a-ha podcast | Ranking Highs and Lows

  • Hi Emma,

    A lot of what you're saying above could have been copied directly from my brain :D So we are quite aligned on many things. Great minds think alike and all that jazz ;)

    Scoundrel Days from Live in South America is possibly the live song I have listened to the most. Both Pål and Magne on guitars, Morten's voice in peak condition, the intensity, the drama... It's just absolutely wonderful!

    I know there are a lot of Magne fans out there, and I totally get that. What a great guy he is, and what a wonderful musician! I will any day prefer Pål over Magne both when it comes to a-ha and their solo stuff (yes, I definitely listen to a-ha solo albums! Morten, Savoy, Magne, Apparatjik, Waaktaar & Zoe...) as I get the feeling especially since 2002 that Magne has something he wants to prove which makes sense when you watch the documentary. It's like he's said "screw that! I'm doing it MY way", which I can sympathize with but I don't really think many of the songs are what I would call "a-ha songs". I would call them "Magne songs with Morten on vocals", but at the same time I admit that the same can said for some of Pål's songs on the later albums. I don't know... to me Magne just sometimes becomes a bit too lecturing in his lyrics, whereas I appreciate the more abstract qualities of some of Pål's songs. Having said that: There are more Magne songs to come in the last episodes :) Plus some of this solo stuff is excellent such as Past Perfect Future Tense or A Dot of Black in the Blue of your Bliss. I just don't like the whole "I don't want to do a-ha anymore. But I don't want to NOT do a-ha anymore either". But still - Morten, Magne and Pål are a-ha, I'm not, so who am I to say what's fair and what is not???

    Morten's contributions to a-ha have... mixed qualities, let's put it like that ;) Wild Seed is a wonderful album. So is Vogts Villa. I think the real low point was Out Of My Hands, but neither Letter From Egypt nor Brother (apart from the title track) really impressed me. But that's a looong discussion and possibly one we'll pick up on in what we hope will be season 2 of "Ranking Highs and Lows".

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and impressions. I think we see many things the same way. And don't hesitate to also jump over to http://www.facebook.com/rankingaha and join the discussion there. The question there right now after we struggled in the podcast to agree on Angel in the Snow is:

    What do YOU think of Angel In The Snow? An overrated sugarcoated piece of Valentine's Day candy or an underrated 24 carat gold ring? :D


  • Bar Room: It's definitely a great song and MUCH better than BYMAY, but I still don't think it would fit on the MB album. I really enjoy Bar Room a lot, but it couldn't live up to the hype. Another question for you then: I have a feeling that it was in a BRAVO article that I read about Bar Room and Box On The Air, and I THINK it was an article that also featured you and a friend who handed over an "Oscar" to BRAVO for the best a-ha articles in 1991? I'm pretty sure it was an Andreas at least!! It could also be that Bar Room and Box On The Air were mentioned in another article than the one with the Oscar, but it was around the same time. I'd have to look in my old a-ha clippings folder to find it. Maybe you can shed some light on it? :D

    Ich meine das die BRAVO nach 1991 das Interesse an der Band verloren hatte, was ja auch immer der Wunsch der Band gewesen war. Somit stammten alle Infos zur Veröffentlichung von Memorial Beach aus Fanclubheften zu der Zeit, die wiederum die Infos aus den norwegischen Tageszeitungen hatten. Ich glaube das u.a. die komplette Track-Liste von Aftenposten stammte. Somit war meine damalige Erwartung, dass die Songs auch genauso auf dem Album zu finden sein werden. :yes:

    Nach dem Kauf der CD im Plattenladen bemerkte ich daheim, dass sie bei meiner Ausgabe tatsächlich Bar Room vergessen hatten und ich die CD direkt wieder zurückbringen wollte. Als sich meine Aufregung legte, war mir klar, dass der bis dato unbekannte Song "Lie down in darkness" den Platz eingenommen hatte. Zusätzlich fehlte dann auch noch der Text zu Memorial Beach, welche in der deutschen/europäischen Pressung schlicht vergessen wurde ;( . Bin dann nochmal in den Plattenladen und habe mir aus Interesse die Kassette angesehen, wo zu meiner Verwunderung der Text von Memorial Beach abgedruckt stand. Erst viel später konnte ich mir eine CD-Ausgabe aus Canada besorgen, wo tatsächlich auch der Text von MB abgedruckt war.

