For Roxette, from a Nigerian Fan

I remember Marie Fredriksson from the video for ‘It Must have been Love’, which I saw as a child, which I have now played several times since learning of her death after a long battle with cancer.

How to process grief for someone you never met but who somehow affected you? I go to the music; I read the obituaries. This morning, I added one more thing: reflect on our “relationship” in public.

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Years ago a friend told me he had thought her quite attractive in the ‘It must have been Love’ video. The sentiment had struck me as unusual given the many music videos dealing in less oblique expressions of sexuality.

But I understood his words enough to reference them in a piece about female dancing years later: Even when not overtly selling sex, female pop acts women can’t escape the male gaze.

On ‘Jamb Question’, Simi gets the point when she wrote the line about a man looking at her “like say he wan swallow me”. Male attention is quite close to consumption.

On a personal note, I remember playing the song ‘Listen to your Heart’ over and over on a Walkman one night. I had just bought a greatest hit collection of Roxette songs and must have been surprised a Roxette song, besides ‘It must have been Love’ existed and was enjoyable.

But of course, the centrepiece of Roxette songs was ‘It must have been Love’, which I learned was first a Christmas song released in 1987 in Sweden.

It was a response to the duo’s record label’s demand to produce “an intelligent Christmas single”. Living in Nigeria, a country with pop music that is often unintelligible, I have often wondered what type of label and what kind of country demands for an intelligent pop song during Christmas…

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