A-ha – Take on Me

First Hit #1: October 19, 1985

Take on Me is probably best remembered for its iconic music video, which combined live action and pencil-drawn animation to create some memorable images, as well as make people question why the men with wrenches want to beat the guy who looks like Patrick Swayze. It’s a great video, but what about the song?

It’s a great song too, in fact. A little bit of new wave with a fantastic keyboard riff, it’s a fast and exciting bit of pop music. It even defeats my natural aversion to falsetto at one point, no mean feat. I have generally liked A-ha overall since the song came out, partially because I genuinely enjoy Martin Harket’s voice, but because they’re really good at the elements that make Take on Me a great song. They make very intricately layered music, and always have little things like that keyboard riff. To me, it seems a shame that the band is relegated to the ’80s in the minds of many people.

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2 Responses to A-ha – Take on Me

  1. RBerman says:

    And oh, that high note at the end of the chorus. I have only one male friend who dares (and succeeds) it in karaoke. The signature riff has a Carribean feel; I can imagine it on a marimba. The lyric is a chipper and innocent invitation to romance. A very 80s arrangement, in all the right ways. The technique on the music video is called “Rotoscoing,” in which the figures are filmed live first and then laboriously drawn over with pencil to achieve perfectly lifelike movements. The technique is responsible for the graceful movements in early Disney films, as well as the cost overruns of Ralph Bakshi’s never-completed animated Lord of the Rings diptych.

  2. RBerman says:

    “Rotoscoping” not “rotoscoing.” WordPress doesn’t capture all my keystrokes. 😛

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