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Italian music site publishes early review of Charm School

Written by Lars-Erik_Olson on January 20, 2011 to , and . Source:

MILAN - Sergio Staffieri, a writer who contributes reviews to the Italian music site, was somehow able to listen to an advance copy of Charm School and has submitted what appears to be one of the very first reviews of Roxette's new album.  Our reporter Paulo Kaltenhauser provides this translation:

By Sergio Staffieri 

Roxette used to be for many years one of the best European pop rock groups, coming from Sweden and placing an epic song like “It Must Have Been Love” into the Pretty Woman soundtrack.

With time, the two (Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle) managed to find a balance and bring out all the components of their own style: the Beatlesian influences, the ballads mostly for female voice, the rock songs (Per Gessle, the main author, has always given space to his beloved instrument, even when he used to sing about loving the “sound of crashing guitars”) and curious pastiches bound more to the eighties both for sound and intention.

Between the early and the mid-nineties they came out with three albums (Joyride, Tourism [which I think is one of the best albums of that period] and Crash! Boom! Bang!) which definitely blessed them, and then – as often happens in these cases – they slowed down and took a break.

Today, ten years after the last album, Charm School is released (EMI). All of the songs are written by Per Gessle and show, it’s unavoidable, some good points together with some attempts  to be (ironically or not, we're not allowed to know) “à la page” or, on the other side, “retro”. There’s always the usual alternation of songs given to his and her voice, their choruses and the mix of the two voices outstanding still today. When Gessle doesn't incline to youthfulness or to pander (some sounds, some episodes like “Only when I Dream,” the electro-funky “She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio), or the closer “Sitting on Top of the World”), he proves once again to be one of the greatest rock assimilators and revisors, with enviable mimetic abilities.

Take as an example the first two songs: “Way Out” sung by him and “No One Makes It On Her Own,” where he looks to a Dylan's America through a George Harrison filter. The first one, starting with an acoustic mood – almost country – turns then more electric, with nice guitar sections. The second one, sung by her, again veined with country and with a piano, features a nice Harrisonian solo. Then there are the classic Roxette songs like “Speak To Me” and “I’m Glad You Called,” which has an acoustic rhythm a bit reminiscent of their classic “Crash! Boom! Bang!” …  the six-eight soul of “In My Own Way” and timeless pop songs like “Dream On,” with its twelve string and harpsicord … and a British-school jewel “After All” that show the true strength  of the duo: songs the stick inside your head and never come out.


Belissima novitpa ! So lets get back to the school days, its time to learn how to charm baby! Rox on !

I think this is a great review that Per would be happy with and a good review for us, I was actually offered the chance today by a UK Radio DJ to listen to all the album as he has been sent it by a certain someone in EMI so they can get a feel of the songs, and I can say he said “I am shocked in a good way at the way that Roxette sound in 2011, they will never get to the hey day of IMHBL, but they can still kick ass”, the release date in the uk as has been stated by EMI is spring but he said March the 28th, the single near that date but he is not sure on the date, but he is hoping aswell that Rox get some decent promo as he really likes SGNO(BTR) I hope you can see this Mr G, you actually have someone in radio in the UK rooting for you :-)


I am so geeked for this album right now. An intelligent review from Accordio - which is a damn sight more than anyone in the UK will bother to give it.

Wow a great review.

Never Left The Joyride..


I hate these previews.

I hate this era of “30 second snippets”

What happened to the good old days of buying the album from a REAL shop and going home looking at the tracklist wondering which is a ballad, which a rocker? Which one does Per sing? Which one sounds like the next single?

I miss the fun and surprise of discovering the album by myself LOL. Of course, AFTER I’ve heard it, I love reading reviews and nodding or shaking my head and thinking “that’s what I thought too” LOL

Anyone else with me?!? :-)

Roxwriter, i am somehow with you this time :) I am however split.. and know if there were 30 seconds available, it would be HARD not to listen to them. But just the other day I told myself it would be simply great to sit and listen to the newly opened CD and be for once SURPRISED on each song, the whole guessing and all.. we’ll see if I am strong this time :D
I didn’t fully read the review when I realised it revealed too much ;)
Marie Fredriksson Online
Be strong, speak true

I love preview reviews like this while I hate 30 sec. snippets! ;-) This is watering my mouth while giving fuel to my imagination of the songs. Aaah, the waiting get’s harder from day to day!

finally here in Italy, one takes into account the roxette! their new single to date, has not heard the radio and even saw the video on TV. It’s still early, perhaps there is still time for this to happen, but we should not “radio” follow the same fate as the singles “One Wish”and “Opportunity Nox” here we have never even been published.

