Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

First Hit #1: June 16, 1990

It’s appropriate that It Must Have Been Love ascended to the top of the chart after Wilson Phillips, because by their powers combined we get a portrait of 1990s balladry. Big chorus, some synthesizers but not too many, and more importantly a big showcase of the singer’s voice. Sure, the song was actually three years old at this point, but it had a light remix and some altered lyrics, just enough to make it sound perfect for 1990. The year isn’t too far off from 1987 in trends, just a bit more traditional in instrumentation – that is, there’s a nicely recorded piano – and the main draw is still what the main draw is then, a big instantly recognized chorus. In this case, Roxette also actually stepped up their game on the verses as well, and the “Lay a whisper on my pillow…” line is as much of a calling card as anything else in the song. Of course, Roxette’s metaphors have always been a bit weird – this time mostly being about snow, belying the song’s origin as a Christmas song – but here they’re actually effective at painting a picture of a once exciting, now dying relationship. The band was perfect for the change in decades.

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2 Responses to Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

  1. RBerman says:

    Again we see the big, big drums. Despite the Rickenbacker 6 string he’s holding in the video, the opening guitar notes sound like a 12 string. The chorus is still the big draw, but I agree that the verse melody (and lyric) is also well constructed. And the end of the second chorus takes a surprise melodic turn presaging the final chorus’ key change from C# to F#, one of the most drastic modulations we’ve seen in a top single. Her vocals sound even more Heart-ish than before, but not in a bad way. I wouldn’t have minded more from Roxette on the charts.

  2. tPenguinLTG says:

    Aha! That’s Roxette for you…

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