First Hit #1: May 11, 1991
Roxette is a familiar sight at the top of the chart by now, but Joyride is a bit of a departure. Their previous hits had Marie Fredriksson on lead vocals, while Joyride has Per Gessle handling the lead this time around. His voice is a fair bit smokier than Fredriksson, and his performance is a bit more subdued than she usually does – when they need something big on the chorus, Fredriksson comes out in front again – but it still sounds like Roxette. The other difference is that after doing a couple power ballads, the band has decided to just cut loose and have fun. Joyride can feel a bit like a compilation of neat ideas, with whistles, a moment where the music drops out to give Fredriksson a big vocal moment, carnival barkers, and all sorts of little goofs where it sounds kind of like the group wanted to see the features a fancy studio would allow them to play with. But that’s making it sound incoherent, and while it’s a goof it’s held together quite well, with the guitar line and Gessle’s vocal connecting any disparate elements. It’s a song for driving around on a nice day with all the windows down, which is what something called Joyride should be.
I also enjoy how the video becomes kind of deliberately terrible quite quickly, with the green screen quickly going off from being driving scenes to monkeys with drums and all sorts of nonsense. They’re goofing around, from beginning to end.