Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Minor Earth, Major Sky: My top 15 a-Ha tracks

I've always liked a-Ha from an early age, from when I first heard Take On Me which shot the Norwegian group to the big time. And, after 25 years, they might be calling it a day, but they left behind a load of awesome songs for everyone to tap their toes to. Here's my top 15 which has been hard to compile from the tracks.

15: Shapes The Go Together (1994, non album single)
Half rock, half pop, this is instantly likeable. Everything fits perfectly, just like shapes that go together (terrible pun, but I couldn't resist)

14: Summer Moved On (2000, Minor Earth, Major Sky)
It's unmistakeable a-Ha all the way through, and one that took me a couple of listens to to actually like, but when you do, it draws you in.

13: Angel in the Snow (1993, Memorial Beach)
A song written for Pal Waaktaar-Savoy's wife for their wedding, it is a really likeable song and is really catchy. Plus, I think it sounds quite different to their other stuff. Which is no bad thing.

12: Move To Memphis (1991, Headlines & Deadlines: The Best of a-Ha)
Another song that wasn't on a proper album, but is just so damned good, you can't help but like it. Plus the video has Morton Harket with shoulder length hair, and a couple of cracking birds (no smashing blouses, though).

11: Velvet (2000, Minor Earth, Major Sky)
A cracking song, but whats the deal with the video? More fucked up than all the SAW movies put together, it has a woman go around killing the boys in various ways (Morton in a bath of water and an electric heater, Magne Furuholmen shot in the head, Pal Waaktaar-Savoy being suffocated and bunged in the freezer. i kid you not). A great song. A WTF video.

10:Hunting High & Low (1985, Hunting High & Low)
From the same album as Take On Me. 'nuff said, really, as the whole album is great, and this is a powerful song all round.

9: Analogue (All I Want) (2005, Analogue)
Along with Cosy Prisons, this is another great track, and one you should check out, as it shows their Rock side more than their Pop side.

8: Touchy! (1988, Stay On These Roads)
An upbeat song that you can't help but sing along to if you're pissed off. Again, the video's a bit weird (sailors, anyone?), but the song definitely makes up for it.

7: Stay On These Roads (1988, Stay On These Roads)
The title track hits hard and is a surefire classic that you can't help but sing along to, even if Morton can hit the really, really high notes in it (voice braking time, methinks)

6: The Sun Always Shines on TV (1985, Hunting High & Low)
The single was released in 1986, and the first time I heard it was on a flexidisc my sister got from Smash HIts. I promptly 'borrowed' it, and never gave it back. Did I say how much I like this song?

5: Crying In The Rain (1990, East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon)
A cover that I think is better than the Everly Brothers original (even though I do like it), which is more heartfelt with added impact. A classic made better.

4: The Blood That Moves the Body (1988, Stay On These Roads)
There's two versions of this, but that doesn't mean that ones better than the other, as they both have their own strengths and weaknesses. One has a bit more guitar and less orchestra, and the other is, basically the opposite. 

3: Foot Of The Mountain (2009, Foot Of The Mountain)
For their swansong album, the title track is the strongest track of the whole album. Doesn't mean the album is rubbish. Its good, but not as good as the earlier stuff. This song, and the following song save it.

2: Nothing Is KeepIng You Here (2009, Foot Of The Mountain)
Read above.

1: Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah) (2010, 25)
Their last single is also one of their best. I'll admit, I didn't like it when I first heard it, but after another listen to, I took it to my heart, as I believe The Last Hurrah is actually their Last Hurrah. And what a way to go out.

I could have gone for Take On Me for the number one, but everyone puts it as their #1, and I wanted to include others that are just as great and should be heard at least once.


  1. like many i suppose i only know their singles, but will def check some of these out. cheers mike!