Hunting High and Low is the debut studio album by Norwegian new wave band A-ha, released on 1 June 1985 in the United States of America and 28 October 1985 in the United Kingdom by Warner Bros. Records. The album was a huge commercial success, reaching high positions on charts worldwide and peaking at number 15 on the US Billboard 200. The album was recorded at Eel Pie Studios in Twickenham, London, and produced by Tony Mansfield, John Ratcliff and Alan Tarney. In all, five singles from the album were released, though not all were released internationally: "Take On Me", "Love Is Reason", "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", "Train of Thought" and "Hunting High and Low". The group was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards in 1986, making A-ha the first Norwegian band to be nominated for a Grammy. As part of a re-release of their first two albums, Hunting High and Low was expanded and remastered in 2010.Wikipedia
“Hunting High and Low” by a-ha (1985) After scanning the lyrics and listening to the first two disco/techno/pop tracks, I was prepared to skewer this album. But I have to confess that my appreciation increased as I listened—so much so that I had to erase my initial impressions and start over. Now I have a nice addition to my road trip playlist. Lyrics, melodies and chord structures are mostly supplied by songwriter and guitarist Pål Waaktaar. He shows ample creativity in tonal structures and melodies, yielding more than a few pleasantly head-scratching moments. (Yes, head scratching should be pleasant for a serious listener!) Disappointment over the lyrics can be set aside, since poetry and song in the English language is not to be expected of a Norwegian band. However, it should be said that lyrical non sequiturs are illogical in any language. I would like to hear this re-done in Norwegian. Guitar is not much on display on this album, which is baffling, given guitarist Waaktaar’s centrality in the creative process. Mood-appropriate vocal harmonies are compositional highlights. And there’s the nice oboe solo work by Claire Jarvis on the very cool “Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale”. Snappy programmed ‘drumming’ with EQ pleasantly cranked up on the treble end, but it lacks dynamic variation (and thus passion) in the emotional peaks. Where’s Phil Collins when you need him? Programmed bass likewise lacks life, but there’s plenty of danceable rhythm here, if you can keep up. Cascading, shimmering electronic backgrounds and counter melodies add needed color. It’s all well recorded and mixed, although I’m listening to a 2015 remaster of a 30 year old original, so there might be some cheating going on. Vocals by Morten Harket are remarkable. His more than adequate range has a curious timbre at the lower end of his range, making his tenor voice sound deceptively baritone, to nice effect. At the same time, he is quite weak (and flat) on the higher end of his natural range, but he has a strong, almost piercing falsetto. The chorus of the opening track “Take on Me” demonstrates all this. Fascinating. The title track “Hunting High and Low” has a nice jazz chord progression (seasoned with major seventh chords), and an entrancing melody, but it tends to wander aimlessly. The beautiful acoustic intro reveals Waaktaar’s guitar-based compositional approach, but after the intro, it almost drops out entirely (at least in the mix). It’s arrestingly odd. My favorite tracks (3, 5, 7, 10) are the ones that are definitely not ‘dance tunes’, nicely distributed to provide animation to the record’s construction. The closing track “Here I Stand and Face the Rain” is potentially powerful, but the first four lines of the second verse need to be replaced. My assessment went from “1” to “4” in 45 minutes. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. I hope this album is within your budget. 4/5
Like then she comes back and like gets the drawing out the bin but he might be alive and everyone is looking and like she runs away and he comes back and ...it don’t make much sense now I think about it.
Probably better off in 1001 Singles You Must Hear Before You Die. Hunting High and Low sounds pretty much exactly like the made-for-radio synth pop I expected it to be, with some tracks (And You Tell Me especially) coming off as borderline parody. It's all fine and listenable—aforementioned track notwithstanding—but feels hollow for the most part. There's glimpses where it seems like the band may be aware of that, but I doubt they were thinking about more than the charts. Key Tracks: Take On Me, The Blue Sky, The Sun Always Shines On T.V.
This starts with Take On Me? Wow that's a high mark to keep up. Hunting High and Low is deceptively complex. Every time I seem to wane interest in the sound, there is a new thing thrown in.
