Roxette Pearls of Passion -- view a video or purchase a CD.
Let's get to the point; this is an outstanding 80s pop album, comfortably exceeding all of Roxette's later work. It has the Roxette trademarks of soaring tunes, harmonies and rhythm. However, what marks it out are the excellent 80s production values which make the whole album soft on the ear by ensuring each track receives deft strokes of the engineer's brush. It therefore has great subtlety (which is often lacking on later Roxette works) which help each track to provide hidden depths with repeated listening. The songwriting is consistently good (a Roxette trait if ever there was one) - Joy of a Toy, Neverending Love and I Call Your Name are all great rock/pop tracks. The standout is Call of the Wild which has such emotional depth that it ranks with It Must Have Been Love (an extra on the album).
It's hard to believe some of the other reviewers' comments about some poor songwriting and implications of superficiality (bubblegum indeed...). Such accusations are a mile wide of the mark. This is a very serious pop album that ranks alongside the best works of the 80s whilst remaining individual and providing high quality from start to finish.
If you are a Roxette fan you should definitely buy this. If you are an 80s pop fan then you have even more reason. It won't let you down.
Review by Timothy Plumb
It's important not only to understand the direction Roxette's taken in the past 12 years but to appreciate how far the Swedish supergroup has come in its musical, vocal and creative development. Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson started out on a pure-pop road filled with synthesizers and spunky little tunes, and all of that is evident on Roxette Pearls of Passion originally released in Sweden in 1986.
There were singles from this album that hit big in Sweden, such as "Neverending Love" (the very first Roxette release featuring Per and Marie), "Goodbye to You" and "Soul Deep," as well as a few single releases in Italy and Canada. And this re-release features the original 1987 version of "It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Heart)," which was re-mixed and re-mastered for the 1990 Pretty Woman soundtrack, that version becoming Billboard's No. 2 pop single of the year. Other than that, it's hard to imagine why anyone who isn't familiar with or a fan of Roxette would buy this album.
But, if you're a tried and true Roxette junkie like I am, you'll appreciate this album and even like it. "Neverending Love" has an interesting melody, and "Voices" and "So Far Away" are beautiful ballads. And principally interesting here is how differently Marie Fredriksson sang back then compared to the last five years, when her voice has become softer and a bit gruffer. She almost screams on this album, and it's nice to know how much she's evolved as a pop-rock frontwoman.
Once the 1999 Roxette comeback release is out, you REALLY will appreciate what this band's been through and where it is going. Rox on...