Take on This!
—-Under the Make-Up—-
I cried into my kitchen sink last Friday morning.
Not because I cut my hand on a broken plate or had my wedding ring go down the disposal. Nope—I cried because of Morten Harket’s voice.
Under the Makeup had rendered me completely out of my mind.
Now, I had heard the song a few days prior when it had been leaked. (Yes, I listened… I couldn’t help myself. Besides, I knew I’d be purchasing a within three days.) The sound quality on my laptop is marginal at best, but even then it sounded phenomenal. I knew it was one of—if not the most—beautiful songs I had ever heard in my life.
When Friday came along, I couldn’t wait to download it…
…and promptly found it nowhere to be seen on Amazon. We don’t have iTunes or Apple Music, and don’t do Spotify. I may or may not have had a temper tantrum and said a few profanities that my son found to be absolutely hilarious.
I went on with my day, pouting as I did laundry and attempted to clean up “toy-mageddon” in the living room. Seriously, I think we may own every single Lego on the planet.
When I finally got a chance to sit down, I stumbled across a tweet from a friend that made my day go from dull to fantastic. It seems the song was finally available on Amazon! Three minutes and one frantic run to the other room to get my iPod later and I was the proud owner of the first new A-ha material to be released in five years.
I almost couldn’t believe it, even though I had the Amazon statement to prove that I had purchased.
I queued it up on my MP3 and was immediately immersed in musical joy. I’m pretty sure the volume was way too loud, but I didn’t care.
But I didn’t cry right away.
Listening to the music and lyrics, I started rinsing crud off of that morning’s breakfast plates. The melody sent chills up my spine. It began to dawn on me that this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill song. (Not that any A-ha tune is.)
By the third time around—while I was washing a sticky sippy cup—it hit me. Standing there at my sink I realized that I was hearing history. I was actually listening to brand-new material from the group that had called it quits five years prior. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be hearing a new A-ha song. I had resigned to myself—along with all the other fans—that we had heard the last from our favorite Norwegians.
Obviously, I knew the significance of this single. We had all been following its and the album’s progress for months. We anticipated it very impatiently.
But when something just “hits” you—it’s proof that music is a powerful entity. Music has always affected me emotionally, whether it was by giving me goosebumps from the dissonance (those chords that seem just a little “off”) or the theme song from Little House on the Prairie making me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Never have I heard Morten’s voice float like this. There’s a richness to the tone that is very reminiscent of Brother—and I loved it. There’s no denying that age has only intensified an already incredible vocal talent. Even in 1985, the world knew this guy had the right stuff. Now, in his fifties, Morten’s voice has an almost transcendent quality to it—it’s almost unreal. With his command of Paul’s lyrics, it’s very obvious that these guys have been together for a very long time, and know how to utilize each other’s talents to produce out-of-this-world material.
Now, I’m not going to get into all the nit-picking that a lot of people seem to be doing all over the internet. You know, those who claim that Mags’ influence is non-existent or that the single isn’t radio material. There’s the camp that thinks A-ha should have stayed retired and those who believe that they just did this for money.
I’m only going to say this once, so listen up:
This single/album/tour is a gift.
They didn’t *have* to do this. They did it because they wanted to—because they decided they had more to give. In 2010, they thought they were done. They had every right to think so—they’re big boys with other avenues they wanted to pursue.
They had given their lives to A-ha, and we were just thankful that they had allowed us to be a part of the journey for 25 years.
I am appalled that there are some out there who are actually complaining about Under the Makeup, or the whole reunion in general.
To those people, I have this message: Be thankful they’re back at all. Enjoy every minute of what they have to give, because it’ll be over before we know it. Stop living negatively and look at what’s right in front of you. New A-ha. That’s right—NEW A-HA.
Like I find myself having to tell my 7-year-old sometimes: “Stop whining and enjoy life. Live in the moment.”
Back to the topic at hand—this incredible new song.
I can’t stop listening to it. I actually drained the battery on my MP3 player because I had it on repeat for so long. Sitting at my computer, I have Radio Crème Brulee http://www.radiocremebrulee.com/ on just waiting to hear it—even though I have the song literally at my fingertips. I may or may not have paused the recording on my laptop just to listen on internet radio.
Our boys are back, and if this song is any indication of what’s to come—then we’re all in for what could possibly be their best album ever.
And I’ll more than likely cry again.