Almost Unreal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Almost Unreal"
Single by Roxette
from the album Super Mario Bros.
B-side"Fingertips '93"
Released10 May 1993 (1993-05-10)
RecordedMarch 1993
GenrePop rock
Songwriter(s)Per Gessle
Producer(s)Clarence Öfwerman
Roxette singles chronology
"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 film Super Mario Bros., which starred Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, and Samantha Mathis. The song became a top-20 hit in numerous territories, including Scandinavia, Ireland and the UK. It would also be the duo's final top ten hit in the latter two 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 30. It appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of their next studio album, Crash! Boom! Bang! (1994), mistitled "It's Almost Unreal".

Background and recording[edit]

Per Gessle wrote "Almost Unreal" after Walt Disney Pictures contacted him 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 Disney informed Gessle that US girlband En Vogue had been invited to record the film's theme song. "Almost Unreal" was then transferred to another Disney project, the live action adaptation of the Nintendo game series Super Mario Bros., which was released under the Hollywood Pictures banner. 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 group re-recorded the lyrics 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]

Critical reception[edit]

Larry Flick from Billboard complimented the song as a "familiar power pop ballad" and said that "ABBA-esque harmonies at the chorus give the track a cute vibe, while hard drums and nimble guitar riffs lend an bright rock-ish glow."[4] Alan Jones from Music Week wrote, "Roxette have produced a string of catchy pop smashes, so this frankly rather dreary song from the forthcoming Super Mario Brothers is a bit of a disappointment. What could be anthemic with a little work just sounds pompous."[5] 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."[6]

Roxette themselves later dismissed both the song and the associated 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]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Michael Geoghegan, and stars the British actor Nick Pickard as a young man playing a video game in which he's watching parts of the film, as well as both band members performing the song, ending with him being de-evolved into a reptile like in the film.[7]

Formats and track listings[edit]

All music and lyrics were written by Per Gessle.

  • 7-inch 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-inch 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 and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of The Ballad Hits.[8]



  • Marie Fredriksson – lead and backing vocals
  • Per Gessle – lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, mixing
  • Per "Pelle" Alsing – drums
  • Vicki Benckert – backing vocals
  • Anders Herrlin – bass guitar, engineering, programming
  • Jonas Isacsson – electric guitars
  • Clarence Öfwerman – keyboards, programming, production, mixing
  • Staffan Öfwerman – backing vocals
  • Alar Suurna – mixing, engineering


Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Europe 10 May 1993 CD Capitol [16]
Japan 16 June 1993 Mini-CD [31]
United Kingdom 12 July 1993
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette


  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.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ a b Per Gessle. "Per Gessle: About Songs". Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Almost Unreal chords by Roxette". Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 29 May 1993. p. 91. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  5. ^ Jones, Alan (17 July 1993). "Market Preview: Mainstream - Singles" (PDF). Music Week. p. 6. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  6. ^ Mike Schiller (30 March 2007). "Roxette Hits Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  7. ^ Ballad & Pop Hits - The Complete Video Collection (DVD liner notes). Roxette. EMI. 2003. 7243 4 90946 9 7.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ Lindström, Sven (2002). The Ballad Hits (CD liner notes). Roxette. Capitol Records. 72435 42798-2 9.
  9. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1007." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2179." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 32. 7 August 1993. p. 16. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 32. 7 August 1993. p. 15. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (4.–10. júní)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 3 June 1993. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Roxette". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Roxette" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal". VG-lista. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  22. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  23. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Roxette – Almost Unreal". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Roxette: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Roxette Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  27. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 239.
  28. ^ "1993 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 51/52. 18 December 1993. p. 15. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1993" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  30. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1993". Music Week. 15 January 1994. p. 24.
  31. ^ "スーパーマリオ愛のテーマ | ロクセット" [Super Mario Love Theme | Roxette] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  32. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 10 July 1993. p. 21.