Almost Unreal

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"Almost Unreal"
Single by Roxette
from the album Super Mario Bros. soundtrack
B-side "Fingertips '93"
Released 10 May 1993
Recorded March 1993
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:59
Label EMI
Songwriter(s) Per Gessle
Producer(s) Clarence Öfwerman
Roxette singles chronology
"Fingertips '93"
"Almost Unreal"
"Sleeping in My Car"
"Fingertips '93"
"Almost Unreal"
"Sleeping in My Car"
Music video
"Almost Unreal" on YouTube

"Almost Unreal" is a song by Swedish pop music duo Roxette, released on 10 May 1993 as the lead single from the soundtrack of the 1993 live action adaption of Super Mario Bros., which starred Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper. The song became a top twenty hit in numerous territories, including Scandinavia, Ireland and the UK. It would also be the duo's final top ten hit in both of the latter countries—excluding a re-release of "It Must Have Been Love" two months later. The song proved to be unsuccessful in North America, peaking at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100, although it performed better in Canada where it peaked within the top thirty. Roxette themselves were later dismissive of both the song and the associated movie. It appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of their next studio album, Crash! Boom! Bang! (1994), mis-titled "It's Almost Unreal".

Background and recording[edit]

"Almost Unreal" was written by Per Gessle after he was contacted by Walt Disney Pictures about composing the theme song to Bette Midler's upcoming film Hocus Pocus. The song's backing track had already been completed at London's Mayfair Studios in March 1993 when Gessle was informed by Disney that US girlband En Vogue had been invited to record the movie's theme song. "Almost Unreal" was then transferred to another Disney project, the live action adaption of the Nintendo game series Super Mario Bros.. Although hesitant about the project, the duo decided to allow the company to use the song in the film, as they were both fans of Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper. The lyrics of the song were then modified to omit most references to Hocus Pocus, although the title would still remain in the song's chorus, with the lyric: "I love when you do that hocus pocus to me". Marie Fredriksson's vocals were recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm in March 1993, when she was nine months pregnant.[1][2]

Composition and style[edit]

According to Ultimate Guitar, "Almost Unreal" is a mid-tempo pop rock song composed in the key of E major, and is written in common time with a moderate tempo of 92 beats per minute. The intro is composed of two repetitions of an E–B–Asus2 sequence, followed by a further two lines composed of C♯m–B–Asus2. Each verse is composed of variations of a B–G♯m7–E–C♯m–E–A–G♯sus4–G♯ sequence, while the chorus is composed of two repetitions of E–B–A, followed by a C♯m–B–A–F♯ sequence.[3]

Roxette were later dismissive of both the song and the film, calling the latter a "flop" and "ridiculous". In the liner notes of the duo's first greatest hits compilation, Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus!, Fredriksson referred to the track as "not one of our most inspired moments", while Gessle said: "I still like the song, in a way... but if you wanted to make a parody of Roxette, it would probably sound something like this."[1][2] Mike Schiller from PopMatters called the song "awful"; and wrote, "...not only does it sound like corporate pandering, but it's probably the most forced smash-hit wannabe Roxette ever created."[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Michael Geoghegan, and stars British actor Nick Pickard as a young man playing a video game in which he's watching parts of the film, as well as various band members performing the song.[5]

Formats and track listings[edit]

All music and lyrics by Per Gessle.

  • 7" single and cassette (Australia 8806494 · Europe 8806492 · North America 4KM-44942 · UK EM268)
  1. "Almost Unreal" – 3:59
  2. "The Heart Shaped Sea" – 4:10
  • UK exclusive 12" picture disc (12EMPD268)
  1. "Almost Unreal" – 3:59
  2. "The Heart Shaped Sea" – 4:10
  3. "Fingertips '93" – 3:42
  • CD single (Europe 8806762 · UK CDEM268)
  1. "Almost Unreal" – 3:59
  2. "The Heart Shaped Sea" – 4:10
  3. "Fingertips '93" – 3:42
  4. "Almost Unreal" (AC Mix) – 3:56


Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Ballad Hits.[6]




  1. ^ a b "Digital booklet". Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus (liner notes). Roxette. Stockholm, Sweden: EMI Records. 1995. 7243 836203 2 6. 
  2. ^ a b Per Gessle. "Per Gessle: About Songs". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Almost Unreal chords by Roxette". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Mike Schiller (30 March 2007). "Roxette Hits Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Ballad & Pop Hits - The Complete Video Collection (DVD liner notes). Roxette. EMI. 2003. 7243 4 90946 9 7. 
  6. ^ Lindström, Sven (2002). The Ballad Hits (CD liner notes). Roxette. Capitol Records. 72435 42798-2 9. 
  7. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  8. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  9. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2179." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  11. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Roxette". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Roxette search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  14. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  15. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal". VG-lista. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Lista Przebojów Trójki - Polskie Radio Online: Notowanie nr602 - 27 sierpnia 1993". Polskie Radio (in Polish). 27 August 1993. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  17. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  18. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  19. ^ " – Roxette – Almost Unreal". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Roxette: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Roxette Chart History (Hot 100)" Billboard. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  23. ^ "Top 100 of 1993 - UK Music Charts". UK Charts. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 

External links[edit]