    Ich habe Paul in einem Chat in Norwegen mal vor vielen Jahren nach Bar Room gefragt gehabt und er meinte damals nur, dass der Song sicherlich irgendwann und irgendwo seinen Weg finden wird :confused: ...so in etwa war die Antwort gewesen.

    Also der real Andreas :elch: hat niemals einen BRAVO-OTTO überreicht und war auch ansonsten niemals in der BRAVO, POPCORN, POPRocky und sonstigen Magazinen dabei gewesen. :iwn:

  • A-hadmin

    Added the Label ONLINE
  • A-hadmin

    Changed the title of the thread from “Neuer a-ha podcast: Ranking Highs and Lows” to “a-ha podcast | Ranking Highs and Lows”.
  • Hi Andreas,

    I was sure it was you :) But I'll have to dig out my old "Ordner" and find the article. Again, I may be mixing up two different articles but it's definitely around 1992 and it's definitely from BRAVO where a guy called Andreas and some other guy whose name I've forgotten now (the ran a fan club, I think) handed an Oscar to Bravo for being the magazine with the best articles about a-ha. And a-ha/Morten did feature fairly regularly in Bravo at least in the beginning of 1992 incl. posters of Morten from his "Indianer Phase" with Silje. Oh dear! :D

    I definitely recall the OTTO Wahl and remember being annoyed when a-ha only got 6th best band after the EOTSWOTM comeback :D I also remember being upset when the 1988 OTTO Wahl saw Bros beat a-ha as "Enttäuschendsten Band" or something like that - until I learned what Enttäuschend meant :D

    I also recall having seen the Bar Room title being mentioned in VG or Dagbladet back in 1992, I think, but Box On The Air was ever only mentioned in that Bravo article. Weird. I was also upset about the MB lyrics missing but didn't think to complain about it. I never bought MB on cassette which was stupid, but what was even more stupid is that I saw the vinyl version in a small record store in a Danish town I was visiting with my family and didn't buy it! I don't know what come over me!!?!? Later I then had to buy a Brazilian copy on eBay at a much higher price. That goes to show: Never delay buying an a-ha album!

    So many memories... :)

  • Just listened to Scoundrel Days live in South America, it is a great version. The guitar at the end is amazing!

    To me, Magne's songs are still a-ha, even if they don't go along the lines what he used to write (Maybe Maybe, Manhattan Skyline, Lamb to the Slaughter). Perhaps it's merely because I have greatly enjoyed many of his recent songs, including those on his solo albums. I acknowledge that lyrics don't come as easily to him as they do for Pal (note the really short second verses of Mythomania, Giving up the Ghost, and Objects in the Mirror) but what really draws me to his songs is how wise his lyrics are, and I can relate to a lot of them, especially those on his solo albums. So when that carries over to a-ha, I'm delighted. A-ha always manages to add that "a-ha touch" to the songs Magne writes. Magne has certainly progressed a lot in terms of songwriting over the years he's been with a-ha. Yes, Pal has many more abstract songs which I can appreciate, and I did prefer him as a songwriter for quite a while.

    As for the solo albums, I went through phases. First it was Morten, then Pal, and then Magne. I still enjoy all their solo albums, though. My favorites from Morten are Brother and Letter From Egypt, from Savoy Reasons to Stay Indoors and Mountains of Time. All of their solo both have some pretty brilliant songs. Recently, I've prefered Magne's Past Perfect Future Tense, especially the songs Nothing Here to Hold You and Obsolete. I can surely say those songs wouldn't belong on a-ha, but I guess you never know what the "a-ha touch" will do. I fell away from Morten's albums because I thought they lacked lyrical quality. As for Pal, I don't really like Lauren's voice (with the exceptions for Fearlist and Whalebone) and many of those songs are a bit too straightforward for my tastes. Maybe because Lauren has written quite a few Savoy songs? I don't know, they're both given equal credit. The One That Got Away has to be my favorite Savoy song, as well as the classic, Daylight's Wasting.

