Roxette’s Joyride sounds like it was made by elves. Their style is so adorably dinky, with rinky-tink rhythms, toy power chords, and teensy vocals, that you practically want to pet it. And the affection, apparently, is mutual. The Swedish pop duo generously fills its music with countless cotton-candy hooks, eagerly inviting listeners to gorge themselves on fluff. By doing this, Roxette has racked up an impressive string of hits and become worthy successors to the tradition of air-headed catchiness set down by their fellow Swedish pop tarts, Abba, although this duo isn’t intimidated by electric guitars and its female singer, Marie Fredriksson, goes for a bit more grit. Still, Roxette is in no danger of being mistaken for speed-metal Huns like Slayer. They just want to use everything at their disposal to hook you. They blithely toss a bit of whistling into ”Joyride,” next to some psychedelic Beatles-like flourishes, shove an unexpected mandolin into ”Small Talk,” and even plop a Dylanesque harmonica into ”Church of the Heart.” But the context for the hooks is irrelevant. The point is simply to keep the fluff coming, and here they’ve created enough to float us away.
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