The difference between the hits and the chaff of this album is huge. There are a few real five star songs on here such as Take On Me and The Sun Always Shines On TV. On the other hand, the rest of the songs are just really boring to the tune of two stars. I'd really like to give this four stars because those two good songs are so good. But they really are the only ones.
Was always going downhill after Take On Me. Insert some sort of metaphor about Michael Owen's football career and/or Alan Partridge.
One star for one hit
If anyone asks what the 80s sound like, I'd give them this album. Have had a lot of albums from the 80s and everytime I just expected it to be as good as this one, but they never really make it. And it always makes me think of my mom :)) 5
Take On Me reached meme status. Such a good song but hard to listen to with an objective ear anymore because I'm just tired of it. I'm not a fan of the electric keyboard or drum sounds so I was prepared not to like this album or at least not love it but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Title track is really good. Great vocal range and voice. Songwriting is dramatic, creative with instrumentation, orchestral at times with strings, brass, and even woodwinds on Living a boys adventure tale. Not a fan of the static drum machine although the programming is good, this album could benefit from a real drummer at least on some tracks or in addition to the drum machine. Songwriting is very good here, they obviously know what they are doing with lots of non-diatonic chords. Definitely made me double take a like at the vocal transition to the chorus in living a boys adventure tale. The vocal octave jump in this song in the last chorus is fantastic. Really fun intro on the sun always shines on t.v. which starts dreamy with pads and sustained vocals, then becomes dissonant with a borrowed chord and then drops into a guitar and synth-bass driven groove. The chorus is in a major key but falls right back into that minor groove in such a natural way. Aha knows how to let a phrase breathe - I noticed this in I dream myself alive with the massive layered harmonies in the hook that is a call/response with the instrumentals. The hooks are simple and I think that's one reason they are so memorable on this album. Even the hook in Take On Me which spans 2.5 octaves is just ascending notes, 3 at a time. Very strange key changes in here I stand and face the rain that reminds me of we are the robots by kraftwerk. Overall, well crafted songs but is hampered by thin digital synths and midi drums. Some songs are fairly forgettable which is not good on a short album. Mixed bag but the highs here well make up for the lows.
It's a shame Morten Harket didn't utilize the wide range of his voice more often because it too often sounds like any other eighties synth-pop ensemble's singer. But the band's dramatic debut album makes for very melodic and intriguing music.
This is a cool album from what I would describe as the "mature" period of new wave/synth pop that followed the earlier work of bands like Gary Neuman and Human League. This is a great example of that style, and the lead singer of the band has an incredible voice that fits in great with the synthesizer sound. A really strong debut album, and it's incredible that this band had never played a concert before Take On Me reached #1 in the US 4/5
[Michael Bluth looking into bag marked ‘The a-ha album with take on me on it’ “I don’t know what I expected”
I was in high school when this album came out and so heavily into hard rock and heavy metal that the idea of a fully synth-laden pop band was anathema to me at the time :) Having said that, this lead single (and as it turns out the only song I can even remember from the band) was not dismissed by me... because of *the video* - which everyone knows. And the reason that it was/is important is that the video was so damn compelling at the time that it got me to look past my stubborn narrow-minded music tastes at the time and just enjoy it for what it was and is - a truly great pop song - that's not a light statement: "Take On Me" is so perfectly constructed as to stay interesting and high-paced throughout its perfectly short-enough length. ...oh wait, there's more to this album? Unsurprisingly the album is very very 80s - the pulsing 16th note synth bass, layered keyboards, rigid electronic percussion, heavy reverbs. So yeah - it's dated. But it sounds good - it may not be my favourite genre but it's a highly melodic throwback with decent songs that is a fun 37 minute retro-ride. 7/10 3 stars.
I expected this to just be take on me, plus filler. It had other bangers. It also had a lot of filler
This is good. I love that you could play 5 seconds from anywhere in the album and immediately know it's mid 80s. Good fun and more to it than I expected.
