Look Sharp! (Roxette album)

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Look Sharp!
LookSharp.jpg
Studio album by Roxette
Released 21 October 1988
Recorded March–June 1988
Studio EMI Studios, Stockholm
Trident II Studios, London
Length 53:12
Label EMI
Producer
Roxette chronology
Dance Passion
(1987)Dance Passion1987
Look Sharp!
(1988)
Joyride
(1991)Joyride1991
Singles from Look Sharp!
  1. "Dressed for Success"
    Released: 3 August 1988
  2. "Listen to Your Heart"
    Released: 27 September 1988
  3. "Chances"
    Released: 28 December 1988
  4. "The Look"
    Released: 18 January 1989
  5. "Dangerous"
    Released: 10 May 1989

Look Sharp! is the second studio album by Swedish pop duo Roxette. The album was released on 21 October 1988, two years after their debut Pearls of Passion (1986). It was recorded at EMI Studios in Stockholm and at Trident II Studios in London between March and June 1988. The album was an immediate commercial success in Sweden, debuting at number one and eventually being certified 6× platinum there.

Although commercial success elsewhere was initially modest, the album was the duo's international breakthrough. It went on to be certified platinum or multi-platinum in numerous territories, while four of its singles went on to become global hits. "The Look" and "Listen to Your Heart" both topped the Billboard Hot 100, while "Dangerous" and "Dressed for Success" reached numbers two and fourteen respectively on the same chart.

Background and release[edit]

"Dressed for Success" and "Listen to Your Heart" were released as the album's first two singles in Sweden, with Gessle and EMI choosing to highlight Fredriksson as Roxette's lead vocalist.[1] They were immediate hits in Sweden, peaking at numbers two and three respectively.[2] "Chances" was released as the album's first single France, Germany and Italy, but it failed to chart.

"The Look" was released as the album's fourth single in January 1989, becoming another top 10 hit in their home country.[2] While studying there, an American exchange student from Minneapolis, Dean Cushman, purchased the album and brought it home, giving a copy of it to his local Top 40 radio station, KDWB 101.3 FM.[3] "The Look" quickly became popular, and the station began distributing the track to their sister radio operations.[4][5] EMI America had previously rejected the duo as unsuitable for the American market, and Roxette did not have a recording contract there.[6]

"The Look" had already entered the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100 before the duo began official promotion. It would go on to peak at number one eight weeks later.[7] It gradually became a global hit over the next year, topping the charts in 25 countries.[8] It also spent six weeks at number one on the Australian Singles Chart.[9] The album's previous singles – excluding "Chances" – were re-released internationally. Roxette would go on to have four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Listen to Your Heart"; while the album's final single, "Dangerous", peaked at number two.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[11]
Los Angeles Times 2/5 stars[12]

The album received mixed reviews from critics. In a retrospective review, AllMusic complimented its singles, but said that the album tracks "aren't necessarily filler, but they also aren't as strong as many of the cuts that made up Roxette albums that followed. [...] Only 'Chances' and 'Shadow of a Doubt' show glimmers of the skills the duo would soon flourish."[11] A review for Los Angeles Times echoed a similar sentiment, praising its singles and "Shadow of a Doubt" – along with "Cry" – but said that: "the problem is that most of Look Sharp!'s music is of such a light, ephemeral nature that it disappears without a trace the minute the record leaves the turntable. Looks like Roxette's forte is pop music that is prettily presented but totally disposable."[12]

Accolades[edit]

Roxette were nominated for two Grammis Awards – the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards – in 1989, for Artist of the Year and Best Pop/Rock Group. Fredriksson and Gessle each won an award for Best Pop/Rock Female and Best Composer, respectively.[13] Both Roxette and Fredriksson won numerous Rockbjörnen awards during this period. They were awarded Best Swedish Album and Best Swedish Group at the 1988 ceremony, and won the latter award again the following year. Fredriksson won the award for Best Swedish Female over four consecutive years, from 1986 to 1989.[14]

Commercial performance[edit]

Look Sharp! was an immediate commercial success in Sweden, selling over 140,000 copies within ten days of release.[15] It spent seven weeks at number one,[2] and was certified 6× platinum in the country for shipments in excess of 600,000 units. In the US, the album was certified platinum on 20 January 1990 by the RIAA for shipments in excess of one million units.[16] As of 2005, it sold 402,000 copies there since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data in May 1991.[17] It peaked at number four in the UK, where it spent over a year on the charts.[18] It was certified platinum by the BPI in December 1990 for sales in excess of 300,000.[19] As of 2001, Look Sharp! has sold over 9 million copies worldwide.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Per Gessle; all music composed by Gessle, except where noted.

