If you're around my age, can you really pinpoint the time that you first heard A-ha? Surely not. I would have been one year old when Take on Me was an international number one hit single. I must have heard it hundreds of time (thousands of times?) before I finally perked up and said "Hey, what is this!". I do remember that time though. I was probably about seven or eight years old. I was in the car on a Sunday afternoon with a teenage girl from my church who was such a mainstay as my family's baby sitter that I suppose she was more like a nanny-- but she didn't treat us like little kids so we were cool with her being around for the most part. Anyway, I heard that beautiful synth-pop sound and Morten Harket's voice launch into that impossible falsetto and I thought "Yeah, this is for me.". It was durning that innocent time in one's life when the thought of owning your own music hasn't quite occurred to you yet (or at least in those days it didn't). But every time I heard it from that point on, in the grocery store or wherever, I thought "This is my song.".
I bought my first A-ha album when I was about sixteen; it was their obvious debut Hunting High and Low. Since then I've been hooked. I know that sometimes it isn't cool and they can be too of the times. But some times they transcend all that and when they do it is amazing! I think that on every album they've ever released they've had at least one song that is pure magic.
Now that A-ha has officially disbanded I've started getting into singer Morten Harket's solo music. There is some good stuff in there but the one record that stand's out to me is his first solo record that came out in 1993. It's called Poetenes Evangelium which translates to "the gospel according to poets". Every song is unedited poetry written by 20th century Norwegian authors depicting the life and death of Christ. I feel as though Morten has perhaps struggled throughout his career trying to balance being a pop star / sex symbol and his faith. But I do think he's found some sort of balance. To me he's never come across as anything but totally sincere. Here is a TV performance of Engelen from Poetenes Evangelium.
This is probably the first and last time we'll see a song on television
about the life of Christ performed by candlelight with a Memory Moog.