Charm School

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Returning to action after a decade-long hiatus, Roxette don’t skip a beat on 2011’s Charm School. Roxette were never in the thick of things, never setting the pace, but they did reflect their times during their 1988-1991 peak. They still reflect those times 20 years later, still favoring the brightly colored productions of the late ‘80s, still relying on cavernous drums and squealing fuzz guitars skipping over tightly wound guitar riffs, piling on synth after synth, every element accentuating their enormous hooks. Roxette may be a band out of time on Charm School but, well, that’s their charm: they’re still unapologetically big pop, they still celebrate melody over everything else. Sometimes things crawl just a tad on Charm School -- it’s not the power ballads that sag but the chugging midtempo tunes -- but it serves up enough surging soft rock and fizzy pop like “Big Black Cadillac” and “She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)” to make this a successful comeback.

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