The guitar riff, the airy and slightly dull 80's drums and so the characteristic sight loop. Some songs are recognized immediately, and Roxette's The Look is just that. Introt is a nice tummy in the stomach, composed to strike internationally.
The same is true with Dressed for success. An astonishingly simple synth and quite childish guitar. But when Marie Fredriksson sings "Yeah yeah yeah" and "Trying to make it, little by little", with the attitude of a cool, female Little Richard, then the world stops. One simply listens. And turns up the volume a little bit.
Roxette never hinted that they wanted to play in big arenas, and that they were investing in a mainstream audience. They made music for kids who wanted to scream and feel, rather than be hard and sneak down on their shoes. In fact, they could have been a band with an intrusive superficial sound - it was Marie Fredriksson's voice that took the songs to the next level.
Misunderstand me right - a superficial sound need not be wrong. But Roxette had hardly grown as big as they were without Fredriksson's pipe. Her voice has all the soul, all the sensitivity and all the power needed to make the biggest stars jealous. Per Gessle has written one of the best love ballads in the 80's (and that is not to say a bit) in It must have been love, but no one can sing it as Marie Fredriksson. How she moves between rage and strength to broken, weak grief.
When The Look topped the American Billboard list in 1989, it was the first time a Swedish group had succeeded with it since Abba with Dancing Queen in 1977. In the US first place was also Listen to your heart, Joyride and - of course - It must have been love. Roxette sold 75 million albums worldwide. They showed that it was possible, and opened the door for a new Swedish artist generation, which would follow in their footsteps.
The secret was the combination: Per Gessle - a hit guy with a taste for simple and straight melodies - and Marie Fredriksson who with her fragile strength managed to give the songs meat and blood. When Marie Fredriksson sang, they believed in her, and they felt what she felt. It was just as simple, and just as difficult, it was.