    Wild Seed is also a good album. I never really connected with the Norwegian albums because I'm not familiar with the language, but if I were perhaps I would like them. I agree that Out of My Hands isn't the best album... but I do like some songs on there. Did you by any chance follow Morten's Masked Singer UK quest? He should have won... 😔

    Hmm... Angel in the Snow... currently that's a rather challenging song for me to gauge an opinion on. See, I used to dislike it. It was one of my least favorite a-ha songs. But now, I quite enjoy listening to it occasionally. The lyrics don't do much for me, but it's a sweet little song and the guitar makes it all the better. Compared to the rest of Memorial Beach, it lacks quality... but Memorial Beach is a good album so what can I say.


  • Yes, that guitar at the end of Scoundrel Days from Live in South America is probably the highlight for me in any a-ha live performance. Mind-blowing!

    I think Magne's songs up until Lifelines were more a-ha than they are on Analogue and later. Maybe not a big surprise as it was after Lifelines that he really started to develop an own identity as a songwriter. For me it just sounds like he got too flattered by the praise from Coldplay and Keane and started to emulate them. I know it's not that simple, but I get that feeling. Still, songs like Kryptonite, 2cU Shine, A Dot of Black..., Dragonfly (the original), and The Longest Night are great songs, and there is plenty of cool stuff on the Apparatjik albums as well. This Is Now America is also a very strong track, but as a whole I never really connected with White Xmas Lies (but of course bought the album with the artwork - what can you do? :D ). I'm not a big fan of Magne's lyrics overall, but there are definitely some nuggets on later albums. But as I mention in the podcast and on the blog I just often feel like he's TELLING me what to feel, whereas Pål MAKES me feel it. And that he sometimes seems to fall in love with clever play on words. But I 100% understand that others can feel differently about it. Taste is a difficult thing to discuss! :D

    I think Savoy's songs are anything BUT straightforward. Songs like Lackluster Me, I Should've Told You, Isotope, Bovine, Tongue Tied, Sunlit Byways, Daylight's Wasting, Mary Is Coming, We Will Never Forget, Easy, Once Upon A Year, Reasons To Stay Indoors, Empty Of Feeling... there are simply so many fantastic songs! It's incredible!!

    Morten on Masked Singer: I stopped following it after he got voted off. And honestly, apart from Songbird I think he sound off on most songs (maybe except for TOM, but that one was too easy...). To me he has the best voice in the world - no one even comes close - but he's probably not the best singer if you know what I mean. No-one moves me vocally the way Morten does, but I've always been a bit... disappointed, maybe... with his apparent lack of ability to improvise during concerts. Yes, there are small variations here and there that makes you stop and listen, but I never get the feeling that he's comfortable enough to just let it all out - not since 1994 and his first solo years at least. That may not be a 100% fair analysis on my part, but whereas he CREATES magic in the studio it feels like he's trying to RE-create magic on stage but not add anything new. But honestly, what he IS capable of live and in the studio is beyond beautiful.


  • Great discussion, and I agree with most that has been said; probably except for the fact that I really like Magne's songs on Analogue. I think this is the a-ha album with his best collection of songs, especially Cosy Prisons.

    I also think that Analogue and Foot of the Mountain are indeed a bit boring, especially the choruses.

  • Early Morning has always been a big favorite of mine and periodically even THE favourite which doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a-ha’s best song because sometimes you can recognize that another song IS better but it doesn’t move you the same way as your favorite. If that makes any sense at all! 😅😂 Early Morning is absolutely phenomenal if you ask me. But there are so many great songs that I can’t even guarantee that it won’t appear already in episode 5. In any case we are also two people who had to agree on the list 😱

    I’ll never be a HUGE fan of Cosy Prisons but I do admit that I’ve been unfairly hard on it in the past. It IS a very good song (I like the song better than I like the lyrics, but I seem to be a bit alone with THAT view so I could be wrong, so wrong!). Analogue as a whole has a lot of the coherence we often ask for in an album, but there’s probably too much Keane/early Coldplay piano sound on that album to really thrill me - especially Magne’s songs except for Celice. I SHOULD theoretically like Analogue more than I do but luckily there are some pearls on that album as well.

