“The Look” by Roxette

We have all heard the term “she’s got the look”. It points to the idea of a particular woman being perfectly-attractive, specifically in the eyes of the person who is making such a statement. And that is the selfsame notion this track is based on. The subject is a female who, as aforementioned, has “the look”. Thus the bulk of the lyrical composition of the track seems to be based on praising this lady. Moreover it appears that she may be a romantic interest of the vocalist, as he mentions “kissing” and “loving”, seemingly in regards to his interactions with her.

But now, with that being established, the writer of the tune, Per Gessle, has said that the ‘first two verses were guide lyrics’. Or stated plainly, he intended for them to be used temporarily, and they don’t make any kind of coherent sense. However, he and Marie Fredriksson decided to keep them as they “couldn’t come up with anything better”. So at the end of the day, considering how ridiculously successful this track became, Gessle considered himself fortunate as he “just thought it was a throwaway”.

So conclusively some parts of this song – such as it starting off with the lyrics “walking like a man, hitting like a hammer” – will not logically fit into its overall narrative. For this is the story of a woman whom the narrator loves and apparently has the ideal “look” in his eyes.

"The Look" lyrics

Release Date of “The Look”

EMI Records released this track on 12 January 1989. It is featured on Roxette’s album entitled “Look Sharp!” 

Moreover “The Look” served as the fourth single issued from that project.

“The Look” meets with Success

This song was mega-successful, in fact one of the most-successful of all of 1989. Indeed “The Look” went on to score a number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and European Hot 100 in addition to replicating the feat in an additional 8 countries. Moreover on top of reaching number one in Australia, it also went on to be certified Platinum there.

“The Look” also peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. Furthermore, it generally performed well in all of the other nine countries where it didn’t actually reach number one.

The legend behind “The Look” blowing up in the United States is that the song was already slappin’ in Sweden (Roxette’s homeland) but was unknown in America itself. That is until an American student who was visiting Sweden brought the track back home with him and had it played on a radio station in Minneapolis. And from there it started to spread, informally, throughout the rest of the United States, being played on other radio stations also. In other words, American radio stations were rotating “The Look” before it was even officially released as a single in the United States.

And as aforementioned it went to number 1 – by the way marking the first time Roxette topped the Billboard Hot 100.  In fact Per Gessle, the writer of the song, called it the duo’s “big break”.

Appearance on TV

Indeed “The Look” has been featured on television shows as diverse as “Baywatch” (1989), “Clueless” (1996) and “Family Guy” (2008), in addition to being utilized for a 2018 Toyota commercial.

Multiple Remixes

Roxette had remixed and re-recorded this track a couple of times throughout the years. One notable occurrence was in 2015, which the product of that effort being utilized for an advertising campaign initiated by a Swedish fashion retailer called KappAhl.

Who wrote “The Look”?

Roxette member Per Gessle wrote it. Actually, when writing it, he had American rock band ZZ Top in mind as the type of sound he wanted to achieve.

“The Look” was worked on by Roxette’s regular producer, Clarence Öfwerman.

3 Responses

  1. Lex says:

    IMHO if your interpretation is to be relevant, then she would have to have got “THE LOOKS”. If she had gotten “the look”, that would mean that she can do her things with her eyes – for example how she looks at people with attitude … or… if she has got the look from somebody else… i.e. she’s getting lots of looks from men etc.

    If she was pretty and attractive, she would possess “the looks”.

    • Anonymous says:

      No… The look is about the over all package essentially how her clothes, demeanor, general aesthetics really add up to give an impression of the person.

      Shes good looking, carries herself well and has an attitude. Thats the look they are talking about.

      The in this instance is because its nebulous. I don’t know what it is. But you have it.

  2. Borg says:

    I actually thought the lyrics were about a transgender, because i got confused about the “he/she” interchanges, that’s why i got here to find out what they were about exactly, but i guess even the writer barely had it honed down.

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