Have a Nice Day

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In the five years between Roxette's last album, Crash, Boom, Bang, and this, their "comeback" album, pop music had changed considerably. Crash, Boom, Bang failed, in part, because it was completely out of step with the times; in 1994 grunge, alternative, and rap ruled the charts, but Roxette always produced a relatively crisp and clean brand of pop/rock. In the five years since then, however, Brit-pop brought alternative rock back towards pop, electronica made dance music "cool" again, and bubblegum pop bands like the Spice Girls made unabashed pop fun again. Also, Per Gessle was fresh off from his very rock-oriented 1997 solo album. What resulted, then, was really rather ambitious. Have A Nice Day is an effort to encapsulate Roxette's trademark sound with Brit-pop and electronica, and, by gosh, it works. It's easily as good as any other Roxette album, save maybe only the stellar Joyride, and it shows that artistically the band is still on top. There's a good deal of emphasis on dance music here, but instead of the indistinguishable dance-pop of the band's early days, the beats seem to be borrowed straight from Fatboy Slim records. That, mixed with Gessle's gritty guitars, makes for a good deal of up-tempo rockers ("Crush on You," "7Twenty7," "Stars"). There are also some excellent pop songs, such as the single "Wish I Could Fly" and Gessle's unforgettable "You Can't Put Your Arms Around What's Already Gone," quite possibly the best song he's ever written. As is the case with any Roxette album, however, there are flaws, namely the presence of filler, mostly in the form of pace-destroying ballads. It's a small price to pay, however, for the return of one of the best mainstream pop bands in the past decade.

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