Look Sharp! – Original release
No. Title Music Producer Length
1. "The Look"   Clarence Öfwerman 3:57
2. "Dressed for Success"   Öfwerman 4:09
3. "Sleeping Single"   Öfwerman 4:38
4. "Paint"   Öfwerman 3:30
5. "Dance Away" Öfwerman 3:25
6. "Cry"
  • Fredriksson
  • Gessle
Adam Moseley 5:19
7. "Chances"   Moseley 4:57
8. "Dangerous"   Öfwerman 3:48
9. "Half a Woman, Half a Shadow" Fredriksson Öfwerman 3:35
10. "View from a Hill"   Moseley 3:40
11. "(I Could Never) Give You Up" (CD bonus track)   Öfwerman 3:58
12. "Shadow of a Doubt"
  • Gessle
  • Mats MP Persson
Öfwerman 4:14
13. "Listen to Your Heart"
  • Gessle
  • Persson
Öfwerman 5:28
Total length: 53:12

Personnel[edit]

  • Roxette are Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson
  • Recorded at EMI Studios, Stockholm, Sweden and Trident II Studios, London, England
  • Remastered by Alar Suurna at Polar Studio, Stockholm (2009 reissue)
  • All songs published by Jimmy Fun Music, except: "Dance Away", "Cry" and "Half A Woman, Half A Shadow" published by Shock the Music/Jimmy Fun Music

Musicians

Technical

  • Engineers — Anders Herrlin and Alar Suurna
  • Sleeve design — Kjell Andersson and Pär Wickholm
  • Photography — Carl Bengtsson and Mikael Jansson
  • Executive producers — Kjell Andersson and Rolf Nygren

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[39] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[44] 2× Platinum 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[45] 6× Platinum 600,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[46] Platinum 54,376[46]
Germany (BVMI)[47] 2× Platinum 1,000,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[48] 2× Platinum 200,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[49] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[30] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[50] 6× Platinum 600,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[51] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[16] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "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 c d "Swedishcharts.com – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  3. ^ Ninni O Schulman (14 April 2001). "Sagan om Roxette: Tacka Dean för succén" [Lord of Roxette: Thank Dean for success (part 2)]. Expressen (in Swedish). Bonnier AB. Archived from the original on 20 April 2001. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  4. ^ J.D. Considine (23 September 1989). "Sweden's Roxette Is Making It Big Almost by Accident". Los Angeles Times. tronc. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Talking Shop: Roxette's Per Gessle". BBC News. BBC. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Dennis Hunt (13 May 1990). "Roxette Ridicules Rumors". Los Angeles Times. tronc. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Gary Trust, Fred Bronson (11 February 2015). "Rewinding the Charts: In 1989, Roxette Roared Onto the Hot 100 With 'The Look'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  8. ^ Simon Collins (27 October 2011). "Roxette are on a roll". The West Australian. Seven West Media. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  9. ^ Gavin Ryan (3 August 2013). "ARIA Singles Report: Avicii Is Longest Number One Swedish Act Since Roxette". Noise11. Paul Cashmere. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Roxette Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Bryan Buss. "Look Sharp! - Roxette | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Milli Vanilli "Girl You Know It's True; Roxette "Look Sharp!"". Los Angeles Times. tronc. 4 June 1989. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  13. ^ "Grammis 1989 - nominerade/vinnare". Grammis (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  14. ^ "Tidigare Vinnare | Rockbjörnen" [Previous Winners | Rockbjörnen]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Schibsted. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  15. ^ Therese Färsjö (9 May 2009). "Den otroliga sagan om Roxette" [The incredible saga of Roxette]. Expressen (in Swedish). Bonnier AB. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "American album certifications – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  17. ^ Keith Caulfield (16 August 2005). "Billboard.com > Ask a Question > Roxette's Rocky U.S. Relationship". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "Roxette | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  19. ^ a b "British album certifications – Roxette – Look Sharp!". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Look Sharp! in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  20. ^ Ninni O Schulman (15 April 2001). "Sagan om Roxette: På väg tillbaka - eller?" [Lord of Roxette: On the way back - or?]. Expressen (in Swedish). Bonnier AB. Archived from the original on 5 June 2001. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  21. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Roxette – Look Sharp!" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 50, No. 4: May 22, 1989". RPM. RPM Library Archives. 22 May 1989. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Roxette – Look Sharp!" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  25. ^ "Finnish album charts 1966-1995: Heinäkuu 1989 July". Suomen Albumi Listat. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Roxette – Look Sharp!" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  27. ^ ロクセットのアルバム売り上げランキング [Roxette album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  28. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  29. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  30. ^ a b Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 8480486392. 
  31. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  32. ^ "Roxette – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Roxette. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Albums 1989". ARIA. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  34. ^ "Top 100 Albums of '89 Albums/CDs - Volume 51, No. 8: Dec 23, 1989". RPM. RPM Library Archives. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  35. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts 1989". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  36. ^ "Topp 40 Album Russetid 1989". VG-lista (in Norwegian). Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  37. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  38. ^ "Billboard 200 Year End 1989". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  39. ^ a b "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Albums Chart 1990 (1–60) (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 50)". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 17 December 2016.  N.B. The triangle symbol represents platinum certification, with the number beside it specifying the level of platinum achieved.
  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1990". MegaCharts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  41. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts 1990". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  42. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1990". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  43. ^ "Billboard 200 Year End 1990". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  44. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Roxette – Look Sharp!" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Roxette in the field Interpret. Enter Look Sharp! in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  45. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Roxette – Look Sharp". Music Canada. 
  46. ^ a b "Roxette" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 
  47. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Roxette; 'Look Sharp')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  48. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Roxette – Look Sharp!" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  49. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Roxette – Look Sharp!". Recorded Music NZ. 
  50. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  51. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Roxette; 'Look Sharp!')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 

External links[edit]