It has its decent moments and overall is a well produced album, but doesn’t seem to know quite what it wants to be. I enjoy the more new wave moments, but some of the drum machines and synth date the album and take away from the wonderful vocal and bass performances. Having said that, I’m glad to have been exposed to a-ha beyond ‘Take on Me’
About how I expected it to be, some catchy parts but largely cheesy and overwrought 6/10
There’s literally one reason that this album is on this list and it’s a worthy reason. The rest of it wasn’t terrible though. We all know which song is the favorite
'Take on Me' starts the album off super strong, from the first notes that make you want to bop your head. 'Hunting High and Low' is another really great piece from the album. It seems like the album suffers from the plague of all albums that have a really standout song, and it's that the other songs don't live up to the expectations set by the stellar song. All in all, the album is enjoyable, but the experience doesn't feel like it's complete enough to fully stand out.
Don't start your album with the best song
Polly put the kettle on. Polly put the kettle on. Polly put the kettle on, we'll all take E. Fuck me what a tea party that was. I was off my barnet. I ended up shagging Keira Knightley round the back of a broken ferris wheel. Her skinny elbows kept prodding me right in my sweet spot. Complete filth that lass. You wouldn't know it from her prim and proper characters on screen, but get her within a whiff of an abandoned fairground and she's as rough as arseholes.
A-ha have always been much more than a one hit wonder. Take On Me ranks as one of the best pop songs and certainly the most memorable film clip of all time and for that, a-ha deserve their place on this list. Hunting High and Low is a fantastic pop album. Very mucb of its time but also innovative in terms or its synth arrangements, I would hazard a guess that they were a tiny bit influenced by Sparks (but who wasn't in some way or another). Listening to the album again after so long, I am surprised Love Is The Reason and The Sun Always Shines on TV didn't chart better at the time. Some of the songs sound dated or are obvious filler which is the main downside of the album.
A decent album. Not great, not egregious, just the exact, forensic point of okayness. I have never warmed to Take on Me. Overwhelmingly overplayed and slightly gimmicky, I always preferred The Sun Always Shines on TV (and honestly, I've never bothered paying attention to a-ha before). However, as the opener, I will acknowledge more of a charm than I have previously recognised, but not enough to persuade me to like it fully. The other singles are better, often quite melancholy, and one has to relish Morten Harket's lyrical idiosyncrasies (who doesn't marvel at "Please don't ask me to defend/ The shameful lowlands/ Of the way I'm drifting/ Gloomily through time"?). But, and this is with all the goodwill in the world musterable for this album, I can't really call it an essential listen. There's fair filler and, although it's enjoyable to spend an hour with these fetching Norwegians, I'm not going to build a shrine to them.
Hunting High & Low is very much a mid-80s album. Accessible synth-pop made at a time when it was a commercially safe choice. Nevertheless this album has two things that set it a little apart: Firstly, the beautifully emotional voice of Harket and secondly, the melancholic tone of many of the songs. It ensures that this album goes just a little deeper than many of its contemporaries. And even though there is really nothing wrong with the songwriting, it really does have the 80's issues of filler sounds, the need to fill up silences with an extra synth-trumpet, drumcomputer-loop and background violin. Especially clear in the song Hunting High And Low. Solid Debut for this Norwegian Band and I'm glad to have learned about songs like The Blue Sky and Here I Stand And Face The Rain
Take on Me followed by nine other tracks. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Take on Me Date listened: 12/07/22
The album sounds like the songs are well written and would be something I’d like. However, it has the type of 80s style production that, to me, make everything flat and dull.
Ok, it's not my style, and it feels weird to rank it together with yesterday's Motorhead, but I gotta give it a 5
An 80's hit maker. The opening track is iconic. This is the PEAK of synthpop goodness. It's bouncy, layered, fun, anthemic, and funky. All round awesome album.
Obviously I loved this album.
Classic a HA
Потрясающий голос, классные аранжировки. Буду ли я это переслушивать? УЖЕ ПЕРЕСЛУШИВАЮ
So many memories!
Listened Before? N How is it possible that I have never listened to this whole album before now? I have no clue. Take on Me is one of my all time favorite songs, but I never went beyond that. This is a synth-pop classic! Most songs are good or great, and there are a few real gems! Added to Library? Y Songs Added to Playlist - Take on Me, The Sun Always Shines on T.V.