Dream On sounds like it’s going to be similar to Church Of Your Heart then... I hope so!!

I haven’t felt this excited about an album for years, probably since Have A Nice Day was released.


The review is sooo positive, hope to read more like this one. And the album sounds A-mazing, although I didn’t expect anything less!!!!!! Rox on:)

@Roxwriter: Yes I certainly agree with you....30 seconds snippet really lessen the charm and surprise.
@pwwbounce: Very true.....
Coolbluez- - The Place To Be

Well, to be honest (This doesn’t so much include Roxette) I certainly don’t miss the days of blindly shelling out £13.99 or more for an album that turned out to be utter rubbish. Not such a good “surprise” =p

I agree though, if it’s an artist you know you’ll probably like it is preferable to wait for the whole songs - if you can!

@Roxwriter: Wow, well said...unfortunately the good old times are gone where I could count on getting the CD on releasedate here in my small little town...but NO..I won’t listen to any snippets before and didn’t want to know how the songs are sounding and yet I’m still not able to tell you the names of the songs included on Charm School. I hopefully will get my Charm school package by mail on releaseday and than I will lock myself in my living room...get a cold Cider from my fridge and will not be reachable for the rest of the day! That is my plan! Yeehaaa!

I agree with Roxwriter!!! I HATE all this digital downloads!! I think it’s doing more harm than good. Sure, we get to hear the songs sooner now, but I also love when you buy the actual single and cd and put it in your cd player and guessing what will happen when he first sounds pop out...


I must say - this new album sounds like a masterpiece - let’s hope it’s better than Joyride!

I won’t listen to CS snippets too ... I wanna have that ’SpecialNewRoxetteAlbumExperience’ like I had the last time in 1999 with HAND. I want to listen to the new songs from the 1st second to the last piece of sound the first time I listen to them. With high-end earphones and nothing around me exept for their brand new music ... and a good glass of wine ;-)

Agree with you guys. For a fan, digital releases are nightmare. Btw, regarding review details. Let’s bet that we’ve already heard part of ‘Dream On’ in Per’s ‘The cembalo solo is played’ video on Snowfish. ;)

We’re all old. There are young people who never play CDs, let alone buy music...

When I finally get my cds and LP from Bengans I’m gonna switch off my cellphones, close all the doors, put the cd into the hi-fi and sit on the couch and listen to all the songs LOUD!!!

I really can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I the only one who’s can’t wait for the snippets? I think it’s quite interesting to listen to them, because you hear just a few seconds and you never know how the rest sounds... I find it exciting

No, you’re not the only one! Wish I could wait... But I just can’t fight my anxiety! It’s totally exciting and I can’t wait to hear the previews.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not guaranteeing that I WONT listen to a snippet or two. Why? Because I’m weak and pathetic LOL

I just wish I can resist the urge... I’m just excited that the Australian fans will be some of the FIRST in the world to hear the album, who would have EVER thought that would be the case?!?

My heart goes out to my fellow UK Roxers, we used to follow your lead and wait MONTHS and struggle like you, it seems things for us are changing here, my thoughts are with you guys, I KNOW the frustration of what you’re experiencing, BELIEVE US AUSSIES!

Fast Forward to Feb 11... Listen to the cd and rewind back to Jan 21!

Many people have been talking about the new SGNO (BTR) it beeing either lousy or good or something there in between..

My opinion is that it is not bad. It is just done partly in the wrong way...

As I take it Marie and Per are the teachers of Charm School.. (thats my opinion about the theme of the title). They are back to show what Charm is all about!

Why then have Per and Marie seperate from the youngsters in the video? If they would have “Party Crashed” through the wall in the end of the video, then we all would have got goose bumps and big cheers about the video..

This is something i think should be taken in consideration while thinking about the next music video.