    But Early Morning… Wow! I think I’ll set the alarm to 8 o’clock precise tomorrow even if it’s January and not August 🥱

  • From what I've heard of Apparatjik, it's very, very alternative and I found the songs to be pretty strange. But I'll have to give the full album a listen sometimes. To me, post-Lifelines Magne has quite a few "a-ha like" songs, such as Celice, Don't Do Me Any Favours, and Sunny Mystery, as well as the tracks on Cast in Steel. Perhaps some don't go along the lines of a-ha, but part of being a band is stretching the boundaries of normal. They'll of course have influence from solo albums and other bands/artists. What's important is that the quality is there. White Xmas Lies always struck me not only as an uncommon Christmas album, but as an uncommon uncommon Christmas album. To be more clear, it's obviously anything but a traditional "Merry Christmas" album, and on top of that, Magne tries some new things in that album that make it a bit weirder. I've always had a soft spot for Dark Days, Dark Nights, and his cover of Hells Bells, though. Oh, and, his remake of Differences? It's atrocious and gives me a headache whenever I listen to it. I don't know what on Earth was running through his mind.

    Honestly, I can totally get your point about Magne's "telling you to feel" lyrics, and I can see how they could do that for some fans. Perhaps the difference is, if you can really relate to them (like I do a lot of the time) they touch your heart in a way that no other lyrics can. And a lot of Savoy/ Pal songs do that for me, too. Do you have an example of Magne's "telling you to feel" and Pal's "making you feel" lyrics, or perhaps a song?

    While I can agree that Savoy has many beautifully crafted songs, a lot of them seem straightforward to me because I don't connect as much with the songs about daily life and simple love. I like thinking about lyrics, not having them just handed to me. And while many Savoy songs have an underlying complexity, there are many that don't, at least in my opinion. Some of those songs would be Easy, Grind You Down, Any Other Way, Face, and If you Don't Come to the Party. Others are just too quirky (Bovine, Bump, Underground, etc). I much prefer the "a-ha Pal".

    I agree with you on Morten, for the most part, though I also think he sang "The Scientist" very well. He really does have the best voice in the world. Maybe it's just that he doesn't know how to use it in the right way all of the time. I suppose it's true that one thing that really doesn't change much during concerts is Morten's vocal abilities. Perhaps that's another one of the reasons why a-ha isn't the best at interacting with the crowd.


  • Hi TheCompanyMan,

    I really like Cosy Prisons too. It's one of my favorite songs. Analogue, while it isn't the most exciting track is special to me because it sounds like a typical love song but it's really not. I like it a lot more now that I know it's a love song for analogue 😂 As for Foot of the Mountain, I suppose it's fine. It has a nice riff and I like the lyrics now that I can actually understand them. Believe it or not, I used to think part of the chorus was "we could make us a wife, we could fence" instead of "we could make us a white picket fence". Haha. The song consistently makes me think of the tension between Pal and Magne, though.


  • Ich stimme Euch bei EARLY MORNING <3 total zu...aber klar, wenn Du CITR and ICYN als Track 1 und 2 auf dem Album hast, sowie die Single-Veröffentlichungen genau in der selben Reihenfolge dem breiten Publikum präsentiert werden, denn hat es dieser Song nicht einfach zu glänzen. Mich hat der Song auch erst in der Live-Version :thatsit: auf meinem ersten a-ha Konzert 91 in Berlin richtig berührt, wo er zuvor in meiner persönlichen Wahrnehmung eher als OK Song durchging.

    Ich gehöre nicht zu den Cosy Prisons Sympathisanten, dafür mag ich einfach andere Tracks auf dem Album sehr viel mehr. An dem Song kam auch irgendwie die ganze Unzufriedenheit der Plattenfirma am Album zum Vorschein, welche sich an der Nichtauslieferung der fertigen Single-CD widerspiegelte. So eine Aktion hatte es bis dato noch nicht gegeben gehabt und die Alternative mit unzähligen Mixen auf Download-Plattformen anzubieten ging auch nicht auf. Als die Version mit der "Supermarkt-Scanner-Kasse" :ih: veröffentlicht wurde, ich glaube damals noch Exklusiv für Musicload, wünschte ich mir die Zeiten ohne a-ha Mixe zurück.

    Ohne es genau zu wissen, ist aber wohl die gesamte Charge vernichtetet worden. Die wenigen Exemplare welche überlebt haben, gehen heute immer noch zu hohen Preisen weg und das vor dem Hintergrund, das inzwischen fast jedes ehemaliges Schätzchen für kleines Geld zu haben ist.

