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…
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]