Let me tell you something about “Take on Me”.
It’s my absolute favorite song in the entire world. Hands down. Nothing else can hold up to it. (My second is “High Flying Bird”, by Elton John. In case you were interested.) When it comes on the radio, you’d lose your fingers if you tried to change it. I’d bite them off. It pretty much sums up the 80’s for me. When someone says “80’s”, I immediately think of that wonderful song. Well, that and Jelly Shoes. (those motherfuckers hurt!)
In 1986, I was 6 1/2 years old. My aunt lived with us. She wanted cable installed in the house. *cue angels singing* Nothing could have prepared me for the wonders that came with Cable TV. I was instantly glued to MTV. Shortly after the cable came, I remember seeing The Video for the first time.
You all know which one I’m talking about. Don’t pretend like you don’t. It’s the one we all wished we were Bunty Bailey in. I mean, who wouldn’t want a sweaty man trying desperately to escape from a comic book frame in your hallway? He wanted to profess his undying love for us!
Now, I may have been only 6, but I knew good music when I heard it and more importantly–I knew who was cuter than anyone else in the world.
Granted, I didn’t know his name at the time–he was just a semi-cartooned face–but he was there. Oh boy, was he ever there.
I was too young for teen mags, (that would come later, fueling my need for NKOTB and Nelson knowledge. FYI: Jordan’s birthday is May 17, 1970 and Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are mirror twins. And yes, I remembered that willingly and without the assistance of wikipedia, thankyouverymuch.) So, that meant that the only image I had of the lovely Mr. Norwegian God was half-cartoon. Which was okay because, let’s face it, he was one hell of a cartoon.
I swooned, I blushed and I watched MTV waiting for the video to come on. Again, even at 6–this girl knew what she wanted. Hunky Norwegians, apparently. Well, that and Michael J. Fox.
As it is with so many crushes in girlhood, my attention span was short and soon I stumbled upon my next victim. I can’t remember exactly who it was, but it may or may not have been Scott Baio. I may have focused my love on another, but there was a place deep in my heart that would always belong to Morten and A-ha. (Still unnamed Morten, by the way. He was just “the A-ha guy.”)
Fast forward to present day. Crushes have come and gone. New Kids? Yup. Cary Elwes? You bet. Chris Pine? HELL YES. But for every fleeting flutter of my heart throughout the years, there has always been a space for that catchy tune performed by those boys from Norway.
I finally figured out his name in my teens, but by then–Morten and A-ha were a thing of the past in the States. No more did they grace the teen magazines. Albums were very hard to come by. And besides, I was way too busy fangirling over Michael Biehn and Mark Dacascos with a certain book shelving friend. Plus, I just didn’t have the money to buy imported CD’s.
Now that I’m a big girl, I have discovered them again. And, while “Take on Me” is still my most very favorite song in the Universe, I have to admit that I actually like their newer stuff better. Soaring vocals have not diminished with age, nor has the melodies or haunting lyrics. A lot of people saw them as teenyboppers, and that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Listen to their music someday if you haven’t, even the older stuff. The lyrics are dark, the melodies filled with dissonance (those chords that make your spine tingle).
And I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that they’re all still DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS. Thirty years later, they look fabulous, especially Morten. I don’t know what’s in the water in Norway, but if I were them, I’d bottle that shit up and make a fortune on it. I mean, come one…he’s only 3 years younger than my dad.
Jesus Christ, I’ve been crushing on someone who’s my dad’s age since I was 6…
Shut up, I don’t want to hear it. *puts fingers in ears and sings obnoxiously*
So, take a minute or sixty out of your day. Listen to “Summer Moved On” or “Lifelines” or “Foot of the Mountain.” You won’t be disappointed. Remember that they were the first pop group from Norway to ever hit #1 on the charts. Morten Harket has the record for the longest note ever held–20.2 seconds. (It’s fucking unbelievable!) Some people may think of them as “One Hit Wonders,” but A-ha is so much more than that. There’s a reason they’ve managed to stay relevant since 1985.
Oh, and Morten? If you ever read this…convince Mags and Pal to extend the whole “Rock in Rio” reunion and go on tour again. Chicago would be just fine.