This is my suggestion about the video (Joyride had the theme going on and gave the album the visual strength.. why not do the same with Charm School) :

“We see a grey classroom with a bunch of students in there. And a teacher who talks about something very unclearly.. the video could start with a somewhat blurred vision.. quite and grey... then someone would kick in the side door of the classroom.. Marie.. wearing some attitude - teacher:ish but still very cool outfit..Then the song would KICK OF! when Marie pushes the grey teacher aside.. and giving that edgy look to the students and start singing.... A little bit later Per would enter the classroom (or observatorium) from the back and would do what he does best in music videos.. Do his sexy thing with his guitar (i would so like him in slo mo doing that.. walking towards Marie and she doing her own Charm School with the cool lyrics while Per with his guitar...) The point would be to take over the students and give them the attitude of roxette.. the king and queen of pop.. A director with the knowledge and passion about right look and feel, could make it really epic.. (slo mo, right dramatic angels and lights).. Why not even include C&C - cameos as hippie/neverending students in the classroom and then at the end joining Per and Marie at the center of the classroom playing to the now “Blown Away by the song” - cheering students.... Something like this would show the power of charm school.. and the enduring power of Roxette. :)

Though my excitement can betray me, because I wait for such a long time...

... I am in desperate need of this album!!!!!!!


The snippet!

Forget the first single, The classic Roxette is back :)

I LOVE Speak To Me / Only When I Dream! :D

The 30 second snippets sound pretty good.

Has elements of Look Sharp! Joyride and Have A Nice Day, though in Sitting On Top Of The World I heard a hint of My World My Love My Life.

Big Black Cadillac sounds better than what I expected and overall only In My Own Way sounds a bit off.



LOL. Ok. So.

Here we have the test! 3 weeks to go and the snippets are available. Hahaha. It’s been 5 minutes and I’m already struggling and now I have to wait til FEB 11th LOL

Ok. So I confess, I listened to “I’m Glad You Called” ONLY because I’ve heard the song before on Party Crasher so I figured it’s no big deal if I hear Marie’s version... right? :-p That doesn’t count as cheating right? :)

Anyways, I was VERY disappointed when I read they were re-doing what I thought was an average song BUT OH MY GOD!!!!!!! MARIE ROCKS!!!!! It sounds so warm and inviting and the violins are MAGIC!!

WOW!!!!!!!!! :-p

I’m Glad You Called and I’m glad you guys re-did this, will TRY and resist the rest... someone help me NOT give into temptation!!! :)

@Roxwriter: I’m glad you gave in so I don’t have to :-D I had the same thought as you, but I really just wanted to know whether it was really a new version or just a slight update (like the Roxette version of “Stupid”).


Ha! No worries! :-)

Rest assured this sounds N-O-T-H-I-N-G like the Party Crasher version AT ALL (and thank god for that)

Trust me, I won’t give much away, but YOU WILL LOVE IT.

An average song has risen to new heights. So simple, lush and WARM! Amazing. Just so bloody WARM and Marie makes you feel gooey inside, I nearly shed a tear when I heard it... and for me that song was nothing but a throwaway B-side.


NOTHING like the original, you will love it!!!!!!!!!! :-)

But that’s all, I’m gonna try and not listen to others, I think I can hold out!!!


My thought: I think Roxette is channeling The Beatles, only it’s more modern and so effing romantic. Only In My Dream is SO fantastic (This is how I imagine the classic Roxette). Happy On The Outside almost makes me cry... and Sitting On The Top Of The World took me to another world, maybe heaven.

It’s great to hear so many great comments on the snippets.

I’m gonna try my hardest to not listen to them till I get the album in my hands.

But from Roxwriter’s description of IGYC it’s going to be very hard, it sounds like it’s a magical song. I was never a huge fan of the Per’s version.

Listened to the snippeds and what is up with all the country!!! OMW!!!! To many “quite” “underproduced” songs like I’m glad you called and sitting on top of the world and marie sounds like she is whining while singing... I am sitting with a frown on my face when she sings... but

I LOVE BIG BLACK CADILAC... That is Marie at her BEST... Reminds me like the kick as way she sings sleeping in my car!

Overall I’m have a confused feeling as the songs remind me alot of the crash boom bang way of production... Speak to me sounds very much like it could have replaced I’m Sorry in CBB

anyway... feels strange to listen to this album... so far not one EXCELENT EXCELENT song like IMHBL or LTYH or FLAF... but hey they said they are only making music because they can not becuase they want to have a single.. so what can one expect...

The FRENCH LINK has been removed thankfully. That should help with the willpower.

I told myself, if I could survive 24hrs, then I could survive 3 weeks and that’s definitely the case now



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