Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

A Song For This Day (and year): Take On Me


In honor of the New Year now upon us, I selected another song from the period that’s been ringing in my ears of late. A distinctly 80s hit to christen 2015. Take On Me (recorded in 1984, released in ’85) was the Norwegian group A-ha’s lone U.S. #1 hit. An international one, as well. Initially recorded in various iterations before fusing with the instrumentation, energy, and a music video that crested the MTV wave.

In fact, the song’s success owes much to the video. Helmed by Irish film director Steve Barron, who had made his name producing “Don’t You Want Me” (The Human League), Africa (Toto), and of course “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, this was his best I think. Manifesting itself through the medium, producer Alan Tarney’s new version of Take On Me would reach iconic status using the era’s unmistakable trademark.

The short film genre that coalesced song with stylish imagery at its utmost, already bursting into its glory days.

Along with featuring the band rotoscoped into pencil-sketched animation scenes, cleverly combined with live action, the music video matched the song’s vitality at every turn, beat, and falsetto note — how the handsome Harket hit those highs remains a wonder to this day. Even patterning its climactic scene with that of Ken Russell’s 1980 film Altered States, the videotaped performance remains a satisfying musical love story told in under four audacious minutes.

The lyrics, written by Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket, Pål Waaktaar, seemed to reach out to the new year, which happens to coincide with the song’s upcoming 30th anniversary.

We're talking away
I don't know what
I'm to say I'll say it anyway
Today's another day to find you
Shying away
I'll be coming for your love, OK?

Take on me, (take on me)
Take me on, (take on me)
I'll be gone
In a day or two

So needless to say
I'm odds and ends
I'll be stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is OK
Say after me
It's no better to be safe than sorry

Take on me, (take on me)
Take me on, (take on me)
I'll be gone
In a day or two

Oh the things that you say
Is it live or
Just to play my worries away
You're all the things I've got to remember
You're shying away
I'll be coming for you anyway

Take on me, (take on me)
Take me on, (take on me)
I'll be gone
In a day 

(Take on me, take on me)
(Take me on, take on me)
I'll be gone (take on me)
In a day

And if you don’t think this song’s video still has influence, take a gander at Volkswagen’s year old commercial that riffed on this 80s classic:

A Happy New Year to us all.

7 Responses to “A Song For This Day (and year): Take On Me”

  1. ruth

    Happy New Year Michael! This song is actually played in a couple of my Zumba class, believe it or not. An unusual choice but it works, I love it!

    Liked by 1 person


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