    Es gab allerdings einen Mix von CELICE, der von Mauracher aus Österreich stammte, den ich richtig gut fand. Da haben sich die 1,79€ bei einem offiziellen österreichischen Download-Portal damals wirklich gelohnt, denn er war der einzige a-ha Work-Out Song den ich auf meinem MP3-Player dabei hatte, bevor es auf den Cross-Trainer ging. Erst viel viel später ist er auf "Time & Again - The Ultimate a-ha" physikalisch veröffentlicht worden.

  • Hi Emma,

    I'll try to keep it short but there are enough good questions and reflections in your post to warrant a whole thesis :)

    I definitely like it when a-ha push the boundaries of what is typical a-ha. I think they do that very well on songs like Sycamore Leaves, The Way We Talk, Shadow Endeavors, Over The Treetops, some of the demos, Start The Simulator, Door Ajar, Did Anyone Approach You? and many more. So that actually begs the question: What IS 'typical a-ha' actually? And I suppose it's something different to different people. I don't necessarily see Magne's songs as pushing any boundaries - more erasing the boundaries between a-ha and Magne solo. I don't want to come across as a "Magne opponent" because I'm certainly not - that should be clear from the podcast and the blog both now and in the coming episodes - but I get the feeling that Magne has STARTED to think "What's best for me and what's best for a-ha" in that order. And I can totally understand that due to all the unresolved issues and conflicts in the band, so I regard it as a very human reaction. Another thing that is a bit weird is actually that I personally LOVE words, I can speak for (too) long, I love the written word etc. so I SHOULD like Magne's lyrics more because he seems to be in love with playing with words and phrases, but maybe that's where I get the feeling that there's too much form and not always enough content. But as you say it's probably dependent on if you relate to certain lyrics, and your reaction is a valid as mine and as the third and fourth person. Maybe it's also a part of being a visual artist like Magne - maybe you like the visual aspect of the many words, the wordplays, creating things out of words. Maybe you recall his horrible website where links were hidden in thousands of words on the frontpage :D

    Magne TELLING me what to feel: Cosy Prisons for sure. Too much life advice from clever Uncle Magne. "So if you're careful / You won't get hurt / But if you're careful all the time / Then what's it worth". I can see how a person can love that and relate to it, and I can't say that I don't agree with the words, but it's nowhere near as elegant as the same point written much shorter: "It's no better to be safe than sorry". Differences is another example, but to me personally that's a horrible song in melody, lyrics, feeling. White Canvas is another example. "Your life is a canvas / The colours are you". I may sound cynical but I just see Instagram quote all over those examples :D Those are a few examples. There are more, but that's not the point. However, there are also gorgeous lyrics like Dragonfly, Lifelines, Lamb To The Slaughter, Solace and several of his solo songs.

    Pål MAKING me feel: How long a list do you want? :D "Loneliness can be ignored / And time has shown me how". "Though I'm older than my looks and older than my years / I'm too young to take on my deepest fears". Living A Boy's Adventure Tales. Shadow Endeavors. (Seemingly) Nonstop July. Memorial Beach. I Call Your Name. Soft Rains of April. Cold As Stone. The list goes on and on and on - and doesn't even include Savoy (Once Upon A Year, Watertowers, I Should've Told You and many many more!) or Waaktaar & Zoe (e.g. the title track from World of Trouble). I like the mix between the very concrete - maybe what you call daily love and simple life - and the very abstract.

    How wonderful to disagree yet keep a constructive tone. That's what this forum always does so excellently!


  • Hi Andreas,

    Don't remind me of the 1991 concerts! That was supposed to be my FIRST a-ha concert (I was 11 when they played in DK in 1986 and couldn't go to Copenhagen from where I lived) and just two days before the concert I found out it had been cancelled - possibly because of too low ticket sales. Exactly one week later a-ha played to 198.000 fans in Rio. The contrast was enormous! Early Morning, Rolling Thunder and I Call Your Name were three of the songs I had been looking forward to the most. ICYN because I pictured how Morten and Pål would share the microphone during the chorus like they did in the video :) But Early Morning meant a lot to me from the start and still does today. I love the organic sound.

