bliss, making it sound like the perfect hit from 1994 that, somehow, simply sat in a vault all these years only to emerge to save 21st century pop radio. But “No One Makes It On Her Own,” an album track, may be one of the band’s strongest ballads, and the deeper you dig into this effort the more you’ve got to wonder: where have these guys been all these years? The music proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle still have great music left to create.
Unfortunately the band has yet to put together any meaningful form of distribution in the US, so the best way to get this album is either as an import or via bittorrent. It’s a shame to have little choice but to steal the music, but if enough of us spread the word and show that America has an appetite for some “throwback nineties” Europop, maybe we’ll be given a legitimate American release. Until then, time to spread the word that Sweeden’s strongest pop export since ABBA has crafted one of the best pop albums of 2011 that most ofAmerica may never get to hear. And that’s just plain shameful.