Per Gessle

The World According to Per Gessle

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Per Gessle always was the most interesting part of Roxette. While that band did produce some of the catchiest mainstream pop music of the late '80s and early '90s, they often fell back upon weak, overly slick production and on their more Top 40 pop-oriented side, paying less attention to Gessle's excellent rockers. Gessle's gravelly voice and full-throttle guitar attack were always the reasons why Roxette stood out from their peers in the early '90s, and these are the same reasons why Gessle's first English solo album does just the same. Relying mostly on uptempo rockers and much less on ballads, this album is a catchy delight that's a must-have for both Roxette fans and power pop fans -- yes, power pop, not just mainstream pop. The album kicks off with one of the best sequences ever; the chord-heavy "Stupid" transitions to the Roxette-styled rocker "Do You Wanna Be My Baby?" before hitting the unabashed anthem "Saturday" and ending with the disco-driven "Kix." At its best moments, The World According to Per Gessle sounds like the Cars in their heyday, and that's quite a complimentary comparison. Gessle, however, still doesn't quite have as much lyrical skill as the Cars' Ocasek. The album is weighted down by lyrics that range from pedestrian to downright banal (especially in the musically excellent "Reporter"). Still, Per Gessle was never about being deep, he was about creating fun nuggets of three-minute pop, and he's never done it as well as on The World According to Per Gessle. Absolutely essential.

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