Stórfengleg debut plata þessarra norðmanna sem eru mér mjög kærir. Fullt hús stiga.
super enjoyable experience I listened to the 30th anniversary super deluxe edition and had a lot of fun hearing all the different takes and demos hell, I think I liked some of those demos more than the original songs as well as the bonus tracks like Stop! And Make Your Mind Up just had such a fun, fresh sound honestly a lot of these songs I thought had the same quality and charm as Take on Me and I'm surprised that so many of these songs are so overwhelming buried by the song that made them a one-hit-wonder overall, 10/10, super enjoyable, check out the 30th anniversary edition, just a great album
I was expecting the old known hit into mediocre deep cuts pattern, and was shocked to find a perfect pop album. It reminds me of Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion if I were to compare it to a record with which I'm much more familiar. The accessibility is the only soundscape similarity, though: There are a couple more cuts in Take On Me's style, a taste of what would become outrun, and some slower numbers. It all may age poorly on a revisit, but for now I'm too busy grinning, riding the high of the last hour.
I had this CD when I was a kid and it was great then. Still great.
TAKE ON ME REPRISE
Geweldige 80s synth-pop! Dit album bevat alleen maar toppers!! *****
Great listen! So many great moments, some energetic, some poignant and beautiful.
liking IT very much, living a boys adventure tale for reallll
[Alan Partridge Voice] A-HAAAAA! Take On Me is one of the greatest songs ever written. Fight me. I didn't know Take On Me was the opener for this album...strong start. What a great snare sound...never really paid attention to the snare like that. Following such a strong opener is always difficult, Train Of Thought does okay. Reminds me a bit of a Bowie type of song. Title track is excellent. I love the more understated sound of this one. The switches from major to minor in interesting places was very refreshing. It's suddenly become massive. BIG DRUMS! Love the orchestration too. The Blue Sky was nice, left a bit to be desired though towards the end. Just kinda fizzled out. The Sun Always Shines On TV...I feel like I've heard this before? A-Ha are at their best when they go for more minor chord progressions imo. That's where they hit my interest points the most. Notable Songs - Take On Me Hunting High And Low I Dream Myself Alive 9/10
Track 1 is a perfect pop song. The rest of the album has tracks that have questionable beginnings but by the end you’re nodding along and getting it. Well done.
Super pleasantly surprised, this is great 80s pop. I'd never heard The Sun Always Shines on TV before, what a banger!
Dad loves this album lol. This is super synthy and sounds pretty modern compared to stuff like DARE or Pet Shop Boys. I definitely see a ton of parallels with this and some stuff that’s come out in the last decade. The vocals are interesting. Some Chris Isaac-y vocals here and there, some really nice harmonies on a couple tunes
Good 80s pop with a mystery sound
What a fun album-- love it.
Really fun listening to other songs by aha other than take on me. They are really good and im surprised i've never heard the other songs on this album
Lekker eighties album met vrolijke vibe. En natuurlijk de klassieker take on me
i'm pretty forgiving when it comes to ham and cheese. tho i also believe it's a legit good album.
Take on Me. Aww ye. Everything else is the kinda weird but kinda cool 80’s vibe
I liked this one quite a bit, especially the opening track, "Take on Me". Very 80s.
Good 80s album, but on their own, only the title track stands out from the rest of the songs
Take on Me is the GOAT of the album, and for it being a "pop" album it doesn't stick to a general formula, props on that
A childhood landmark. The Sun Always Shines on TV is grossly under appreciated.
80s. A-ha. What's not to like.
Take On Me is a tune 😂 classic. Reminds me of playing GTA Vice City on PS2 when I was like 14. STYG covered this too. You'd have to be pretty cold hearted to not like this kinda 80's music, it's upbeat and feelgood. Defo a 4.
pretty good. ofc take on me is good. but the sun always shines on tv was amazing and added to playlist v
Take on me is so good! And some of the others are great 80s pop hits too
Great 80s hits, especially take on me.
