A-ha (Sony Music)

’80s pop superstars A-ha returns to form, intact and with new music to boot.

Those weened in the glorious pop sounds of the 80’s would know who A-ha is as images from a decades old music video of black and white comic book characters spring to life while the chorus of ‘take on me….take me on’ still reverberate albeit from a distance, like an echo.

But they’re here now, and they’ve just released a new single titled “I’m In” and it’s like they never left. The new single is part of their forthcoming album “True North” that is slated for release in October of this year.

The mid-tempo, modern rock sounding new song finds vocalist Morten Harket “at his most emotive. And together with Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen, A-ha delivers a rocking power ballad whose sonics won’t sound out of place in the now. Change Morten’s voice to that of Chris Martin or Tom Chaplin and “I’m In” could very well be a Coldplay or a Keane song.

Now that’s influence. A-ha has always  been a forward-moving kind of band (in terms of sound) and even when they first came out, they were advancing synth pop and rock. That’s why all those hits from long ago (37-years to be exact); “The Sun Always Shines On TV,” “Love Is Reason” and yes, “Take On Me,” still sound so brilliant after all this time.

Which is not to say that A-ha have been idle since their breakthrough year. They’ve kept busy, in fact their last release was only a few years back, in 2015 when they released their last album “Cast In Steel.”

Morten Harket sings “Give in, don’t give up/ Breathe, don’t you stop /Breathe in, just breathe / good times after these” in that unchanging falsetto/high register voice of his, obviously singing about the times that we’re currently in, that for better or worse, changed all of us. God knows we’ve lost friends and loved ones, but as the saying goes, we soldier on.

Ben&Ben’s ‘Paninindigan’

Morten intones, “whatever you believe in, I’m in” in that anthemic cadence that’s almost U2-like in its urgency. Which is to say, the new song rocks and we can’t wait for the whole album to drop.

On the flipside is Ben&Ben whose just released a rocking new single called “Langyang Pag-ibig.” The 9-piece strong band drops a new song “that wades through a bad breakup with the stinging anger of someone struggling to put their life back on track.”

Sounds a mouthful, but then again, breakups have always ever been messy affairs in all their forms. That’s why you always have to do a post mortem over drinks right? And lots of them too.

So “Langyang Pag-ibig” finds Ben&Ben stretching their rock legs and they stomp righteously in all the right places. Big sounding guitars and (gasp) almost a riff motif at the opening. That violin equally moves and gives the proceedings a folky, Celtic vibe.

And the band knows it too, as they comment that “It’s the song where we flexed our musicality the most. It’s three songs in one song, but it still sounds like one song.”

And you can actually hear those parts. Kicking off with that heavy intro, the song body that eventually leads to that big drum break.  “We’ve always wanted to make a song with this vibe, and we think the songwriting in itself begged for it,” Said Ben&Ben. 


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/07/18/80s-pop-icon-a-ha-resurfaces-ben-ben-on-bad-break-ups/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=80s-pop-icon-a-ha-resurfaces-ben-ben-on-bad-break-ups)