    The launch plans - or the LACK of launch plans - is something I also comment on in "Ranking Highs and Lows". It just really feels to me like there is no-one (maybe not even a-ha) that shows a real interest in the final product. It's like "Yup, I've played/sung my part in the studio. Done!" and then there is no more love for the project. For instance: In a time where vinyl has such a revival, how on Earth can anyone agree to leaving She's Humming A Tune off the CIS vinyl edition??? To make it even more ironical: She's Humming... even starts with the sound of static noise like when you play a record! :( I understand that the record is too long to fit on one vinyl, but most albums seem to be double albums these days anyways (not a big fan of that to be honest...) but there's just no real thought put into the final product. It's all about "how many songs do I get on the album" and "I like THIS version of the song better where I get to choose the producer, so now I insist on making THAT version the radio single". It's sad, really.

    the many remixes of the same song also mostly fail to grab me. I buy them, I listen to them a couple of times, but when I can't feel a-ha's involvement in the mix then I lose interest. 8-10 different Celice mixes... Why not 15 or 35 then? None of them seem to have had any input from a-ha/Magne so it's such a 'random' thing to me.

    Give me PROPER physical formats that are made with love and respect, give me coherent production, give me collaboration, give me a sense that the people involved actually CARE what happens after the recording. And give me a new tour like in 1991 or 1993/94 without any reliance on video screens etc. where a song can have a 3 minute guitar solo one night and a 5 minute Hammond organ solo the next and where the performance of the song isn't defined by a video that is 3:47 minutes long.

    Other than that I won't ask for more ;)


  • Peter,

    Yes, it is completely impossible to collectively define a-ha and nearly impossible to even define them on your own. They just have such a broad song catalog and so many emotions they convey that it's hard to grasp it. What's easier, I'd say, is deciphering how a-ha makes you feel and the impact they have had on your life. I don't believe the songs that don't automatically fit in or sound really different should be considered "not a-ha", but rather, as you mentioned, be acknowledged as songs that push the boundaries and be accepted by listeners as a-ha, and not as anything else. For the most part, I disagree with your claim that Magne "erases" the boundaries, considering I personally can't imagine many of his a-ha songs being on his solo albums. But maybe they could be if they were more raw. I could say the same for Pal and Morten. There was that time when Pal asked his drummer to choose between Summer Moved On and Man in the Park for Mountains of Time. The remainder landed on the next a-ha album. And a lot of Pal's discarded a-ha songs were used for Savoy. Let's say the "a-ha boundary" was erased all the time, equally between all three band members. The question is, does that matter? Boundary or not, is the content of the songs any less "a-ha"?

    Ah, when you wrote "but maybe that's where I get the feeling that there's too much form and not always enough content" I recalled something Magne said. "Pal has a tendency to stuff the empty spaces, filling up the cracks.... I'm searching for something a lot more naked, searching for that exposed nerve that's so thin you wonder if it's going to hold or snap." Whether or not that's what you meant by "content", Magne's description of his songs/lyrics rings true to me.

    I agree that Cosy Prisons is probably one of his most pushy songs, as you say, but by pondering the meaning of that song I realized that Magne may have very well written the song in attempts to not just connect with an audience but with himself. That can be explained especially in the third verse, which can be linked to his heart problems and how he was obsessed with his diet. And frankly, that's what all music artists do. Write about their experiences. Perhaps Magne could have rephrased that last line, but maybe it all depends on whether or not you want advice. I know I'm often searching for advice, and maybe that's why I connect so much with his songs. 😂 To be honest, I don't really see this as much in Differences (it's definitely a call to save the world as we know it but it can be viewed on so many levels). As for White Canvas, to me "You're life is a canvas/ The colors are you" is a wonderful line and much less blunt than some of the lines in Cosy Prisons. Magne's huge use of the second person view in his songs also has a great impact on how they are received. Pal doesn't do that as much...

    Pal is very good at writing clever, thoughtful lyrics, and the ones you have mentioned are very delightful songs. There's no doubt Pal is very talented at lyric writing. It's just that I prefer the "concrete" part of songs in smaller quantities, perhaps even sometimes eliminated entirely. Who knows, over the years I may change my mind. What's ideal to me is a mix between the abstract, and, let's call it, the complicated human mind. I guess that's what draws me to Magne's more recent songs on both a-ha and his solo albums.


  • Hi Emma,

    No one can accuse you of not doing your a-homework! 😄 Very well argued with loads and loads of excellent points.