Catchy, melancholy synth-pop tragedy
Some great songs, brings back memories.
4.5 Nunca había escuchado el álbum, pero Take on Me es una de mis mejores canciones de todos los tiempos. Después de escuchar el disco entendí por qué vendió tantas copias a nivel mundial, aún así hubo un par de canciones que no me atraparon del todo. Además, Take on Me le da puntos extras y es injusto comparar su nivel con el resto de las canciones
Energetic ProtoDream Pop, honestly Take On Me is overrated compared to the rest of the album.
Solid Album very groovy and catchy I can see why it sold so much lolz
i actually really liked this album! i thought the singing was very fun and a good vibe overall. loved it.
Pretty solid! "Take on Me" is one of the best pop songs ever made as far as I'm concerned. There's some other pretty good songs on here as well. "The Sun Always Shines on TV" is great, though I prefer the much more recent live, acoustic version. Overall, definitely glad I listened to it.
Enjoyable enough. 7/10
Take on me is good.
One of the best albums I listened to in my rotation.
Much more than "take on me"
Some classic singles on this album. Great start with 'Take on Me' and a great finish with 'Here I Stand and Face the Rain'.
You're just a shit Duran Duran, shit Duran Duran, shit Duran Durrraaaannnn. Actually that's not true, I enjoyed this, I'm a sucker for well crafted '80s pop. And Take On Me innit, stone cold classic.
A classic album that stands the test of time. Melodic harmonies and soaring vocals. Like time travel back to the 80s
For a band that is quintessentially 80s, this was a very good album that went beyond Take On Me. Aside from their biggest hit I enjoyed the variety of music on here. The first half is a lot better than the second half with songs Train of Thought shining through.
I have a soft spot for synth pop. The dynamics on this album give my eardrums a workout. Nothing really tops "Take On Me" but the whole thing brings me back to the sound of my childhood. I had no idea they were Norwegian. If someone came out with an album that sounded just like this today, with slightly more contemporary lyrics, people would flip out over it and say it was amazing. We need a synth pop revival on par with the garage rock revival of the early 2000s.
Repetitive, Take On Me was the standout, but four stars for the great 80's vibe.
Great pop record, take on me is a classic lol
Just a solid set of synthetic pop with an incredible voice and some 80s keyboard cheese. Think the front half is much stronger than the second half. Fantastic hooks. Favorite tracks: "The Sun Always Shines on TV", "Train of Thought", "Take On Me", "And You Tell Me"
Really solid album. Only knew them for a couple songs.
Great pop album with synthesizer that set the tone for popular music for many decades to come.
So this must have been defining for me as 10 year old. My taste has changed but some classic tracks on here. The stuff I dont know I can pass on but good is great.
This is a massive synth-pop album that contains some of the biggest genre hits of its era - Take on Me and The Sun Always Shines on TV deserve every single bit of praise they have received (not least because of Morten Harket's versatile voice). The title track, however, is something else. It's more acoustic with a cinematic breadth seldom seen in 80s pop and a breathtaking, sweeping orchstral arrangement. But that song remains the exception, as synth pop is is ruler supreme on this album. And while the highs are incredibly high, there is quite a bit of filler material here, most of which is fine. This was a good first effort for Norways most famous musical export. Many more - even better ones - were to follow. 4/5
The opening track is a pop masterpiece but the only way is down from there. The Sun Always Shines On TV being the only other track that made any kind of impact on me. I guess I’m going 4 stars on the strength of the Take On Me. My favourite Norwegian band - apparently.
Better and more varied than expected.
The main single being the opener sounds incredibly risky, as it sets up high expectations. Somehow A-Ha meets them with songs that are equally bombastic and memorable. This was a surprising listen and makes me wanna check out their catalog further.
This is a great album! Full of joy.
I liked this, there were more hits on it than I remembered!
There's not nearly enough synths on this! Some real Highs, Take on Me is a case in point. And quite a few Lows too. Almost a middling album but enough to keep it interesting. And I am partial to that Norwegian falsetto.
Solid 80s synth pop album!