Hunting High and Low by a-ha

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Hunting High and Low by a-ha
Hunting High and Low by a-ha

Album Released: 1985

Hunting High and Low ::: Artwork

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1.Take On Me3:46
2.Train Of Thought4:11
3.Hunting High And Low3:43
4.The Blue Sky2:22
5.Living A Boy's Adventure Tale5:00
6.The Sun Always Shines On TV5:06
7.And You Tell Me1:51
8.Love Is Reason3:04
9.I Dream Myself Alive3:06
10.Here I Stand And Face The Rain4:30


Duran Duran and Wham had run their teeny course, then up popped A-Ha to take their place. Impossibly chiselled cheekboned handsome frontman? Check. Wonderfully romantic, lonely lyrics? Check. Synth-pop glory? Checkmate, and game to A-Ha.

Bands don't write such simple melodies anymore, everybody overloads their tunes with noise. A-Ha make me feel old yet this album, their debut, holds happy memories. My brother bought it on casette, I taped it off him and was suddenly popular with the girls at school. This was back in the eighties remember, before everybody could get any music they wanted without paying and without problems. Man, this album must have been copied to a dozen girls at my school. I only held sway with them for a year or so however - well, once the A-Ha glare had worn off, they were after Marti Pellow or whoever the hell came next. At the time of writing, I've listened to this album for the first time in about twenty years and you know what? I remember almost every note.

"Take On Me" you'll know. The second tune "Train Of Thought" is hooky enough to have been a hit too, and may well have been. The title track is absolutely glorious though, brilliant and the kind of music that's able to send chills through me and cause my arm-hairs to stand on end. Even now. Well, such a glorious vocal, proper lyrics that actually mention wolves, darkness, and breathing. I guess I also liked the falsetto vocal, even before I discovered Brian Wilson - no wonder my next elder brother thought I was gay at the time. For the record, "Blue Sky" has music so eighties it's ridculous, yet the soaring vocals of Morten Harket make this a winner too.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

If I see a-ha appear on a 'One Hit Wonders' list once more... well, I suppose I'll just grumble about it again.

I don't want to look like some sad fanboy who justifies the worth of a band based on how many Top 10 hits they've had, but there can't be too many bigger shames in popular music than assuming that this Norweigan trio did nothing more than their bright ditty "Take On Me", which certainly seems to be the view here in Australia (if you watch a music channel on which they're showing a list of One Hit Wonders, you can almost guarantee a-ha will appear, and there's only one song that will accompany their name).

Their career, which can really be split into two phases, has not only had many highlights from the point of view of quality, but also many chart successes in various parts of Scandinavia and Europe.

It should be noted that this debut is not their best release. Of course, the track "Take On Me" which opens the record is in a way the perfect popsong, with its bright keyboard refrain, bouncy rhythm, and Morton Harket's flying falsetto, not to mention the (at the time) revolutionary video. The following piece, "Train Of Thought", is almost a slightly slower repeat of it, and then there's the title song, - a moving ballad - which didn't jump out at me at first, but there's no denying its emotion.

What comes afterwards is something of a mixture. Songs like "The Blue Sky", "Love Is Reason", and "I Dream Myself Alive" are reasonable, but so light and fluffy it's almost like they don't completely exist in this world, while "Living A Boy's Adventure Tale" and the concluding "Here I Stand And Face The Rain" are mood pieces which are something of an acquired taste.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor

This Norwegian synth/pop band's single “Take on Me” was the hit from 1985 that has resonated down the ages. It's a glorious thing with its large grandiose atmosphere, potent melodic hooks, and the nearly unmatchable, soaring vocal performance from lead singer Morten Harket.

The song proved to be so popular in its day (particularly accompanied by its video) that it's easy to assume the rest of the album might have just been rushed out as mere padding for it. But another song released as a single - albeit much less successful than "Take on Me" - was the heavy brooding power ballad “The Sun Always Shines on TV”.

While there's nothing else here that captures me quite to the level of "Take on Me", I find Hunting High and Low to be a consistently enjoyable album. It's no masterpiece, but it's recommendable to anyone who requires a synth/pop fix from time-to-time.

Perhaps the common criticism leveled against these guys was they didn't express much interest in pushing the boundaries of synth/pop - they preferred to work within the genre's established confines. All in all though, I've enjoyed this album quite a bit over the years.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio