A-ha is back -- nostalgia or quality
by Andreas R., Norwegian Exhange Student, Westgate CVI, Thunder Bay, ON
Album: Minor Earth Major Sky
Rating: 8 out of 10
The first album by the Norwegian trio A-ha, Hunting High and Low, will forever be known as the album that contains the intoxicating Take on Me, one of the most famous and enduring “one-hit-wonders” of the 80's. But in contrast to other 80's bands, A-ha managed to continue a long and successful career in Europe and elsewhere.
With their new album the guys show that there is much more to A-ha than their memory in common pop history. The long awaited comeback-album was finally released this year after been put on hold several times.
Minor Earth Major Sky offers 13 cuts of high quality and creativity. It is pretty obvious that it has been seven years since their last album together — they’ve changed. Morten, Paal and Magne have all been doing solo-projects and other collaborations during this period. Minor Earth Major Sky is fairly different from the ‘93 album Memorial Beach. This time around, all the guys have written songs for the album, not only Paal. It is a good mix of ballads and radio-friendly tunes. A-ha’s version of Savoy’s Velvet is not as good as the original, but still a beautiful ballad. The original never really got the credit it deserved. In I wish I cared Magne’s experimental work has resulted in a somewhat unusual A-ha song. The first single released in Europe was Summer Moved On. A very radio-friendly song (probably why they picked it as their first single), but not the best cut on the album. At the age of 41, it’s incredible that Morten still can carry a high-pitched sound like that. You just give it a try....Even though it is a very good album, it isn’t really as good as their previous ones.
They have lost (or they haven’t re-found..) the genius sound that used to be their trademark.
Even though Minor Earth Major Sky is a pop album, it’s best suited for the experienced listener. My best advice for you would be to check out and enjoy the new album — then get a hold of the old ones like Scoundrel Days and East of the Sun and West of the Moon and enjoy classics like The Sun Always Shines on TV and The Living Daylights (soundtrack for the James Bond movie with the same name).
Highlights: Velvet, Minor Earth Major Sky, I Thought That It Was You and Little Black Heart