    It’s just funny how perceptions differ, because I tend to see more blank spaces in Pål’s lyrics than in Magne’s. And here we’re are talking IN GENERAL because there are plenty of exceptions for both writers. What I admire about Pål is that he can write lyrics that are very personal (about his parents, about Lauren, about life, about love) yet make me feel I can relate and see myself in it.

    But in a way it’s silly as this is not a question of choosing Pål OR Magne when we luckily can have both (and Morten for that matter) and in some cases it’s easier to connect with one than the other. And for instance I really like Dragonfly, Dream Myself Alive, Lamb…, Never Sweeter, Kryptonite. So I’m not anti-Magne, but I’m personally not sure I think his contributions have made the recent albums better. But that’s honestly a matter of taste and THAT is difficult to discuss - even if it can be fun 😄

    I do think you have a point about Cosy Prison being as much a reminder to himself as to us. That’s a really good observation. But I’m not going to change my perception of it regardless!! 😉

    I suppose I see it like this: In an ideal world I would have all three band members working TOGETHER with a shared vision, but if I could only choose between an a-ha album filled with songs either written by Magne or by Pål I would take the latter anyday!

    Thanks for the discussion 👍🏻😊


  • Sorry to intrude, but I got curious about that BRAVO article and had to check my archive. :D It's from 1991 (August 22) and the guy's name was Marcus Lutz. He and another guy (Roland) ran a fanclub in Freiburg. ;)

  • I can relate to many of Pal's lyrics, but eventually they get a bit too personal for me. The same could be argued for Magne, though I'd object that it isn't always as obvious. It doesn't seem like he's talking about himself as much, even if he actually is. (again using Cosy Prisons as an example)

    On further observation, Magne most likely wasn't referring to lyrics when he spoke of "blank spaces", but instead the background/instrumentals. My apologies. Though this doesn't apply to Magne's tracks on a-ha, I've certainly noticed it on his solo albums when he tends to lean towards simpler chord progressions and subtle instrumentals. Savoy albums consist of a lot more, which I do enjoy, but Magne's naked solo tracks don't really need anything more than what they are. Overall, it's hard to find the fine blue line between over-polished and under-polished. We can see this, of course, in the production of a-ha songs, when the demos are better than the version produced.

    Taste is very hard to discuss largely because, sometimes, it's hard to know why you are drawn to a certain song until after thinking deeply about it. Put it like this: It's easy to know, and yet hard to explain.

    If only all three band members could compromise perfectly and create masterpieces within every beat! That would be very nice. For me, I don't know if I'd want to choose between Pal and Magne, even though I prefer Magne as of now. Their songs together, with Morten's voice, is what a-ha has always been.

    I am looking forward to the next rankings... and wondering which of the songs I mentioned earlier in our discussion will be in the top 25. I'm guessing The Swing of Things, but the rankings have continuously surprised me, so who knows 🤨


  • Quote

    Sorry to intrude, but I got curious about that BRAVO article and had to check my archive. :D It's from 1991 (August 22) and the guy's name was Marcus Lutz. He and another guy (Roland) ran a fanclub in Freiburg. ;)

    Hi Sofia,

    Excellent archiving work!! 😄 I can’t believe I got the name wrong after 30 years 😂 Thanks a lot for clarifying. I might even be wrong when it comes to remembering if it was that article where Box On The Air was mentioned?? 🤔 In my mind I see three different articles from BRAVO that each could be the right one…

    Sorry Andreas! 😵‍💫😄

  • Hi Emma,

    apart from your preference for Magne's songs and my preference for Pål's (by and large) I think we agree on most other things :)

    The Swing of Things in top 25? Maybe, who knows :) Remember, there are two of us doing the ranking and we need to agree!

    Stay tuned for the next release on Thursday!!


  • Sorry to intrude, but I got curious about that BRAVO article and had to check my archive. :D It's from 1991 (August 22) and the guy's name was Marcus Lutz. He and another guy (Roland) ran a fanclub in Freiburg. ;)

    Stimmt, so hießen die Leiter des Fanclubs. Ich bin in den Club eingetreten bzw. wollte eintreten als man sich schon in der Auflösung befand. Zum Glück gab es die tollen Hamburger und meine Berliner :kuscheln:

    Sorry Andreas! 😵‍💫😄

    Kein Problem Peter :five: , after all these years...I forget names too :elchgrin: