a-ha: All The Everything Pt.11

a-ha – Hunting High And Low (LP)

This one’s a total nostalgia blast for me. I got it on cassette (from Columbia House) when I was a kid and held onto it for years. Over the years, I lost that cassette, never had the CD, or the LP… until recently, I found the LP and brought it home.

For being a debut album, this Norwegian band’s work is wonderful. There were five (5!) singles from it: of course, you all know the huge hit Take On Me (and it’s fantastic video)… and then there’s Breakfast Club dancer Love Is Reason… the big synth popper The Sun Always Shines On T.V… the club-thumper Train Of Thought… and sweet ballad Hunting High And Low. All of them worthy singles. The album was nominated for a Grammy (the first Norwegian band to achieve a nomination). Hell, even the cover photo was nominated for a Grammy.

And hey Geoff, it’s even on the 1001 list!

Yup, this thing was huge in 1985.

The other tracks here are just as exciting, with Depeche Mode-ish Blue Sky… slinky mid-tempo Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale… gentle pure 80s ballad And You Tell Me… the 80s dance track that uses all the keyboard effect in I Dream Myself Alive… and, finally, the mid-tempo love tune Here I Stand And Face The Rain… They’re all equally excellent. Honestly, this was such a throwback for me, I hadn’t heard it in years, but I still knew every song and every twist and turn… heck, I still knew a lot of the lyrics (crazy!). Talk about blowing the dust off my memory of a tape I played endlessly as a kid…

In Sum:

Hunting High And Low has that pure 80s sound, but of the pile of shite that went down back then, this one is among those that actually still sound frickin’ great. This album is a Hit for two reasons: 1) for nostalgia’s sake, just like when I re-heard Tears For Fears’ amazing Songs From The Big Chair a while back – I was transported pleasingly to my childhood boombox in my room… and 2) for still being a mid-80s blast of synth-pop full album excellence that stands up remarkably well all these years later.

NB1: The album was remastered and re-released as a Deluxe 2CD, 37-track edition in 2010, with a whole wealth of remixes, demo and extended versions, and it all looks delicious. I’ve never seen on in the wild, but if I did, I’d surely be tempted if it was a good price.

NB2: There also looks to be a 4CD / 1DVD 30th anniversary set with a whole pile of even more extra tracks and videos and what have you. It’s about $70 though, and I’m not sure I am THAT much of a fan haha.

PS: Here’s a neat bit of trivia for you: A-HA singer “Morten Harket holds the European record for the longest note held in a Top 40 pop song. During the song “Summer Moved On” Harket sustains a chest voice note for 20.2 seconds (8 measures). [Wiki]

Series Stats:

12 posts
44 albums

36 hit
8 quit

38 CD
5 LP
8 CS
2 DVD

36 thoughts on “a-ha: All The Everything Pt.11

  1. alexraphael says:

    The Sun Always Shines on TV was the number one here, and Take on Me was held off the top spot. Think they both should have made it. Blue Sky is great. I liked one of their later tracks too Summer Moved On.

    Like

  2. stephen1001 says:

    And deservingly on the 1001 list!
    I’m pleased to hear it qualified as a ‘hit’ – I’ve been telling people for years that these guys are my favourite Norwegian Trio 🙂

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      The nostalgia vote would probably have guaranteed its Hit status anyway, but listening through it again I realized that the songs are strong. It’s a well-conceived album!

      So, um, how many other Norwegian trios do you know that these guys knocked out of first place…? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jade says:

    I know nothing about them, and have only listened to Take On Me. -hides- Anyhow, 20.2 seconds… that is impressive. Now I have to check out that track. Great post!

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        1. keepsmealive says:

          I did, just now! Very epic-sounding. If it had a million more notes per bar it could be a Dragonforce song! But are you sure it’s the same song? The lyrics are completely different and, to my ear, the tune too…

          I had a look at Wiki, the Stratovarius page for the song doesn’t say it’s a cover. And the A-Ha page notes other covers but not Stratovarius…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunting_High_and_Low_(A-ha_song)#Covers

          Do I just need more coffee? Am I missing something? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yup, one might believe they are the balancing line before Norway plunges completely into black metal… 🙂

      I dunno, Sheriff’s might be longer-held but was it artificially manipulated at all? Harket’s note was not. I dunno except that that’s a bloody long time to hold a note.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jprobichaud says:

    As much as I loved Take on me, I was an even bigger fan of The sun always shines on TV. What kills me is that these guys continued to produce for years but this is the only album that made any real noise here in North America. They’re still pretty big in Europe.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yes, thank you for saying this! Actually it was on my mind as I listened but I neglected to put it in the review. These guys should have been much bigger here for longer than the one record. Not sure why it fizzled out over here, but they are indeed still going across the pond. Ages ago I heard a couple of their other tapes and I really liked those too!

      And TSASOTV is a great song, agreed.

      Liked by 1 person

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