Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

a-ha – Foot of the Mountain

Also still around – Morten!…


Michaelangelo Matos: I gather a-ha have a coterie of people who take them seriously, and good for them if so, but it doesn’t mean I have to, especially when confronted with something as determinedly dippy and weedy as this.

Hillary Brown: This really makes me not want to go back and listen to the other a-ha songs I used to enjoy so much. Are they just passable pop pablum?

Anthony Miccio: This is the second song by A-Ha I’ve ever heard, and I’m impressed that they’re achieving the Eno-Lanois platonic ideal without the adult-diaper bluster of U2 or the craven ambitiousness of their young disciples. Where most new wavers sound like wearied Apollonians today, they’ve achieved the faceless serenity of angels. Thank the steadfast support of Norway, where their albums have always hit #1.

Martin Kavka: Morten Harket’s voice doesn’t quite soar like it used to. He’s become just another guy with a falsetto, and the comparisons to Keane are a bit too close to the mark for comfort. “Foot Of The Mountain” aims for the effect of a-ha’s best songs, which make you so consumed by yearning that you want to hug the entire world. It doesn’t hit the mark, but although this is no “Summer Moved On” (which is one of my Top 10 songs of all time), it’s a welcome presence in this year’s pop landscape.

Ian Mathers: Of all the 80s “one hit wonders” to wind up being surprisingly evergreen, turning out windswept pop ballads that actually satisfy in the next century, a-ha are one of the least expected and therefore nicely surprising. 2005’s “Analogue” was pretty post-Coldplay, but “Foot of the Mountain” sounds more like just themselves (possibly because Coldplay has moved on, admittedly). Unabashedly grandiose and widescreen, A-Ha succeed here because, almost in spite of themselves, “Foot of the Mountain” is also kind of moving.

Chuck Eddy: This music sounds disturbingly immaculate. Perhaps cleanliness is one attraction of Norwegian mountain feet — no litter to be found for miles around. But “Take On Me” had way more oomph. As for the 24 years in between, um…

Martin Skidmore: Morten was born the same year as me (I just turned 50), and still looks shockingly good, but his voice has lost its richness by now. It’s pleasant enough, but there is no dynamism in the vocal or this very dull song. I kind of wanted to like this, but it turns out to be utterly tedious, and feels like it drags on for ever.

Peter Parrish: Some massive drama chords in the chorus that descend like a giant stamping down some stairs – bom bom BOM. Then, to sneak back into the verse, the final chord pulls a switcheroo and rather apologetically goes up at the end instead. That’s the giant stamping down some stairs but noticing a spider on the ceiling at the last second – bom bom woaOH!

4 Responses to “a-ha – Foot of the Mountain”

  1. “the faceless serenity of angels” might be my favourite phrase of the last month or so, and it’s PERFECT here.

  2. A-Ha are certainly one of my favourite bands but I have to say this did leave me kind of cold, in a bad way. Those who haven’t heard any of their stuff since “Take On Me” really could do worse than to pick up a copy of 2000’s Minor Earth Major Sky, which is a fantastic album.

  3. I have only listened to “Foot and Mouth Mountain” the whole way through and heard about 30 seconds of all the other album tracks.

    I’m very sad to report this album seems like their worst ever.

    All the good things about a-ha seem to have gone AWOL.

    Rather than annotating those missing virtues it’s fair to sum up this album as “an uneasy kiss blown to Coldplay.”

    Guys, what ARE you doing? Take on me? Take a break.


  4. a-ha is the best band and “foot of the mountain” is great single ….. a-ha forever!!!