“Joyride” by Roxette
(Words/Music: Per Gessle, Album: Joyride, EMI 1991)
As the female member of the Swedish duo Roxette with principal songwriter Per Gessle, Marie Fredriksson became the face of the duo much in the way that Debbie Harry became the face of Blondie or Annie Lennox became the face of the Eurythmics. As a matter of fact, during their heyday in the early 90s, I actually thought that Roxette with a solo act with the same guy playing guitar in every video. It didn’t even matter that the verses in songs like “Joyride” were sung by Gessle with Fredriksson primarily providing harmony vocals in the chorus. Fredriksson, with her short blonde spiked hair and general playfulness, drew immediate attention and kept me watching videos for songs that I ordinarily wouldn’t have given much of a chance. And while I was rapt with delightful images of Marie Frediksson, a funny thing happened: I actually began to like the songs I heard. The song I looked forward to seeing most was “Joyride” but I soon found myself entranced by their other hits like “Listen To Your Heart,” “Dangerous,” and “The Look.” I knew it was pop music and I was fundamentally and intellectually opposed to it, but I decided it would be one of my “guilty pleasures.” Twenty years later, when I find myself humming or singing “Joyride” or “The Look,” it is the music which comes first, then I think of Marie Fredriksson. And while many look at music videos as only selling an image, in Roxette’s case, the visuals of the video truly did inspire me to become a fan of the music.
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