The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Charm School

EMI - Feb 2011



I have a friend in The States who went to Ozzy Osbourne recently, and is also looking forward to seeing The Backstreet Boys in a few weeks: the old days when you were either a metalhead or a pop fan, or - to go back further - a rock or a mod, are long gone.


Back in the late Eighties through to the mid Nineties, however, Roxette were the enemy to hard n' heavy rockers like myself - they represented all the yuppie poofy danceyness that teased around on the furthest edges of so-called 'rock music', and over many beers I derided them for their gratuitous haircuts and fashionable guitar solos which barely if ever rose above the synthesisers whitewashing their gold plated pop songs...


Fast forward to 2011 and Roxette are back after a decade-long hiatus and "Charm School" is... well to be 100% honest, it is best described as "more of the same" - it sticks very closely to the Roxette formula from days of yore.


But, and here's the rub, it's not ALL bad. Time has mellowed my tastes and I find that even though I've never owned a Roxette record, I can absent mindedly sing along to 'The Look' if it comes on the radio... I'm not a fan by any stretch of the imagination, but "Charm School", like what I know of their previous albums, is stuffed full of catchy melodies, alluring vocals from Marie Fredrikssen and Per Gessle, loads of Beatles influences, radio friendly arrangements which stick to their modus operandi of "Don't bore us - get to the chorus" (also the name of one of their compilation albums) and an inevitable tendency to degenerate into cloying schmaltzy pap well before the end of the 12 tracks on offer.


I can see "Charm School" selling a truckload - and you can bet your first born that you'll hear it on the radio, if you haven't already. And you know what - it's an okay album, it has a few good songs, and the whole package is completely inoffensive. Well done. Just don't tell anyone I admitted that. Now... I feel a bit dirty - I need a fix of Motley Crue…


Shane Pinnegar