Roxette is back – somehow. I already featured Per Gessle’s follow-up project PG Roxette in the 3rd June 2022 edition of the Songs of the Week. On 28th October 2022, the Swedish artist is releasing his first full length album under this new project name. I had a listen to Pop-Up Dynamo!
PG Roxette – About The Artist
The main person behind PG Roxette is the male part of the former Swedish duo Roxette, Per Gessle. While outside of Scandinavia, many people only think about this collaboration in regards of Per Gessle, he has been very successful in other projects as well. The 12th January 1959 born Swedish pop-rock artist from Halmstad for example had six albums which topped the Swedish album charts as a solo artist. The most successful one was Mazarin, a 2003 release, which was a five time platinum record in his home country. With the band Gyllene Tider (“Golden Times”), there were five additional album chart-toppers. This band is by the way significantly older than Roxette. The story of Roxette felt to be finished when legendary singer Marie Fredriksson lost a 17 year long battle with cancer on 9th December 2019. PG Roxette is nominally a solo project of Per Gessle, he is using original Roxette touring musicians for the recording, though.
PG Roxette – Pop-Up Dynamo – Track by Track
The eleven song album lasts 39 minutes.
1. Walking On Air
The press kit states that Pop-Up Dynamo! is having a style which is close to the legendary albums Look Sharp! and Joyride – but with a more modern touch. The opener and second single Waling On Air does not give too many Roxette feelings to me. Of course, Gessle’s way to play the guitar and his vocals are closely memorized in my mind – but the female vocal collaboration, which is quite dominant in here, rather makes me feel of a 2020’s pop track.
2. Me And You And Everything In Between
The second song of the album give me much stronger Roxette feelings. I have to give in that the first 30 seconds could also be opening an Ace of Base track, but then Per Gessle is taking over control of the microphone – and of the vibe of the song. Helena Josefsson and Dea Norberg, who have been part of the original Roxette backgroudnd vocals, still feel strange to me, though.
3. Headphones On
I would not see Headphones On as a track between the Look Sharp! and the Joyride album, but this one could have definitely been on one of the later works of the Swedish duo. Even thought he song is a bit of thin, this makes me smile. The small tear in my eyes, which is missing the fabulous and unique Marie, is just included in a mandatory way.
4. You Hurt The One You Love The Most
The fourth song is the first ballad of the album. Maybe the hardest task for Per Gessle and his new team – Roxette just had some incredible merits in the past in this discipline. Unfortunately, the rather mystical song You Hurt The One You Love The Most does not connect to global hits like Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave). Maybe you can’t expect a song which is as good – but the distance is just a bit too large in my point of view.
5. Watch Me Come Undone
Even though I criticized the song before, You Hurt The One You Love The Most at least adds a special touch to the album. That’s what I miss about songs like Watch Me Come Undone. It is too ordinary to me. I am looking for the special touch. I know that the debut single of PG Roxette got it. But so far, the key elements which make me enjoy the listen are Per Gessle’s voice – and the fact that this is somehow a bit of Roxette.
6. The Craziest Thing
I somehow like The Craziest Thing – but if there wasn’t Per Gessle’s vocal sound, the keyboard lines would rather remind me of Dieter Bohlen’s Blue System recordings of the 1980’s. This makes me smile and dance – but is that really what the Halmstad guy wants to achieve in here?
My feelings about Debris are somehow similar. I like the way Per Gessle is working with vocal and melodic elements. The song is very atmospheric. The chorus is having a certain catch as well. It’s a nice pop track – just not what I have been expecting.
8. The Loneliest Girl In The World
I feel that indeed The Loneliest Girl In The World is at least one of the songs which come closest to the Roxette feeling. I also like the the stomping rhythm in the background. A certain factor is definitely the clear vocal lead by Per Gessle.
Feel the sunshine
My name is Jezebel
You’re welcome to my garden
The cherry trees, the wishing well
I teach how to dance
The ninth song is another slow track. Jezebel comes with a lot of magic and a beautiful sound. I would even rate the song to be my favorite of the album.
10. My Chosen One (feat Leon)
The tenth song has been recorded in collaboration with Lotta Lindgren – or Leon, how the 29 year old Swedish singer is typically named. The song is cool. If she would pronounce the lyrics a bit of harder and with more accuracy, it would be even more obvious that Leon would have been the better replacement for Marie Fredriksson. Apart from her musical success, this is maybe the reason why Gessle did not go for her.
11. Walk Right In
The disco track Walk Right In rather feels like a Kylie Minogue party and fun song than the style of music I would have expected initially. Honestly, the closing song is a bit too pop-ish to me.
PG Roxette – Pop-Up Dynamo – Spotify
Here is Pop-Up Dynamo on Spotify:
PG Roxette – Pop-Up Dynamo – My View
First of all: this is not Roxette. Even if Marie really wanted the band story to continue, this is rather a new band than a new episode. If you expect Roxette, you will hardly stand the album. If you are open for something new, it does has some nice listens. However, it is still in the pretty average range.
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